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Letter from Romain Soubeyran – CentraleSupélec and Université Paris-Saclay
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Letter from Romain Soubeyran – CentraleSupélec and Université Paris-Saclay

Dear donors, dear friends,

I would like to share with you a major orientation that CentraleSupélec has just decided upon in order to fully integrate its development into the realities of the 21st century.

As one of the consequences of globalization, the training of the world’s elites tends to be concentrated in a smaller and smaller number of universities, which attract the best students and professors from all over the world at an increasingly early age. To be one of these hubs requires a very strong international brand backed by powerful research at the highest level of excellence.

Faced with this reality, CentraleSupélec has been involved for several years, under the impetus of Hervé Biausser, in the university structuring of the Saclay plateau. Since my arrival a year ago, I have continued this commitment because I am deeply convinced that CentraleSupélec can become one of the world’s leading engineering schools. But for this to happen, and in the face of current changes and the globalization of the academic world, it must be supported by a larger university group.

Such a rapprochement should not lead to the merging of schools on the Saclay plateau into a large traditional French university. On the contrary, it is a matter of building together an institution of higher education and research based on the best international practices, whose innovative aspect in our country can then inspire an evolution of the entire French academic landscape.

An intensive dialogue between all the players has made it possible to prepare the statutes of the future experimental Paris-Saclay University. Our School’s Board of Directors approved them on July 3, paving the way for an effective implementation on January 1, 2020.

Within this university, CentraleSupélec will retain its legal personality as a major institution, the control of its resources, and complete control over its engineering training. But it will be involved in the deployment of the Université Paris-Saclay as a component institution, alongside three universities and three other grandes écoles (AgroParisTech, the Institut d’Optique Graduate School and the Ecole Normale Supérieure Paris-Saclay, formerly Cachan). The project will also benefit from the privileged support of six national research organizations: CEA, CNRS, INRA, INRIA, INSERM and ONERA.

The Université Paris-Saclay will essentially be structured around fifteen or so thematic Graduate Schools bringing together masters programs, doctoral schools and research teams in the relevant field.

Within this framework, CentraleSupélec will lead the Engineering and Systems Graduate School, which will bring together more than 40 laboratories representing 20% of the teaching and research staff of the Université Paris-Saclay. Whether in training or in research, the activity of this Graduate School will represent two to three times that of CentraleSupélec alone.

With more than 1,200 researchers and teacher-researchers, the coordination of the Graduate School will allow us to benefit from a very broad scope of research at the highest scientific level. This is a decisive argument for recruiting the best French and international students, who are sensitive to the proximity of excellent laboratories. We will also be able to discuss on an equal footing with the engineering departments of the world’s largest institutions, especially since the University of Paris-Saclay is likely to appear, depending on the simulations, between 10th and 15th place in the Shanghai ranking. Probably ranked first in mathematics and second in physics, it will benefit from other elements of attractiveness to which we are no stranger – let’s not forget that CentraleSupélec ranks 6th in the world in terms of reputation among employers.

Independently of the stakes of international visibility, the spectrum of disciplines covered by the Université Paris-Saclay should help us to further enrich our engineering curriculum. Indeed, in the face of the complex challenges we are facing, linked in particular to demographic changes, sustainable development, the energy transition, global warming and the digital revolution, we believe that our engineering training today requires the bringing together of all the expertise, both historical mathematics, physics and computer science, as well as that of other sciences, life sciences, humanities, social sciences, economics, etc.

The Université Paris-Saclay will make it possible to connect all these fields of knowledge, which have been separated and dispersed for too long. This is why CentraleSupélec will also participate in nine other Graduate Schools, so that we can draw inspiration from them and improve our own skills as necessary.

The July 3 vote was the first decisive step in a project that will unfold over the next few years. Indeed, the Université Paris-Saclay was created for an experimental period of ten years, the time that the various members have given themselves to converge in their objectives and operations.

This project offers us great development opportunities. We are counting on your support to help us make the School a world leader.

We have great adventures to write and live together.

With all our friendship,

Romain Soubeyran, Director General of CentraleSupélec,

together with Philippe Carli, President of the CentraleSupélec Foundation.

You too, support the School and its students!

Donations from our Alumni, parents and corporate patrons are essential resources for CentraleSupélec, and the main seed fund for its development projects. So let’s all support our School!

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