Published on 21 November 2019
Future of Innovation in Aeronautics and Aerospace

A Convergence Conference for Scientific, Academic and Industrial Cooperation On 14-15 November, the IHES, Institute of High Scientific Studies, hosted a French-American scientific cooperation conference on the future of innovation in Aeronautics and Aerospace. The event was organised by Université Paris-Saclay in joint collaboration with ONERA, Northeastern University, the participation of the Federal University of Toulouse, and the support of the Office for Science and Technology of the Embassy of France in the United States.

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The conference sought, on one hand, to stimulate new academic and scientific partnerships between the participating institutions, and, on the other hand, to establish a better synergy between the academic, research and industrial communities, in France and overseas.

Enhancing Saclay-Northeastern Partnerships: 7 Saclay Founding Institutions Among the Participants

The event brought together over 80 French and US attendees from 7 Paris-Saclay founding institutions (ONERA, ENS Paris-Saclay, UVSQ, UEVE, UPSud, CentraleSupélec, Institute of Optics Graduate School), the Federal University of Toulouse, Northeastern University (represented by almost 30 delegates) and French and US industry (Northtrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Electric, Airbus, Safran, Thalès, Transavia, ASTech, Sineora).

On the first day of the conference, participants were able to learn more about research projects conducted by researchers from the attending institutions (in the areas of Materials, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, Energy and the Environment applied to Aeronautics and Aerospace).  They were also able to discuss, during the round tables held in parallel to the research sessions, potential bilateral and multilateral cooperation models and international cooperation development tools offered by universities, grandes écoles, research institutes, the French Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs, the Embassy or industry (e.g. CIFRE scholarships for PhD students). Non-degree delivering programs for students and research staff, as well as French-US dual degree programs and joint PhD theses were also among the topics discussed.

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At the end of the first day, 10 French and US PhD students shared their scientific discoveries during a poster session.

The second day of the conference took the American delegation on technical visits to the CEA List lab and the Paris-Saclay Design Spot. The participants also had the opportunity to test the Flying Aircraft Training Machine used to train engineering students at Polytech Paris-Sud (presented by Samir Bouaziz).

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In the afternoon, Joaquim Nassar, Head of the Department of Strategy, Expertise, and Management of International Cooperation Programs at the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, gave a keynote speech about the latest changes in the system of higher education, research, and innovation in France.

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Promoting a Culture of Equity and Equality

The second keynote was given by Claudine Hermann, Honorary Professor of Physics at Ecole Polytechnique, co-founder and the first president of the French Femmes & Sciences (Women and Science) association, founding member and now President (since 2017) of the European Platform of Women Scientists, EPWS, who spoke about women in STEM. The keynote was held as a pursuit of the engagements made by Université Paris-Saclay during the Paris-Boston Women's Forum dedicated to gender equality.

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Leveraging Alumni

Finally, a panel on the leveraging offered by alumni allowed participants to share their ideas and positive experience of alumni-university cooperation. The panel was moderated by Andrea Cox (General Electric), with the participation of Roman Fry (Raytheon), Jason Adams (Northtrop Grumman), alumni of Northeastern University, and Clémence Bastien (Airbus), alumna of the UPSud Jean Monnet Faculty, and Alexis Macraigne (Thalès), alumnus of Polytech Paris-Sud.

Converging Industry, Academia and Research to Tackle Today's Challenges

The closing panel of the conference was dedicated to cooperation between academia, research institutes and industry. The panellists included university and research representatives in charge of industry engagement, as well as businesses (Safran, ASTech competitiveness cluster, Airbus), who shared their vision on the successful conduct of joint, mutually beneficial initiatives. 

Download all the pictures from the conference

Photo credit: A.Gilson