The French Association of University Vice-Chancellors

Please can you tell us what the Conférence des Présidents d’Université is ?

The French Association of University Vice-Chancellors, or CPU, founded in 1971 and redefined in the French law on the freedoms and responsibilities of universities (LRU) of August 10, 2007, is a recognized public interest not-for-profit association. It represents the common interests of its partner institutions. It has 105 members to date (universities, Instituts Nationaux Polytechniques (National Polytechnic Institutes), Ecoles Normales Supérieures (elite graduate schools), Instituts Nationaux des Sciences Appliquées (National Institutes of Applied Sciences) and Grands Etablissements (Public Higher Education and Research Institutions). As a participant in the public debates on higher education and research in France, this Association is now the public authorities’ key contact on university matters. It provides somewhere for exchange, deliberations and support of the sweeping changes taking place on the French university scene.

Please can you tell us about your missions in the research field in more detail ?

Let’s remember that the CPU represents universities in the broad sense, and universities play a key research role in France. The vast majority of public research is carried out in our institutions and most researchers are academics.

In the specific field of research, as in every other, the CPU’s main role is to defend the interests of universities and represent them at national and international debates and conferences where these interests are collectively at stake. In this regard, it negotiates framework agreements with research organizations, helps to define the principles of research partnerships and participates in working groups that are tasked with monitoring these. It is also a founding or associate member of all the constituted thematic research alliances, including Aviesan.

Please can you explain to us how the CPU will become involved in Aviesan and what it expects from this Alliance?

The CPU has played a role in setting up the Alliance from the outset. As a founding member, it is present, heard and helps to define its guidelines. Manuel Tunon de Lara, Vice-Chancellor of Bordeaux II University, represents us on the Board of Directors.

For the CPU, Aviesan is a step ahead of the other alliances that have since been set up, as it helps to streamline the system. Research promotion, the Big Loan, research in southern countries and best research practice regulations are all subjects that are currently being discussed. In these, and in all other fields concerning Aviesan, we hope to draw up an ambitious and effective national research and innovation strategy that can be promoted abroad.

Lionel Collet
Président of the CPU

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