The Rebirth of the French Campus

Translated by Nina Fink, Sophie Blitman
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Universités : cinq lieux qui boostent la vie de campus, à Arras,  Saint-Etienne, La Rochelle, Montpellier et Saclay.
Arras, Saint-Étienne, La Rochelle, Montpellier and Saclay : five public universities that foster innovation on their campuses. // ©  Université d'Artois / Gaëlle Dechamp - UdL / C.Benguigui / UM - David Richard / Hugo Noulin.
A growing number of French public universities are looking beyond academics to foster collaboration, culture and creativity on their campuses.

Artois Builds

In 2016, Artois University inaugurated new spaces with mobile furniture, smartboards, projection screens and "active classrooms" with the latest technology. The school's libraries now feature learning labs, group project clusters and comfortable sitting areas. So far, two of Artois' five campuses have been retrofitted for a total of €145 thousand. Once finished, the ten active classrooms and 20 clusters will be able to accommodate 250 students at each location.

Montpellier Gathers

At the University of Montpellier, the (S)pace designed by former President Michel Robert offers a new take on the town square. The result features a digital fountain with an interactive touch screen, wall screens, an audio media area and videoconferencing. (S)pace's many uses include video game sessions, app testing and browsing. (S)pace also hosts debates and student events on internships, housing and alumnae careers. The facility cost €3 million to create while the digital fountain cost €90 thousand.

Lyon Innovates

The University of Lyon just instituted "a school-wide, coordinated, innovation, entrepreneurship and creativity policy, which will draw on talent and resources to stimulate regional development," according to Fanny Martin, Assistant Project Manager of the Fabrique de l'Innovation. Now the school can support entrepreneurs from start to launch at its new co-working, incubator and fab lab facilities. The regional government has allocated €17 million to renovate or build buildings on the university's campuses by 2018.

Saclay Connects

The University of Paris-Saclay's Proto204 was founded on the belief that social interactions lead to innovation. Everyone, including local residents, is invited to use the new collaborative workspace with its small fab lab. Proto24's goal is to publicize new projects, foster collaboration and identify emerging trends. According to Manager Ronan James, "The goal is to create a business and social environment that will boost creativity in the region." With an annual budget of €100 thousand, Proto24 welcomes 400 visitors a month and holds events every day ranging from coding sessions to hackathons, pop-up bookstores, WAWlab wellness in the workplace workshops and concerts. Next up? A mobile Protobus.

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Translated by Nina Fink, Sophie Blitman | Publié le