6th meeting of the Russian-French University Council
On July 11-12, 2019, the 6th Council of Rectors/General Directors/Presidents of the Russian-French University (RFU) was held at the University of Nice Sophia-Antipolis (UNS), chaired by President of RFU, President of UNS Emmanuel Tric.
The meeting of the Council of Rectors was attended by RANEPA Rector Vladimir Mau; Rector of the Russian Foreign Trade Academy Sergei Sinelnikov-Murylev; Director of RANEPA Institute for Applied Economic Research (IAER) Alexander Radygin; First Vice-Rector of Russia’s Peoples' Friendship University (RUDN) Nur Kirabayev; First Vice-Rector of MEPhI nuclear research university Oleg Nagornov; Director of the Art and Science Center at ITMO University Anastasia Yarmosh; Vice President of SKEMA Business School Patrice Houdayer; and Associate Dean of NEOMA Business School Celine Davesne. The honorary guests of the meeting included a representative of Aix-Marseille University, Jean-Francois Marchi, and head of the executive office at Russia’s Consulate General in Marseille Stanislav Oransky.
Opening the meeting, Emmanuel Tric informed the representatives of the RFU member universities about the Aix-Marseille and Grenoble Alpes universities’ interest in joining the consortium of Russian and French universities. Both universities were accepted as new members of the RFU following a vote. Université Aix-Marseille and Université Grenoble Alpes offer students a wide range of disciplines – from Literature, Sociology and Economics to Particle Physics, Engineering, Chemistry and Medicine. Both universities are among the top ten schools selected by the French government to participate in the IDEX project (Excellence Initiative). The expansion of the consortium will help diversify the tracks of academic cooperation of RFU, and strengthen research and interdisciplinary cooperation.
The RFU Secretariat delivered its performance report. Over the time that has passed since the last meeting, the participating universities have signed agreements on four new educational programs. The number of RFU students and their activity in the consortium has also increased. The Council members proposed various initiatives, including the development of network student mobility, the creation of the RFU youth forum and an online lecture hall.
The interdisciplinary working groups comprised of French and Russian researchers met on July 12, 2019. The goal of these groups is to identify problems and tasks at the junction of different areas of study that will become the basis for new interdisciplinary educational programs.
Vladimir Mau welcomed the expansion of the Russian-French University. In his closing remarks summarizing the results of the meeting, he underscored RFU’s transition to a new level of development and highlighted the consortium’s priorities: “It is quite obvious that the Russian-French University is entering a qualitatively new phase of its development. First, we have new French universities that belong to the elite of French university education. Russian universities’ interest in joining our agreement has sharply increased. We must now approach this issue carefully and selectively to ensure a balance between the Russian and French sides.
“Secondly, the very nature of the discussion and presentation at the meeting testify to a new level of vision of our problems and tasks, both educational and research ones. I will reiterate the features and principles of RFU’s development – the interdisciplinary educational and research programs, and focus on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
The next RFU Council will meet in January 2020 in Moscow during the Gaidar Forum, where various events are also planned within the RFU framework.