A five-member delegation from Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon (ENS-Lyon), France visited IISER Pune from April 11 to 12 to discuss the modalities for academic cooperation and exchange.
The visit was a follow-up on a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that the two organisations signed in January this year. The documents of the MoU were exchanged in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President of France François Hollande during the latter’s visit to India.
The French delegation included Prof Jean-Francis Pinton (President, ENS de Lyon), Prof Yanick Ricard (Vice-President, Research), Prof Damien Stehle (Advisor for Studies on Curricula and Careers in Exact and Experimental Sciences), Dr Arnaud Debussche (Dean of Research and International Affairs), and Dr Jean-Louis Duclos (Director of International Affairs). Mr Yves Perrin (Consul General of France in Mumbai), Mr Andre Ruche (Consul Adjoint), Ms Anne-Marie Thuillier (Director, Alliance Française), and Dr Sandrine Maximilien (S&T Consular, French Embassy) also visited IISER Pune. Prof Ricard and Prof Pinton gave research seminars in Geoscience and Physics respectively, during their visit.
ENS-Lyon is a premier education and research organisation in France with a history of more than 125 years. The organisation provides transdisciplinary education to students from all parts of France, contributing to the society through excellence in science, teaching and public service. ENS-Lyon offers its students opportunities to acquire new skills and choose their own career paths by traveling to centres of excellence across the world. This ties-in well with the ethos of IISER Pune, a research-intensive teaching institute dedicated to the basic sciences. The two institutions share common goals and similar curricula, and are comparable in their faculty strength and student intake along with aligned research interests.
The MoU between ENS-Lyon and IISER Pune identifies joint realization of research and teaching programs, bilateral mobility of staff and students, and joint organisation of conferences & workshops as areas of cooperation. During the visit joint funding opportunities and the next steps for taking the collaborative program forward were considered. More specifically, faculty and PhD student exchange, initiation of a joint PhD programme, bi-directional student exchange for research-based credits, and French language teaching at IISER Pune by ENS-Lyon students were the items on the agenda for discussion.
Lyon and Pune are also prominent cultural centres of their respective countries. Cinema first came to life in Lyon through the work of Lumiere brothers. Pune in its own right was a major hub in the early years of Indian cinema as headquarters of Prabhat Studios, later followed by establishment of the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and the National Film Archives of India (NFAI) in the city. Both cities are rich in various strands of artistic culture like cinema, theatre and music. Through the present collaboration, IISER and the ENS aim to play a key role in evolving city-level interactions between Pune and Lyon in both science and arts. In this context, the delegation also visited the NFAI.