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French unis looks to forge ties on Ireland Day

“One day to strengthen co-operation between Ireland and France in higher education and research” was the tagline used to describe the events organised by Campus France on July 5 2022, to celebrate Ireland Day in France.

"Fruitful" face-to-face meetings between Irish and French HE representatives were held in Paris. Photo: Campus France Twitter

A delegation of 60 representatives from 24 French and 16 Irish institutions joined in the French capital to strengthen collaboration between the countries and to work to promote mobility of students between the two countries.

“I am delighted to be here in Paris today with colleagues in the Irish embassy for an exciting day of engagement,” said Simon Harris, minister for further & higher education, research, innovation and science in Ireland.

“We’ve brought together Irish higher education institutes and French institutions to talk about collaboration, to talk about student mobility and how we can do more together, do more on Erasmus, do more on Horizon Europe, do more on the European Universities initiative,” continued Harris.

The minister also visited the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris to “take stock of where they are at in the projects they are undertaking for us, in relation to our skills infrastructure and lifelong learning”.

Speaking on the ties between the two countries, Harris said, “It’s a relationship that runs so deep, the Irish-French relationship, and is one that we want to do even more now because France is our nearest neighbour in the European Union.”

Vincent Guérend, French ambassador to Ireland, said that because of Ireland’s “unique position” in the EU, co-operation between Ireland and France in the scientific and academic fields should be further enhanced.

“We’ve brought together Irish higher education institutes and french institutions to talk about collaboration”

Donatienne Hissard, director general, Campus France, also spoke at the event, painting a picture of the Irish student landscape in France.

 “[Some] 720 Irish students were in France in 2020/21, excluding Erasmus recipients, and 63% enrolled at a university. The dynamics are positive, representing a 15% rise over the past five years,” she said.

To coincide with the event, Campus France launched a new publication, focused on Ireland, in French.

The report highlighted that France is the number one destination for Irish students through the Erasmus+ program, with 783 Irish students travelling to France for their studies in 2019/20. At the same time, French students were the most common among Erasmus+ students in Ireland that year.

The 2,069 French students joining Erasmus+ programs accounted for 28% of all Erasmus+ students in Ireland in 2019/20.

It also noted that as of June 2022, six HE consortia – including Charm-EUECIUENLIGHTEU-CONEXUSEUT and Una Europa – saw Irish and French HE partners collaborating.

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