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France news roundup: 10-16 December


This week: language AI chair, Horizon 2020 suggestions and tussle over 2021 budget

In depth: Hopes that universities in France will reopen next month, along with bars and restaurants, have been dealt a blow by the Council of State, the highest administrative court.

Full story: Highest court orders university doors to remain shut


Also this week from Research Professional News

Report slams lack of diversity among French students—Government told that more pathways to higher education could tackle wealth gap


Here is the rest of the French news this week…

Télécom Paris announces natural language AI chair

Engineering school Télécom Paris has launched the NoRDF Project chair, the holder of which will perform research into measuring the sentiments of online messages to help with the detection of fake news and the management of reputations. The project, part of France’s National Artificial Intelligence Research Programme, will be funded with support from the French National Research Agency and Defence Innovation Agency, and several private contributors. It will have a budget of €1.3 million over four years.

CNRS demands Horizon Europe boost for fundamental research

The National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) last week welcomed the European Parliament’s €4 billion funding top-up for the EU’s research framework programme, Horizon Europe, but called for the money to be spent on fundamental research. CNRS director general Antoine Petit said failure to increase the budget for basic science would see Europe “run the risk of no longer retaining or attracting the best researchers”. The Parliament voted for the budget boost on 10 November.

National Assembly debates 2021 budget

France’s budget for next year was returned to the National Assembly on 14 December, following amendments by the Senate on 8 December. On 9 December, a joint committee of both houses of parliament failed to reach agreement on a final version of the text. At €27.8bn, research and higher education are now earmarked to receive the third-highest share of the overall 2021 budget, following primary and secondary education, and defence. The budget is expected to be adopted by 18 December.