France Welcomes Academics in Exile

Catherine de Coppet, Translated by Nina Fink
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USAGE UNIQUE - Collège de France
Thanks to Pause, temporary positions are now available at French universities and research centers. // ©  Marta NASCIMENTO/REA
On March 2nd, the Fondation de France launched a new funding initiative for Pause, a program that sponsors foreign academics in emergency situations to work in French academia and research. Since its establishment on January 16th by Secretary of State for Higher Education and Research Thierry Mandon, Pause has already selected 25 applicants.

Sometimes academics face dangerous situations in their home countries. Thanks to Pause, an emergency program that helps exiled academics by welcoming them in France, temporary positions are now available at French universities and research centers.

The host institutions will receive sponsorship grants ranging from €20 to €60 thousand per beneficiary through a new Fondation de France funding initiative. They are invited to send applications to the academic review committee at the Collège de France at In exchange, they commit to "recruiting beneficiaries and assisting them with their professional and personal integration."

In order to qualify, the foreign academics must meet specific criteria. They must be professors, researchers or PhD students. They must be in an emergency situation involving persecution or violence due to their identity or beliefs. Lastly, they must be forced to go into exile or have left their country within the last three years.

New Year, New Grants

Since its launch, Pause has received 55 applications. The committee narrowed them down to 40 before choosing the final 25. Co-chair Alain Prochiantz notes, "They are mainly Syrians and Turks." Half of the selected academics work in the social sciences and the humanities and half work in the hard sciences. For co-chair Edith Heard, "It was sometimes hard to choose." Prochiantz notes that "new applications are arriving every day" and estimates that 150 academics could be selected by the end of 2017.

Additionally, academics may apply for sponsorship directly. Heard says, "We also consider so-called orphaned applications. Part of Pause's mission is to identify schools and laboratories that could host these individuals. This is largely made possible thanks to the sponsorship system," comprised of roughly 40 members of civil society.

On March 2nd, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve commended "the mobilization of our higher education institutions, which are preserving France's tradition of hospitality. Demagogues are currently stoking fears... I don't want [that] to lead to France's academic decline!"

Catherine de Coppet, Translated by Nina Fink | Publié le