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Issue 1800 (PDF)
The student newspaper of Imperial College London

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Anglo-French research venture “bridge of knowledge and learning” to Europe

Imperial College and France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) will co-host an international research centre on global issues

191014 Global Climate Environmental Change 037 Photo: Imperial College London / Thomas Angus


in Issue 1800

Imperial College and France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) will co-host an international research centre, established to tackle global issues, including in the fields of climate change, artificial intelligence and medicine.

The collaboration, officially titled      ‘CNRS-Imperial International Research Centre for Transformational Science and Technology‘ (IRC), will bring together world-leading expertise in essential disciplines, as well as boost ‘early-career researcher training such as PhD programmes, research funding and proposals including with Horizon Europe, as well sharing facilities, laboratories, infrastructure and data’, according to Imperial College.

Both institutions involved are working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. 

So far over 30 PhD places have been created by the partnership and filled by candidates.

The partnership follows other collaborations between Imperial College and the CNRS in the fields of maths and physics. In 2020 five more PhD places were added to a joint PhD programme in ‘Mathematics, data and their applications in all areas of science’.

The IRC is the CNRS’s second global collaboration; its establishment follows the founding of the France-Arizona Institute for Global Grand Challenges in 2021. The funding for the partnership is reliant on the ratification of the UK’s membership to Horizon Europe, the €95.5 billion European research and innovation programme. UK membership to the programme was included in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement (or ‘Brexit deal’), however the European Commission is yet to ratify UK membership due to contention surrounding the Northern Ireland protocol as part of the UK remaining separate from the EU in trade. Currently the UK government is guaranteeing all funding agreed through Horizon grants in 2022.

On the partnership, President Alice Gast said ‘This partnership demonstrates Imperial’s commitment to strengthening our ties with Europe through improving mobility and providing opportunities for researchers to exchange ideas.

‘The CNRS-Imperial International Research Centre will bring about the highest level of collaboration between French and British scientists.

‘Working together we will make an impact globally for the public good in sustainability, health and resilience’.

Antione Petit, CEO of CNRS, said ‘We celebrate the launch of this International Research Center (IRC), created jointly with Imperial College London. It is the first of its kind in the UK and in Europe, and only the second one in the world.

‘It will be a creative hub of cross-disciplinary collaboration and a solid platform for building new scientific projects between the CNRS and Imperial, addressing major challenges for the benefit of society. The Centre will also give even greater momentum to the long-term strategic partnership between our two institutions, acting as a bridge of knowledge and learning between France and the UK’.

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