Among the major events of 2021, the hosting of the New Africa-France Summit in Montpellier on 8 October is a unique opportunity for the University of Montpellier and its partners in the I-SITE MUSE (Montpellier University of Excellence) project. It is an opportunity to illustrate why and how the Montpellier ecosystem of higher education, research and innovation is a real portal between the African and European continents.

 

The University of Montpellier and its partners have chosen to highlight the strong and concrete partnership between the African and Montpellier academic communities through four scientific days organised prior to the Summit. The Montpellier Global Days will take place from 4 to 7 October 2021, in person and online, and will welcome researchers, teacher-researchers and experts from France and all over Africa for the occasion. This is an important and eagerly awaited event for researchers and teachers from Montpellier and their African partners, who see it as recognition of their commitment.

Long-standing and solid links between Montpellier and Africa

The University of Montpellier and its partners in the I-SITE Montpellier University of Excellence (MUSE) have made Africa an international priority. This is not a recent development, since the density of partnerships and exchanges with the Mediterranean basin, and more generally with the whole of Africa, is centuries old. Today, this can be explained by the presence in Montpellier, alongside the university, of French and international research and teaching institutions particularly oriented towards partnerships with the southern Mediterranean (CIRAD, IRD, CGIAR, Ciheam). Although the links are strong and long-standing, they are now reflected in numerous collaborations in research, innovation and training and a great diversity of academic activities implemented to meet the challenges of the environment, food and health. In terms of training, for example, the Montpellier university site welcomes an average of 5,000 African students each year, including 400 PhD students. These are future young researchers looking to the future and determined to continue this collective dynamic on the African continent.

Montpellier, a real portal between Europe and Africa

In order to feed, care for and protect, the entire academic and scientific ecosystem in Montpellier has mobilised to support and promote the capacities of African institutional actors in research, higher education and vocational training, and innovation, in conjunction with international institutions. " The University of Montpellier and its partners in the MUSE I-SITE are now recognised as major players in strengthening links between the African, French and European academic communities," says Philippe Augé, President of the University of Montpellier. He added: "Montpellier has been able to position itself in support of the construction of a collective intelligence for the world of tomorrow with our African partners.

A federative dynamic built within the MUSE I-SITE project and supported by the University of Montpellier, ranked in the top 200 of the world's best universities, which has mobilised the site's 6,000 researchers and teacher-researchers to respond in particular to three major and interdependent challenges of the United Nations' Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and the Paris Agreement on climate change: Feed - Care - Protect. These major challenges for the planet are also part of the construction of an internationally recognised university, which makes François Pierrot, Executive Director of the MUSE I-SITE, say that " hosting the New Africa-France Summit in Montpellier is a form of recognition for the University of Montpellier and its partners, who are key players between the two continents for higher education, research and innovation ".

The "Montpellier Global Days for Science, Education & Innovation: Africa 2021!

"Montpellier Global Days is a four-day event dedicated to higher education, training, research and innovation that will showcase our partners and the wealth of scientific and academic collaboration. Experts, researchers and project leaders will share their work, thoughts and commitments on six themes: International Health - One Health, Agroecology, Biodiversity, Water, Food Systems and Technologies for Feeding, Nurturing and Protecting during parallel sessions on the first two days. The following two days will be structured around cross-cutting and forward-looking discussions to focus more specifically on strengthening partnerships, structuring expertise and a forward-looking capacity to respond to the related issues raised by the MUSE project, from the point of view of science, innovation and the economy. " These days will certainly allow us to show what we are doing in relation to the African continent, but above all they will be an opportunity for dialogue and co-construction, looking to the future," summarises Patrick Caron, the UM's Deputy Vice-President for International Relations.