This university cooperation will serve not only the students but also the businesses set up on both sides of the Atlantic.

The largest university in Texas, the USA’s 2nd –ranking state for GRDP, has just signed a memorandum of understanding with the École des Arts et Métiers in Aix-en-Provence under the aegis of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Regional Council. The two schools have agreed to exchange students in the field of materials and structures. The Vice-President of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) was in Marseille on November 30th to sign the Franco-American university cooperation agreement. Provence Promotion has been supporting the Arts et Métiers’ candidacy over the past year in the face of competition from four other likely choices by working at bringing the two sides closer together.

Starting in July 2018, twenty or so students in materials and structures from the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) will be taking part in a five-week internship at Arts et Métiers in Aix-en-Provence.

The arrival of the first graduate students will mark the fulfillment of several months’ collaborative work between Business France, the French Consulate-General in Houston, Provence Promotion and the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur Regional Council to convince the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) to choose France.

The American university had the ambition of enhancing its influence overseas and was looking for a European campus on which it could set up a materials and structures and energies cluster. “I am delighted to be signing this university cooperation agreement on innovation and research with the Ecole des Arts et Métiers. It will enable the creation of a resource that can be used by the energy, environment and aircraft sectors. We need to work side by side with businesses and be able to fulfill their needs. Our faculty has 19,000 students, of which 6,800 are engineering students. We have access to US$900M in funding for research and will have the opportunity of building partnerships with French manufacturers. We are one of the top ten American engineering schools and companies head-hunt our young graduates. We want to create innovative things on an international scale,” underlined TEES’ Vice-Chancellor Katherine Banks at the MoU signing ceremony in Marseille on November 30th.

Provence Promotion building bridges for start-ups

The university cooperation agreement closes the ties that have existed between the two schools for 25 years in materials sciences and contributes to serving the Ecole des Arts et Métiers’ international expansion ambitions. “In France, the internship is compulsory, which is not the case in the US,” explains Laurent Champaney, Chancellor of Arts et Métiers.

“The students will have an opportunity to discover the Latin culture,” adds Arts et Métiers Director Philippe Collot.

This cross-fertilization will serve not only the students but also the businesses set up on both sides of the Atlantic (Airbus Helicopters, EDF, Vinci, CEA, STMicroelectronics) and provide advantages for the region’s major projects such as ITER in the energy sector and Team Henri-Fabre, which has a platform dedicated to innovation and pooled resources (Inovsys).

Provence Promotion is banking on this partnership to build new bridges in the economic sphere in order to make it easier and less expensive for American start-ups to relocate to Provence (soft landing) and vice-versa. The regional economic development agency will be monitoring developments in Marseille and in Texas.