Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation
France’s ties with the United States, our global partner and top scientific partner, are focused on cultural exchanges and support for academic and scientific exchanges, to which our entire research system contributes.
There is systematic use of co-financing: a dedicated instrument, the French American Cultural Exchange (FACE) Foundation, was set up to attract sponsorship.
Our action has two main areas of focus:
• - encouraging students to spend time in France and supporting the internationalization policy of our research centres and innovative firms;
• - promoting French creativity in every sector of the cultural and digital industries, as well as the French language.
Encouraging students to spend time in France
France is the fourth most common destination for Americans studying abroad, with more than 800 inter-university agreements in force and 17,000 American students hosted each year, but they usually stay for only short periods and in 75% of cases at American institutions. A programme of excellence, the Chateaubriand Fellowship, allows PhD students enrolled in American universities to spend four to nine months in France for their research. In addition, the Benjamin Franklin Travel Grant was set up in 2013 and is awarded each year to around twenty American undergraduate students who combine a major or minor in French with a major in another discipline.
Conversely, around 8300 French students studied in the United States in 2013-2014 (France ranks as the 16th country of origin of international students in the USA).
On 13 May 2014, the Transatlantic Friendship and Mobility Initiative was launched, with the aim of doubling student exchanges between France and the USA by 2025, with support from major American higher education associations (Association of American Universities, Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Institute of International Education) and the Association of International Educators.
The USA is our leading scientific partner: we produced over 12,000 co-publications in 2012, representing more than a quarter of French international co-publications. There are currently seven Franco-American International Joint Units and eleven Franco-American International Associated Laboratories organized through the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and several agreements between bodies, such as CNRS-DoE, INSERM-NIH, CNES-NASA, ANR-NSF.
In the specific American context of a decentralized higher education system, academic and scientific cooperation centres on a small number of key partnerships:
• - The Partner University Fund (PUF), which was set up in 2007 and has so far funded 70 large-scale partnerships of all types, including joint degrees, research projects and seminars.
• - The Alliance Program, which was set up in 2002 and brings together three French establishments (University of Paris I – Panthéon-Sorbonne, École Polytechnique and Sciences Po Paris) and Columbia University. It notably supports joint research projects and programmes.
• - The four joint Franco-American endowment funds, created since the early 1990s with the Universities of Berkeley, Stanford and Chicago and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which each support 15-25 bilateral scientific or educational projects per year.
These schemes are accompanied by projects focusing on innovation and technology transfer: the Young Entrepreneur Initiative, a programme to support innovative American start-ups in France; NETVA, a programme for innovative French start-ups, preparing them for and presenting them to American markets; the FATTE+ programme, promoting collaboration between technology transfer systems; and various events and symposiums that aim to showcase French science and build links between young researchers, engineers and entrepreneurs from the two countries. In February 2014 in San Francisco, the President of the French Republic inaugurated the US-French Tech Hub, an incubator for French start-ups, which also has a branch in Boston.
In June 2015, New York became the first city outside France to be awarded the French Tech label.
Promoting French creativity in every sector of the cultural and digital industries, as well as the French language
Our work in the audiovisual sector aims to support the presence of French productions (22 million tickets sold for French films in 2012) and media outlets, paying particular attention to new means of distribution such as VoD, IPTV and mobile telephones. We also promote French expertise in the field of ICT, as regards the production of not only digital content but also infrastructure and software.
The 19 French multidisciplinary centres in American universities are outreach instruments, providing an essential platform to promote our influence nationwide. They receive financial assistance from France to support activities linked to French language and culture and debate.
As regards promoting the French language, it remains the second most-taught language in schools (1.2 million learners) and universities (216,000 learners) after Spanish, but this position is fragile. Two action plans promoting the French language are underway, one for universities, the other to foster the development of bilingual classes in primary schools. French language outreach also relies on the network of schools with French programmes (44 establishments, with over 16,000 pupils) and that of the Alliances Françaises (some 100 establishments, two thirds of which provide teaching to 26,000 learners). The new French bookshop, Albertine Books, located on the premises of the cultural service in New York, was inaugurated in September 2014. With over 14,000 titles, it offers a broad selection of works by French and French-language authors, and aims to make French books accessible throughout American territory.
All of these intellectual and cultural exchanges, which contribute to the sharing of ideas, are enhanced by extensive dialogue on global issues with the major American NGOs, foundations and think-tanks.