International conferenceRussian-French roundtable «On fundamental research in the framework of international associated laboratories and international research networks: record, stakes, foresight»
Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR) and the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) of France provide significant support to international collaboration of Russian and French teams working in the field of basic research. This support is expressed not only in funding of specific joint projects, but also in creation of favorable conditions for training of young professionals and high-level researchers within international research units: International Associated Laboratories (IAL) and the International Research Networks (IRN). Formation of IAL and IRN occurs on a competitive basis, allowing selection of scientific consortia in Russia and France, which are leading in a specific area and having complementary expertise and equipment. It should be noted that Russia has joint labs (IAL&IRN) with 42 different countries, but the volume of exchanges with France largely surpasses similar exchanges with other countries.
Russian-French roundtable was held on June 18, 2014, at the Kuban State University, Krasnodar, with financial support of RFBR. As well, Kurnakov Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry RAS and Moscow Bureau of CNRS participated in the organization of the event. This event was held in the framework of the EU-Russia Year of Science.
The conference was attended by Russian and French scientists representing the majority of the nineteen French-Russian IAL and IRN existing today. Geography of the scientific cooperation is quite extensive. In Russia, it includes Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Dubna, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, Krasnodar and other cities; in France, Paris, Montpellier, Toulouse, Le Havre, Bordeaux and others. Topics of joint researches are diverse as well. They involve some branches of mathematics and computer science, physics, chemistry, biology, geography, medicine, archeology, anthropology, history, and other topics of humanities and social sciences.
Photo 1. Opening ceremony
Representatives of RFBR, Mr. V.V. Kvardakov, deputy chairman of the RFBR Board, and Mr. A.N. Sharov, Head of International Relations Office, of RFH (Mrs. Y.V. Smirnov), CNRS (Mr. M. Tararine), as well as researchers of IAL and IRN made speeches at the conference. The feature of the conference was that the focus was rather not on the scientific achievements of the teams (which, of course, is the main goal of international cooperation), but on the analysis of mechanisms of research support by Russian and French partner organizations, primarily by the RFBR and RFH in Russia and CNRS in France. Special attention was given to the mechanisms for involving the youth in the international scientific process and the methods for keeping talented young scientists in the research field. Michel Tararine (Photo 2) talked about the important role of various grants contests of French Embassy in Russia. This kind of grants is designed to provide financial support for students for improving their knowledge of the French language, for the scientific training of young researchers, from bachelors and masters to PhDs. Alexander Sharov noted the importance of the press, the need to develop the professional networks and to use the opportunities of the Internet publications.
Photo 2. Мichel Tararine, the director of Moscow Bureau of CNRS
Photo 3. Alexander Sharov, the head of International Relations office of RFBR
Photo 4. Yann Mambrini, Researcher of CNRS - University Paris XI
Photo 5. Vladimir Kvardakov, the Deputy Chairman of the RFBR Board (to the left) and Andrey Yaroslavtsev, the corresponding member of RAS, IGIC RAS
It was noted that the opportunities provided to IALs and IRNs by the RFBR and the CNRS allow them to conduct scientific studies more efficiently and to develop faster. The experience in international scientific collaboration gained within IALs and IRNs, human and equipment exchanges between the partners facilitate creation of international professional networks and involvement of colleagues from the third countries in joint research.
The Kuban State University (KubSU), the organizer of the conference, is a young and rapidly developing university. It can serve as example of successful international collaboration proving that it is possible to make great science not only in capital, but also in peripheral centres. One day before the Round Table, a meeting involving the scientists of French-Russian ILA “Ion-exchange membranes and related processes” and the members of the Steering Committee (Photo 6) was held. The meeting was destined for analysis and assessment of the ILA activities. This Laboratory includes the researchers from Montpellier 2 University, Paris-Est University, Kuban State University and the Institute of General and Inorganic Chemistry of RAS. In addition to the scientific work, the Laboratory is preparing young researchers. Two PhD students from KubSU are studying at the Montpellier 2 University, one student has just won a grant of French Embassy in Moscow for preparing her PhD thesis at Paris-Est University. In exchange, three PhD students from Paris-Est University passed training sojourn at the KubSU (Photo 7).
Photo 6. The French-Russian LIA “Ion-exchange membranes and related processes” researchers and the members of Steering Committee, André Vioux, University Montpellier 2 (leftmost), and Michel Tararine, the director of CNRS Bureau in Moscow (rightmost)
Photo 7. Ekaterina Belashova from KubSU is preparing her PhD thesis at Montpellier 2 University
Photo 8. PhD students of Paris-Est University on their training sojourn at the Kuban State University, Krasnodar
Photo 9. Gerald Pourcelly, French director, and Victor Nikonenko, Russian co-director of ILA “Ion-exchange membranes and related processes”
During the conference, another important event occurred: Gérald Pourcelly, professor of Montpellier 2 University, was awarded with title of Doctor Honoris Causa by Kuban State University for significant contribution to development of scientific and educational collaboration between KubSU and Montpellier 2 University, European Membrane Institute, National Graduate School of Chemistry of Montpellier and other educational and scientific centres of France. This is the second Russian award for professor Pourcelly: a year before he was awarded with the N.N. Semenov medal by Russian Academy of Sciences.
Photo 10. The rector of Kuban State University, Mikhail Astapov, awards the diploma of Doctor Honoris Causa of KubSU to Gérald Pourcelly, Professor of Montpellier 2 University