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MIT France Program gets $1M challenge grant from French government

The MIT France Program has gotten a $1 million boost to expand the cooperation between MIT and France, a sum that will be matched by MIT.

The program was launched in September 2000 as the newest of the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives with funding from the EduFrance Agency. On July 12, President Charles M. Vest and H.E. Franïçois Bujon de l'Estang, the French ambassador to the United States, signed an agreement formalizing a $1 million contribution from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the MIT France Program. The contribution will seed an endowed fund for the program; MIT will seek to match that amount during the course of the coming year.

The MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives prepare students and faculty to work and live in foreign countries through intensive language instruction, cultural immersion, in-country internships and faculty research collaborations. The MIT France Program is MISTI's sixth; the others involve Japan, China, India, Germany and Italy. The director of both MISTI and the MIT France Program is Suzanne Berger, the Raphael Dorman and Helen Starbuck Professor of Political Science.

The MIT France Program has three main components: internships for students and young graduates in companies and research laboratories in France, doctoral and postdoctoral fellowships for MIT researchers to conduct research in France's leading laboratories, and visiting positions for French professors or researchers in various MIT departments.

With the latest financial support, the program has added new components including a "startup fund" to launch studies and projects carried out jointly by MIT students or professors and their French counterparts; on-campus conferences, seminars and workshops about technology, science, culture and language in contemporary France; undergraduate and graduate level courses about France and an "MIT France Working Paper Series" to publish the findings and results of the program.

Three ministries of the French government are involved in the program, as are several French companies, national research institutes and universities.


A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on July 18, 2001.

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