Signing Ceremony for US-France Excellence Fund Held at UT Austin with Ambassador Araud

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The French Ambassador to the United States of America, M. Gérard Araud, and Gregory L. Fenves, president of University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) have signed on January 31st an agreement establishing an excellence fund to support collaborations between France and the largest multidisciplinary university of the Southwest.

This partnership will be the fifth bilateral agreement of its kind between France and the United States (after the Massachussetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California Berkeley et University of Chicago), will reinforce the presence of Texas on the map of France-USA scientific collaborations. Based on private donations around an initial core established by both the Office for Science and Technology of the French Embassy and UT Austin, its yearly revenue will allow funding of bilateral research project in both STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Humanities.

Signing Ceremony with the Ambassador of France to the United States of America, Gérard Araud, and Gregory L. Fenves, president of the University of Texas at Austin, in the presence of (from left to right) Herve Ferrage, Deputy Cousellor to Cultural Affairs for the French Embassy, Alexis Andres, Consul General of France in Houston, Minh-Hà Pham, Scientific Counsellor for the French Embassy, Christiane DeWitt, daughter of Cécile DeWitt-Morette, Maurie McInnis, Executive Vice-President and Provost of UT Austin, Dan Jaffe, Vice-President for Research at UT Austin and Rolando Pablos, Secretary of State of the State of Texas.

It will be named in honour of the late Dr. Cécile DeWitt-Morette, French physicist who taught from 1972 to 2017 at UT Austin where she held the Jane and Roland Blumberg Centennial Professor Emerita in Physics at UT Austin after establishing the Ecole des Houches in France. This school, hosting regular high-level physics conferences, became an important rendezvous for both promising researchers and established ones, with now 50 Nobel Prize and Fields Medal laureates having studied or taught in these courses (the last one being Kip Thorne, Nobel Prize for Physics in 2017).

By covering all fields of academia, the France-UT Austin fund will help reinforcing numerous existing and promising collaborations between the two partners. For example, UT Austin College of Liberal Arts already hosts since 2007 one of the nineteen Excellency Centers established by the Cultural Service of the Embassy of France. In STEM, France is the fourth largest partner of UT Austin in terms of publications, while enjoying old and remarkable relations with it in mathematics, numerical modelling and electrochemistry.

The France-UT Austin fund, through common publications, conferences and academic exchanges, will support and further the level of collaborations of both partners in research as well as the global visibility of French research.

For additional information:
UT and France Establish Endowment to Promote Academic Cooperation
French ambassador to the US celebrates UT-France endowment
France-UT Endowed Excellence Fund


Authors
Alain Mermet, Scientific Attaché , and Laurent Pelliser, Deputy Attaché for the Office of Science and Technology, General Consulate of France in Houston