Diplomats should spread the word that France is improving its research capacity, research minister Laurent Wauquiez has said.
Speaking at the government’s ambassadors’ conference in Paris on 1 September, Wauquiez said that major investments in French research, the creation of a national strategy for science, and sweeping university reforms should all be used to show that France is open for business.
“I’m counting on you ladies and gentleman, as ambassadors, to take this message of openness and excellence back with you to your countries of residence,” he said.
Wauquiez warned that the international student market was becoming increasingly competitive and that French institutions were still not performing well in league tables.
He said France must remain attractive to the increasingly demanding international student market and could no longer depend on historical ties to bring in visitors from Africa: “It is by offering them excellence that we will win this battle.”
Wauquiez said international collaborations were on the increase among French research institutes. However, he added, diplomats must work to support institutions that wanted to organise scientific collaborations abroad but did not have the means to develop their own strategy.