Study tour – “Canadian universities in their economic environment”
Organized on the initiative of the Embassy and the CampusFrance agency, the “Canadian universities in their economic environment” study tour took place on May 20–26th, 2013, in Toronto, Waterloo, and Vancouver.
The French delegation consisted of representatives of universities and institutes of higher learning (Paris 1, Montpellier 2, Lille 2, Bordeaux, ESC Troyes), university foundations (Bordeaux, Nantes, Cergy-Pointoise, Lyon 1), regions (Auvergne, Lorraine, Nord-pas-de-Calais), the Campus France agency, and of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
The four universities visited offered an opportunity to explore four “models” by which universities integrate themselves into their economic environment: Ryerson University (Toronto), University of Waterloo, Simon Fraser University (Vancouver), and the University of British Columbia (UBC, Vancouver).
The delegation was able to benefit from the expertise of very high-level representatives of Canadian universities, including Mohamed Lachemi, Provost of Ryerson University; Wendy Cukier, Vice-President (Research and Innovation) of Ryerson University; Feridun Hamdullahpur, President of the University of Waterloo; Andrew Petter, President of Simon Fraser University; Gilles Patry, President of the Canadian Foundation for Innovation; David Farrar, Provost of UBC; and Barbara Miles, Vice-President (Development and Alumni Engagement) of UBC.
This tour provided an opportunity for the French delegation to better understand how Canadian universities situate themselves at the heart of an ecosystem that promotes innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly thanks to the availability of collaborative spaces bringing together entrepreneurs, investors, researchers, and students. Participants were also able to thoroughly study the organization of fundraising policies and of the structuring of alumni networks by Canadian universities.
While France has seen significant reforms to its higher education and research systems in recent years, reforms that have helped prepare our country for contemporary challenges, this tour was an opportunity for participants to delve into Canada’s many good ideas in this regard and to discuss the place of universities in the economy and in society. A number of leads regarding potential partnerships between the French universities represented in the delegation and participating Canadian universities were also identified, which may contribute to diversification of academic and scientific cooperation between France and Canada.
Interview Radio Canada with Christophe Choserot (VP Lorraine region), in Toronto (in French only)