First bricks of a sustainable partnership between Arts et Métiers Paris Tech and Texas A&M in Materials Engineering

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As part of a recent structured partnership, the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Arts et Métiers - Paris Tech and Texas A&M University organized in June 2018 a summer program in France for Texan students, as well as a joint scientific symposium on Smart Manufacturing for the Factory of the Future. These events, supported by the Office for Science and Technology of the French Embassy, add to the foundations for a sustainable collaboration, aimed at a Joint Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Research, Innovation, and Education Cluster to be established in Aix-en-Provence.

Based on a 25 year old research collaboration in materials and manufacturing, the College of Engineering at Texas A&M University, through its Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), and the Ecole Nationale Superieure d Arts et Métiers - Paris Tech (ENSAM) signed in November 2017 a Memorandum of Understanding, under the sponsorship of the PACA Region (see previous article). Through this agreement, ENSAM and Texas A&M Engineering plan to create a Joint Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Research, Innovation, and Education Cluster in Aix-en-Provence. The project will involve major key industries of the PACA Region (Airbus Helicopters, Dassault, Thales, STMicroelectronics, Gemalto, etc.), most of whom have a representation in Texas. The main areas of collaboration are aeronautics, additive materials manufacturing and energy. Considering the vicinity of the ITER project and the expertise of Texas A&M in nuclear engineering, collaboration in this field is also considered.

Since the signing of the agreement, ENSAM and Texas A&M have implemented several joint projects: requests for funding, joint publication of scientific papers, appointment of an ENSAM professor as research professor at TEES, and the joint organization, in April 2018, of an international symposium dedicated to future manufacturing methods, at Texas A&M Qatar campus.

In June 2018, two important bricks of the ENSAM-Texas A&M cooperation were added: 25 engineering students of Texas A&M spent 5 weeks at Arts et Métiers campus in Aix-en-Provence while a kickoff joint ENSAM-A&M meeting was held at Texas A&M in College Station.

Texas A&M faculty led program at Arts et Métiers in Aix-en-Provence

Twenty five A&M engineering students spent 5 weeks at Arts et Métiers in Aix-en-Provence to attend the lecture of Prof. Harry Hogan, Associate Dean for Graduate Programs at the Texas A&M school of Mechanical Engineering.
In addition to materials science education, A&M students attended a class of "French culture" for them to cope with the local way of life. Through site visits such as Airbus Helicopters in Marignane or CEA in Cadarache, the Texan students discovered vibrant innovation ecosystems in aeronautical and nuclear engineering.

ENSAM-TEES meeting on smart manufacturing for the future

Shortly after the American students arrived in France, a joint ENSAM-TEES meeting was held at Texas A&M campus in College Station, gathering the main participants of the ENSAM-A&M collaboration. Organized in the wake of the 46th Annual North American Manufacturing Research Institute conference, the meeting was dedicated to "Smart Manufacturing for the Factory of the Future". About 40 participants (researchers, students, industry representatives) from both French and American sides attended. In addition to a delegation from ENSAM, the Vice President Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul of Airbus Helicopters - Marignane as well as the CEO of the optical instrumentation company STIL have made the trip to College Station.

The conference was an opportunity to discuss emerging industrial needs in materials manufacturing and to consider different opportunities for future cooperation in research and education:
- joint participation in materials manufacturing competitions organized by the private sector;
- joint funding applications;
- Mutual support for sending students on internships in French companies and vice versa.

During the symposium, ENSAM-Texas A&M coordinators agreed to meet again in November 2019 in Aix-en-Provence for an ENSAM / TEES / industries conference on artificial intelligence in advanced materials manufacturing.