Scientific environment in the US

Scientific and academic environment in the Southeast of the United States

On February 2, 2010, the Consul General in Atlanta, Pascal Le Deunff, welcomed a new Scientific Attaché for Cooperation and Higher Education, Jacqueline Signorini, made available by the Mission for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France to the United States. This new position, covering two Consulates General in Atlanta and Miami, shows the desire of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs and the Office of Science and Technology in Washington to promote a scientific and academic cooperation with the Southeast of the United States, composed of seven states (Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Mississippi, Tennessee, Florida). The science department was further reinforced in February 2011, with the arrival of a new post, a scientific attaché adjoint, held by an international volunteer with a specialty in the sciences. That post is currently held by Juliane Halftermeyer, an international volunteer specialized in biology, who joined the team in May 2012.


How to develop bilateral cooperation in science and technology?

Of course collaborative actions and exchanges between French and American researchers have existed and thrived in the past. However, these initiatives have escaped a more coherent policy of cooperation in the sectors of education and research.

To develop the bilateral cooperation, the Mission of Science and Technology is to:
1) identify, by exploratory trips to the seven states, the research topics that represent areas of excellence that can lead to partnerships with French research organizations and academic institutions
2) structure and make more coherent our cooperation to ensure the sustainability of cooperation agreements and exchange programs for students / teachers
3) organize seminars and symposia on specific topics in order to compare the strategies of research and innovation and to initiate sustainable relationships between researchers.

An example of a successful Franco-American collaborative project

The Georgia Tech campus in Metz, Lorraine ( which is the only U.S. campus on French soil, reflects the success of a strategic joint-initiative between a French city and an American university.

The program, which has mobilized public and private resources over the past twenty years, contributes to the technological dynamism of the city of Metz and the European dimension of Georgia Tech. The International Mixed Unit (IMU) of the CNRS, created in 2006, and the only existing IMU on French soil, allows Georgia Tech Lorraine (GTL) to establish research partnerships with French laboratories, including ENSAM-Paris Tech Supélec University of Franche-Comte, LAAS-CNRS, Paul Sabatier University in Toulouse.

The creation of the Lafayette Institute in 2010, with a France-Atlanta event, is the unifying element between the academic institution and the GTL-CNRS UMI, offering resources as an incubator for technology transfer in application areas as diverse as energy, environment, imaging and health.

The geographical and thematic context

For more than ten years, the southeastern United States has known high dynamic properties due to:
- significant population growth;
- restructuration of innovative economic activities;
- concerted actions between states, universities, research institutions, economic clusters, and whose effectiveness is due to the close connectivity between key players.
This interaction network and partnerships to promote and support research and technological innovation is implemented successfully in some states of the American Southeast, including these three states we briefly present: North Carolina, Georgia and Florida.

1. North Carolina

Research Triangle Park, North Carolina is an example of an ecosystem of technological innovation. Created in 1959 to strengthen the scientific potential of the Old South, it became a focal point for research and technology transfer.

Close to three major universities— Duke, Chapel Hill and North Carolina State—it hosts federal agencies, more than 180 companies, multinationals or start-ups, and employs nearly 50,000 people in research and development. The Triangle Universities Center for Advanced Studies Inc. (TUCASI), which brings Duke University, North Carolina State University (NCS) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) ensures the cooperation of research institutions with the Park.

Duke and UNC are particularly renowned, particularly in biomedical research. UNC is consistently ranked fifth among U.S. public universities.

2. Georgia

This state, and mainly its capital, Atlanta, collect prestigious institutions in academia and research, in particular, Georgia Institute of Technology and Emory University. Technological innovation, whether in engineering or biomedicine, is encouraged by the implementation of funding programs and collaboration between companies and universities.

Georgia Institute of Technology has earned its reputation of the excellence for its engineering program, which is ranked fourth in the United States after Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of California at Berkeley, and ranked 8th in the world in 2009. It trains more than 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Emory University is one of the best public health centers in the United States.

It collaborates with its neighbor, the federal agency of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on infectious diseases, and with the Georgia Institute of Technology on biomedical technology applications (oncology, cardiology, kidney transplant).

3. Florida

Ranked the ninth largest university in the United States by student numbers (47,000), University of South Florida (USF) is an essential hub of current development of Florida.

With the University of Central Florida (Orlando) and especially the University of Florida (UF in Gainesville), it forms the Florida High Tech Corridor, which has coordinated more than 1,200 research projects since 1996. The economic impact of its activities is amounted at 3.2 billion dollars annually. It received $ 394 million in research contracts and grants for 2009/2010.

The Lakeland Polytechnic, the only public polytechnic site in Florida, is a testing ground for research and technological innovation associated with two technology incubators.

Last modified on 12/07/2012

top of the page