Since January, Catherine Florentz has held the position of Senior Vice-President, while retaining the position of Vice-President, Research and PhD. To accompany her in some of her missions, she has surrounded herself with an expanded team of four delegate Research vice-presidents.
What are the main objectives of your new mandate as VP Research and Doctoral Training?
Florentz: Our main objective has not changed: it is to provide the means and conditions that enable our research units to achieve national and international recognition through the quality and originality of their work. The strong and constructive partnership with the CNRS, Inserm and the other actors of the site is fundamental. The HCERES evaluation has led to the emergence of new teams and laboratory structures and also to the consolidation and evolution of the structures that have proved their worth. We are very attentive to the original projects and themes and wish to strengthen support for exploratory and interdisciplinary projects. We will focus on identifying, recruiting and valuing young talents; and also on boosting the development of the European Campus and strengthening the links between research and international relations. Finally, in order to maintain the confidence of our citizens and to disseminate the humanistic and democratic values we support, we are working to obtain the HRS4R label, a guarantee of integrity, and are emphasising the place of science in the city.
What are the current projects and actions around these lines of work?
Currently, we are finalising the long work of restructuring the landscape of the research units following HCERES evaluation. The landscape that is emerging is very positive and we are accompanying changes at all levels so that everything is operational by 1 January 2018. It is also our duty now to think now much further into the future. For example, we are working on the start-up of the Centre for Research in Biomedicine in Strasbourg (CRBS) at the end of 2018, the reorganisation of cancerology, the development of quantum physics, supra-molecular chemistry or optimising support to SHS (Humanities and Social Sciences). In all fields of research, questions arise about the attractiveness of individuals or teams, the establishment of competitive equipment, the development of new lines, the simplification of procedures that are too time-consuming, and so on.
Can you tell us more about the future actions to develop the European Campus?
In general, we wish to better support international research programmes, in partnership with the CNRS, in the setting up of international laboratories (LIA) and support for international research groups (GDRI). 'Our objective is also to develop research within the European Campus' A first 'Seed Money' project call for members of Eucor - The European Campus - has been launched to support 'Research and Innovation' or 'Training' projects. Several workshops on doctoral training in the five partner universities will take place to strengthen the links and amplify the circulation of people and knowledge. We are also involved in an Interreg project 'Strengthening Infrastructures in the Upper Rhine Region' aimed not only at mapping infrastructure and platforms, but also on the feasibility study of a new large infrastructure in the heart of the Metropolitan tri-national region.
Finally, what are the priorities of doctoral training?
The priority remains to strengthen the link between research and training. To this end, the University has supported 11 proposals for the creation of university research schools (EUR), in other words French graduate schools, under the Investments for the Future Programme 3 (PIA3). These must combine master's and doctoral programmes in areas of Strasbourg excellence and specificity, with the support of one or more research laboratories. The EUR laureates will contribute a new articulation creating stronger links between training and research and between master's and doctorate. We will also set up a 'floating' interdisciplinary doctoral school, which will allow truly interdisciplinary doctoral training, for example mathematics-musicology, law-environment, etc. Another novelty at PhD level is the introduction of training on ethics and scientific integrity from the beginning of the academic year.