France and Chicago Collaborating in The Sciences 2017 - Meet the laureates

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The France and Chicago Collaborating in The Sciences (FACCTS) program, created by the France Chicago Center and supported by the Office for Science and Technology in the United States, aims at encouraging closer relationships between researchers from the University of Chicago, the Argonne National Laboratory and the Fermilab on the one hand, and high-level research teams in France on the other hand. In 2017, FACCTS awarded 15 research teams.

FACCTS in a few words

Initiated in 2007 and administered by the France Chicago Center, the FACCTS program aims at strengthening cooperation between researchers from the Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences Divisions of the University of Chicago with research teams in France. It seeks to accomplish this goal by offering seed funding for new projects that promote innovation as well as productive academic and scientific exchanges and that show potential for further fruitful and sustainable collaborations. Since 2014, the Argonne National Laboratory and the Fermilab joined this program. The Office for Science and Technology in the US is deeply involved in this program both as a financial contributor and as a jury member for the evaluation and selection of the projects.

Through the nine-year life span of the program, more than $1.1 million have been awarded in the support of 92 different projects. Over that period, FACCTS-sponsored research has led to enhanced relationships between the University of Chicago and 40 different institutions in France, such as INSERM, CNRS, INRA, and several universities, hundreds of publications jointly co-authored and transatlantic circulation of dozens of graduate students and postdocs.

A selection committee in Paris

The members of the selection committee, from the France Chicago Center, the University of Chicago’s divisions involved in this program and the Office for Science and Technology in the United States, gathered for the first time in the Paris Center of the University of Chicago in January 2017. Relocating the selection committee in France had two main goals: to increase the visibility of the program to the French scientists and to attract new candidates.

Besides the evaluation and the selection of the 2017 FACCTS projects, a workshop on transatlantic collaborative scientific research was also organized, where former FACCTS laureates were able to present their works.

A new group of laureates, eager to strengthen French-American collaborations
In 2017, among the 25 applications, 15 were awarded by the FACCTS jury. Scientific excellence, the complementarity between the collaborating partners, the probability of future grants and the potential for ongoing collaboration in the medium-to-long term were the main selection criteria. The jury also paid a special attention to the involvement of students or young scientists in the projects.

The awarded projects deal with a wide variety of subjects, related to biology, physics or mathematics. Here are some examples: the development of a dark matter detector, the modeling of the protein assemblies in the respiratory chain or the evolution of resistance genes in plants. This year, once again, several research centers in France are involved in these new collaborations. The CNRS, the Pasteur Institute, the CEA, the INRIA but also several French universities are among them.

Lauréats FACCTS 2017
Titre du ProjetLauréatsPartenaires en France
Active chiral fluids William Irvine (Department of Physics, PSD, UChicago) Denis Bartolo (ENS Lyon)
Black holes in string theory Emil Martinec (Department of Physics, PSD, UChicago) Iosif Bena (CEA Saclay)
Development of a kg-size dark matter detector based on the CCD technology Paolo Privitera (Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, PSD, UChicago) Mariangela Settimo (IN2P3, CNRS)
Multiscale matrix decompositions for machine learning Risi Kondor (Department of Computer Science, PSD, UChicago) Rémi Gribonval (INRIA Rennes)
Magnetic sponges John Anderson (Department of Chemistry, PSD, UChicago) Jeon Ie-Rang (Université de Rennes)
Investigating filopodia formation through an interdisciplinary approach Gregory Voth (Department of Chemistry, PSD, Uchicago) Patricia Bassereau (Institut Curie)
Heterogeneous models with propagation on networks Andrei Tarfulea (Deparment of Mathematics, PSD, UChicago) Jean-Michel Roquejoffre (Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse)
Exploring adaptive responses to pH variability in the face of ocean acidification Catherine Pfister (Department of Ecology and Evolution, BSD, Uchicago) Jean-Pierre Gattuso (CNRS)
Novel hybrid simulation methods for the modeling of the protein assemblies in the respiratory chain Benoit Roux (Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, BSD, UChiccago) Chris Chipot (CNRS, Université de Lorraine)
Testing how eye movements affect the neural code for natural motion Jason MacLean (Department of Neurobiology, BSD, UChicago) Olivier Marre (Université Pierre et Marie Curie)
Evolution of resistance genes in plants Joy Bergelson (Department of Ecology and Evolution, BSD, UChicago) Fabrice Roux (CNRS, INRA)
Harnessing space and time in the transmission dynamics of vectortransmitted infections Mercedes Pascual (Department of Ecology and Evolution, BSD, UChicago) Richard Paul (Institut Pasteur)
Scalable data movement for data-centric supercomputing Venkatram Vishnawath (ANL) Emmanuel Roquejoffre (Université Paul Sabatier Toulouse)
Coherent x-ray studies of phase transitions in the complex oxides Dillon Fong (ANL) Hubert Renevier (IN2P3, CNRS)
Dark matter and satellite galaxies in the era of LSST Alex Drlica-Wagner (Fermilab) Johann Cohen-Tanugi (Université de Montpellier, CNRS)