Following the merger of the two Normandy regions, the actors from the various scientific communities gathered under the Normandy University umbrella undertook to set up an one-off working group that was tasked with studying the structure of Normandy’s research with a view to proposing an efficient sustainable scientific steering and organisation model that is in line with the region’s scientific and economic challenges.
The new structure’s negotiated and stated goals are to:
- Promote its growth and international profile;
- Create a Normandy quality mark for higher education and research;
- Support and promote attractive education;
- Organise a global level research infrastructure (large-scale facilities, labelled platforms, etc.);
- Promote, as part of these projects, a level of involvement and integration within the economic landscape especially at regional level.
In order to reach its objectives, 5 strategic education and research centres were approved on 28 November 2016 by the Conseil Académique and put in place on 01 January 2017 as part of the new area’s contract. The scope for these centres comprises:
- Energy, Propulsion, Matter, Materials’ – EP2M ;
- ‘New chemistry and biology technologies that apply to health and well-being’ – CBSB
- ‘Humanities, Culture, Societies’ – HCS
- ‘Digital Sciences’ – SN
- ‘Land-Sea Continuum’ – CTM
These research units do not operate in silos. Instead they take into account and develop cross discipline research across a variety of themes including ‘Nuclear and Health’, ‘Energy Transition’, ‘Digital Humanites’, and so on. Indeed in an upcoming study we will be looking at how to promote cross-disciplinary fertilisation so that the university’s significant multi-disciplinary capabilities can produce ground-breaking innovative results.
A two-tier governance system has been retained as follows:
- A first scientific level whereby the research units’ management offices ensure projects are comprehensively managed and project quality is achieved. The offices’ mission is to provide momentum to the relevant communities. It guarantees quality and transparent evaluations via externally sourced expertise, including approximately ten experts from the fields of education (including doctorate level), as well as research and recognition in each of the five strategic disciplines. They operate under the responsibility of a lead-facilitator and one or two co-facilitators who are designated by the Conseil Académique de Normandie Université (Normandy University Academic Council) (January 2017) from proposals put forward by the establishments?
- A second integrated strategic inter-establishment level (universities and schools) with close links to the Normandy Region’s research bodies that form the steering committee. The steering committee defines overall strategy, evaluates progress and impact and provides summaries and reports to both the Administration Councils and the Normandy University Academic Council. The Normandy University Council comprises twenty members representing research and educationfrom five Normandy higher educations institutions (3 Universities and 2 Engineering Schools), the Normandy Region and the major bodies especially the CNRS (national research body).