One year of France 2030: Excellence in university research is the engine of innovation
On Friday 18 November 2022, the Prime Minister, together with several members of her government, met the France 2030 committee at the Hôtel Matignon to review the progress on the France 2030 plan, one year after its launch. Set up by the President of the Republic, France 2030 is a 54 billion euro investment plan whose ambition is to put France at the forefront of innovation in key sectors such as the ecological transition, energy, the automobile industry, aeronautics and space.
As a member of this committee, France Universités welcomes the government’s commitment to major challenges linked to technological, economic, societal, health and environmental transformations, which the government recognizes as priorities at national or European level. France 2030 confirms the need for a systemic approach to innovation, research and education in the 10 priority objectives of the plan.
This is why, as the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister have reminded us, it is essential to put the university back at the center of the game.
In audience with the Prime Minister, relevant ministers and stakeholders, Manuel Tunon de Lara, President of France Universités, recalled the federating role that universities have assumed, through their presence and their commitment throughout metropolitan and overseas territories, the role that universities play in shaping the future of the nation’s youth, as well as the very strong links that bind universities to other institutions, including research organizations, local authorities and other political and socio-economic actors.
As the economic world expresses the need for new skills, it enables universities and higher education institutions to be responsive, to adapt the content and the deployment of academic programs, and to anticipate the specificities of tomorrow’s working world. The complementarity between initial training and lifelong learning is a key element, particularly in economic sectors where transition is creating a skills gap. The linkage between training and research is a distinctive strength of universities.
It is important to focus on teacher training as well, to give everyone the means to succeed. Fields undergoing transition are as varied as new forms of mobility are diverse, given new developments in the use of electricity and hydrogen, in artificial intelligence, in cybersecurity, in infectious diseases and in cultural industries.
This approach is part of a highly competitive international environment where innovation depends on the excellence of universities in research. We must therefore continue, along with research organizations, to focus on fundamental research, which is the source of many discoveries: this is the only way to create an environment amenable to breakthrough innovations, while remaining as close as possible to local communities.
Multiannual contracts setting objectives and means (Contrats d’objectifs et de moyens pluriannuels, or COMP) will be an important tool for building shared strategy among institutions and the State. Working methods will improve to achieve greater consistency in the timeframes for accreditation and for contractualization, which in turn will simplify procedures.
While these measures are geared to accelerate transition processes among the higher education and research institutions federated by France Universités, they also seek to give these institutions more breathing room and an improved ability to develop needed means. With these improvements, institutions also gain new responsibilities to honor their commitments and to promote the reindustrialization of the country through research and education.