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The French government has announced the first six campuses to benefit from increased funding under the government strategy to make French universities internationally competitive. The chosen ones are the universities of Bordeaux, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Strasbourg and Toulouse. These campuses will benefit from a total of EUR 5 billion. Most of these funds result from the sale of shares of the energy company EDF.
The selection process, which carries the promising name of “Operation Campus”, is open until mid-July, when the remaining four winners will be announced. In total, 46 projects had been submitted. Apart from their scientific and academic ambition, the striking need for renovations, and their collaboration with regional authorities and businesses, the winning campuses seem to have another thing in common: none of them is located in Paris.
Even though it is too early to come to conclusions about the impact of “Operation Campus”, one can draw parallels between the French initiative and Germany’s quest for excellence (we reported in the December 2007 edition of the ACA Newsletter – Education Europe). Even though the total amount of funding is higher in France, it remains to be seen if the regional spread of the financial injection really translates into better quality of teaching and into making the country’s higher education as more internationally competitive.