Celebrating UAlberta's French connections

France Day celebrates collaborations and explores opportunities with one of the biggest players in the European Union.


(Edmonton) Call it a homegrown French connection. The University of Alberta's collaborations and activities with France—plus new opportunities for students and researchers—will be under the spotlight this week as a delegation of French journalists and dignitaries tour Alberta and three U of A campuses.

"We're very excited to be welcoming our friends from France," says Britta Baron, U of A vice-provost and associate vice-president (international). "It's a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the teaching and learning connections our university has made with France, and it's a tremendous chance to showcase our province and our institution to one of Europe's greatest influencers.

"The University of Alberta definitely has made strides in advancing our global profile, but our work needs to continue. This is a prime opportunity to spread the word, highlight our research expertise and potentially open up new avenues of collaboration in teaching and learning to the university community who are interested in France, all the way from undergraduate students to post-docs to tenured faculty researchers."

Organized by the French Embassy in Ottawa, the tour includes five French journalists and a TV crew who will visit several Alberta stops along with the U of A, including Fort McMurray, Calgary and Banff National Park. Journalists on the tour come from some of France's most influential media, such as L'Express, Le Figaro and TV broadcaster TF1.

While at the U of A, the journalists will attend a welcome reception with high-profile researchers, visit Campus Saint-Jean and meet with students, and tour the new Medical Isotope and Cyclotron Facility on South Campus.

France Day highlights opportunities abroad

The journalists will also tour North Campus and join students and researchers at the luncheon for France Day, a two-part information session event Oct. 1 hosted by University of Alberta International and the Office of the Vice-President (Research).

The morning session, "Opportunities in France for Students" (10 a.m.–noon), highlights study and exchange opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students, and showcases the experiences of students who have studied in France. Representatives from the French Embassy in Canada will also present on opportunities in France.

The afternoon session (1–4 p.m.) brings together researchers at all career stages—faculty, staff, post-doctoral fellows and students—who are interested in working in France or collaborating with French researchers. The session covers research opportunities in France, French research strengths, funding opportunities available through the French Embassy and other European sources, and how to initiate cotutelle agreements to establish joint doctoral supervision for dually awarded PhDs.

Both sessions are free and will be held in Lister Centre. Pre-registration is recommended.

Stefan Scherer, managing director of the Helmholtz-Alberta Initiative and special adviser to the vice-president (research), says France Day is another step in advancing the conversation between the U of A and France.

"We have been exploring mutual research interests and co-operation with select institutions in France over the last few years under the umbrella of FAST!, the France-Alberta Science and Technology Initiative. Through joint workshops and conferences, we've found common ground in several disciplines, particularly in the area of renewable energy,” says Scherer.

“I look forward to continuing the dialogue, exploring new activities and deepening our relationship with France."

Register for France Day sessions