25.02.2016

François Hollande discoursed at the Scientific and Technological Pole

The President of the French Republic was welcomed by minister Barañao and participated in the French-Argentine scientific and educational cooperation forum.

François Hollande discoursed at the Scientific and Technological Pole

François Hollande discoursed at the Scientific and Technological Pole

During his visit to the country, the president of the French Republic was welcomed by Dr. Lino Barañao, responsible for the scientific portfolio, at the Scientific and Technological Pole this morning. In this context, the French Head of State gave an important speech on the scientific, educational and cultural cooperation between France and Argentina. 

"Scientific and technological studies and the establishment of technology-based companies allow the upward social mobility and contribute to improve the distribution of wealth”

The introductory speech was given by Dr. Barañao who referred to the relationship with France as Argentina´s first scientific partner for over 50 years. In this sense, apart from stressing the significant influence France has had in Argentine education and science, the Minister of Science mentioned how science in general helps to preserve three core values contributed by the French Republic to the world: liberty, equality and fraternity. “Science is mainly motivated by curiosity that challenges reality and authority and this sense of the scientific spirit has always defended liberty as a crucial factor”, Barañao pointed out and added that in terms of equality “Scientific and technological studies and the establishment of technology-based companies allow the upward social mobility and contribute to improve the distribution of wealth”. Regarding fraternity, the Minister said: “Science proved to be a universal language that allows people to bridge an agreement based on rationality and objective thinking”.

The French Prime Minister, in turn, stressed the importance of the French-Argentine union in terms of culture, science and university education to face and overcome the challenges of our time and referred to the shared ideals, the mutual, cultural, scientific and educational cooperation commitment, the interchange and the relation that support bilateral cooperation. “At present, France is the first Argentine partner for science and technology. There are one hundred ongoing projects and 400 French scientists’ missions in Argentina each year”, Hollande explained. Then, the French president claimed, “In this context, the visit makes much sense, Argentina and France share the idea of progress because they incorporate science and technology to social improvement, cultural consolidation and economic development”. 

After the opening, investigators Alexis Hannart (French National Centre of Scientific Research – CNRS) and Carolina Vera (Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences and Oceans – University of Buenos Aires – UBA), participated in the meeting and stressed the importance of the cooperation in terms of making certain research and studies possible, modernizing science and achieving different approaches and perspectives. Likewise, students Hélene García Brotons (Engineering of the Higher Institute of Aeronautics and Space - ISAE – Tolouse – France) and Gonzalo Javier Vazquez (Law School – UBA (University of Buenos Aires) talked about their training experience enriched by cultural interchange.

Within the framework of the meeting, the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and several French institutions from the scientific and cultural area, in turn, implemented cooperation agreements to promote academic interchange of young researchers, researcher mobility, scientific knowledge dissemination and the protection and use of intellectual property rights.  

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development, Jean-Marc Ayrault, participated in the forum along with President Hollande and Minister Barañao. The event was moderated by Dr. Mónica Pinto, dean of the University of Buenos Aires Law School and it was attended by French and Argentine personalities in the culture, sports, environment and sustainable development, education and science areas. The forum was introduced by Sciamarella tango quintet consisting of five Argentine and French-speaking physicist women, specialized in vocal cord fluid mechanics.   

Memorandum of understanding – Ministry of Science and the French Institute of Research and Development (IRD)

As part of the official visit, the “Memorandum of understanding for the scientific and technical cooperation” was signed between the Ministry of Science, Technology and Productive Innovation and the French Institute of Research and Development (IRD) in the Casa Rosada yesterday afternoon. Its aim is to strengthen cooperation, agreement and interchange of research activities as well as promoting scientific and technical relations among the before mentioned entity, Argentine universities and the scientific research agencies under the competence of the Ministry of Science. The objective is to move forward on mutual interests, identifying the priority areas of collaboration through scientific and youth training programs.

State of cooperation with France

Argentina and France signed the Science and Technology Intergovernmental Framework in 1964. Several cooperation agreements have been signed from that date and an intensive exchange of researchers that found a new impetus with the creation of the Ministry of Science. This turned France into Argentina’s first partner as from the number of specific agreements of joint scientific research.

In addition, both countries perform joint activities such as close partnerships with the largest research agencies in France that produce around one hundred researcher exchange projects with over 400 French researcher missions to Argentina yearly. 

Seven French-Argentine research teams have also been created in a number of areas such as sociology, agricultural and rural economics, nanosciences, climate change, fluid physics and mechanics, cell biology, neurosciences, computer systems and languages developing binational centers such as the French-Argentine International Center for Information and Systems Sciences (CIFASIS). On the other hand, joint actions have led to the International Joint Units (UMI), International Associated Laboratories (LIA) and science and technology research projects such as  ANR-ANPCYT PICT International consisting of an agreement of promotion of the scientific and technological activities between the French National Research Agency and the National Agency for Scientific and Technological Promotion of the Ministry of Science. 

Likewise, cooperation projects with SANOFI and the BPI France, the French public investment bank, and cooperation agreements between Argentina and France in the European Union framework have been developed, being Argentina one of the first non-European beneficiaries of “Horizon 2020”, the research and development European program. Similarly, the network of Argentine Researchers and Scientists Abroad was created in the RAICES Program framework.

Such cooperation is particularly remarkable in the sustainable development field, with 2 flagship social inclusion projects, adaptation to climate change and preservation of native forests supported by the French Fund for Global Environment (FFEM) in Santa Fe city (water reserve project, sustainable housing) and in the Gran Chaco basin (ecosystems preservation, local economic development of the communities). Since 2014, Argentina is an Associate State to the prominent European Molecular Biology Laboratory which runs the “Oceanic Plankton, Climate and Development Project” along with the TARA foundation and French research institutions, also financed by the FFEM which seeks to improve the management of the Oceanic Research of the TARA OCEANS Scientific Program, encouraging the development of models and indicators for the observation of biodiversity based on the planktonic system.

Educational and university cooperation has also been developed for several years and is structured by 350 bilateral agreements between French and Argentine universities, with 30 joint diplomas. Since 2015, there is a mutual recognition agreement of studies, degrees and certificates. With 1000 students per country, France remarkably stands out as the fourth destination of Argentine students thanks to the prominent scholarship programs for agricultural engineers and veterinarians (“ARFAGRI”) and soon for students and teachers in art and innovation subjects (“INNOVART”) or university cooperation programs such as ECOS SUD, INRIA-CNRS (along with the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation and the National Center for Scientific Research), STIC and MATH AmSUD, Bernardo Houssay, CIMPA and Synchrotron Soleil.  

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