MUSE is the application to the Call for Projects launched by the French government. This Call for Projects aims at creating international “Universities of Excellence” throughout the country. The projects once selected will be provided with additional fundings. MUSE specifically applied for an endowment of 681M€, as a top-up to the existing fundings. To be granted, projects have to demonstrate their ability to integrate several higher education and research organizations around a common scientific ambition.

MUSE project gathers a consortium of 19 partners (6,000 scientists – 47,000 students) led by the University of Montpellier: 10 National Research Organizations (CNRS, Inserm, Irstea, Ifremer, BRGM, Cirad, IRD, CEA, Inra, Inria); 4 “grandes écoles” (Montpellier SupAgro, Montpellier School of Chemistry, Montpellier School of Architecture, Alès School of Mines); 2 public hospitals (CHU Montpellier, CHU Nîmes); 1 private hospital (ICM); 1 international organization, CIHEAM-IAMM. This consortium is already prominently present in all international rankings, and benefits from a strong thematic concentration, providing it with an I-SITE profile.

MUSE seeks to create a thematic research-intensive University that will be internationally recognized for its impact in agriculture, environment and health. With over 70% of its scientific workforce, 85% of its prestigious ERC grants and 90% of its PIA projects contributing to these domains, MUSE excellence scope is already settled.  This expertise will allow the consortium to address three intertwined challenges: (1) promoting an innovative agriculture to contribute to food security and environmental quality; (2) fostering a transition towards an environmentally-friendly society; (3) improving human health in changing environments. Its long-term ambition is to make Montpellier one of the European capitals for Health and Agro-environment, and a true European portal for scientific issues of the Southern countries.

MUSE will be implemented along 4 strategic axes: (1) structuring the “target” university; (2) transforming management processes and HR policies; (3) enforcing a strong commitment to excellence; and (4) increasing impact on society and economy. Organized into 19 actions, the action plan will contribute to the University’s global mission: Research; Education; Socioeconomic relationships; International Policy; Governance; Student Life.

Among the major 10-year achievements planned by the roadmap, it is worth highlighting some key elements: the University of Montpellier will offer a structure that can integrate all partners; 80% of the scientific workforce will be involved in the 3 main challenges. About 300 PhDs and 300 Postdocs, directly financed by MUSE, will contribute to go beyond the frontiers of science for the three challenges addressed by MUSE. All Master curricula will benefit from the expertise of an Innovative Learning Support Center and from additional resources, aiming to increase internationalization and better learning experiences for students. Companies will settle on the campus and the number of startups will be doubled. Funds for more than 2,500 person.month exchanges (students; professors; researchers) will boost MUSE international network. In 10 years, strengthened by a common publication policy and a focused strategy, University of Montpellier will be ranked among the top 150 world universities, and will be recognized as a key player for Agriculture, Environment and Health.

Contact: François Pierrot – MUSE coordinator