Since the early 1990s, the French Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) has established five endowment funds with leading American universities :
- University of California at Berkeley
- University of Chicago
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Stanford University
- University of Texas at Austin
With the exception of the latter, these bilateral funds were endowed, at their creation, with a capital of two million US dollars matched equally by France and the American partner university. The income generated by these endowment funds and any additional funding is used to support scientific collaborations between French research and teaching institutions and these partner universities. Each year, calls for projects are launched and funding is granted to the selected cooperation projects. Depending on the case, mobility grants for students or researchers are also awarded, and financial support may be provided for the organization of scientific symposia or cultural events related to France.
These five bilateral funds are among the main instruments of the scientific cooperation policy carried out by the Embassy of France in the United States and in particular by the Office for Science and Technology (OST), as well as the Cultural Services, which more particularly monitors projects in human and social sciences. These funds facilitate collaborations of excellence between French research teams and the most prestigious American universities by promoting multidisciplinary research projects. These tools encourage the establishment of long-lasting relationships between France and world-renowned universities and thus contribute to the recognition of the excellence of French research internationally.
Moreover, although they only provide seed funding, they have a significant leverage effect for the subsequent implementation of more ambitious research projects.
The opening dates of the calls for applications vary from one fund to another but generally take place between September and October of each year; they are announced on the website of the Office for Science and Technology https://www.france-science.com/.
France - Berkley Fund
The France-Berkeley Fund (FFB) was created in 1993 by the MEAE and UC Berkeley to encourage and develop scientific and academic exchanges. The projects submitted must be carried out jointly by a teacher or researcher affiliated with a French research or higher education institution and a teacher or researcher affiliated with UC Berkeley, the University of California at Davis (UC Davis) or the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL). Projects may be submitted in all disciplines: applied sciences, engineering, exact sciences and humanities and social sciences.
MIT Fund - France
The MIT-France Seed Fund, which was established in 2001 by the MEAE and MIT within the MIT-
France, funds the mobility of French and MIT researchers wishing to initiate collaborative research projects and to initiate collaborations between MIT laboratories and laboratories of French research organizations or universities.
France - Stanford Fund: Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (FSCIS)
The France-Stanford Center for Interdisciplinary Studies (FSCIS) was created in 2002 by the MEAE and Stanford University to foster cooperation between France and the United States by building bridges between the humanities, social sciences, exact sciences, engineering sciences, business sciences and legal sciences. It provides funding each year for a series of high-level bilateral projects in the form of mobility grants for young researchers, academic conferences and advanced collaborative research projects in all disciplines.
France - University of Chicago Fund: France And Chicago Collaborating in The Sciences (FACCTS)
Created in 2007, the FACCTS program is designed to enhance science at the University of Chicago by encouraging closer relations between researchers in the Physical Sciences Division (PSD), The Biological Sciences Division (BSD), and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering (PME) and high-level research teams and institutions of higher education in France. The FACCTS program accomplishes this goal by providing seed funding for new and potentially fruitful project-based collaborations. Through a partnership with Argonne National Laboratory and Fermilab, researchers at these two national laboratories are also eligible for FACCTS support, and are encouraged to apply.
France Fund - UT Austin
The Fonds d'Excellence France-UT Austin Dr. Cécile DeWitt-Morette (FFA) was created in 2017 with UT Austin. It was named in honor of Cécile DeWitt-Morette, a French physicist who founded the Ecole des Houches (a famous meeting place for high-level researchers in physics) and professor at UT Austin from 1972 to 2017. The purpose of this excellence fund is to support joint research projects between the University of Texas at Austin and French research and higher education institutions.