UCAJEDI Project

UCAJEDI Project

The IDEX UCAJEDI candidature is coordinated by the Université Côte d’Azur (UCA), a Community of Universities and Establishments (ComUE), comprising: 

  • The Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS), research-intensive, present in all international rankings;
  • Two National Research bodies: CNRS and Inria, multidisciplinary and emblematic in digital sciences, respectively;
  • The Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur (OCA), one of the three French SPU establishments, with a strong commitment to international projects;
  • The Centre Hospitalier Universitaire (CHU) of Nice, a leading national center for simulation and innovation in hematology, biological resources and therapies;
  • EDHEC and SKEMA, two Business Schools present in all international rankings;
  • A consortium, into a college, of six Art Schools, active on the international scene: 

Centre National de Création Musicale, Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Art Villa Arson, Ecole Supérieure de Réalisation Audiovisuelle (ESRA), The Sustainable Design School (SDS), Ecole Supérieure de Danse de Cannes Rosella Hightower, Conservatoire National à Rayonnement Régional de Nice (CNRR)

In addition to the 13 members of the UCA, the candidature also includes as partners, by agreement, INSERM, INRA, IRD, the MINES ParisTech (for its site at Sophia Antipolis) and EURECOM. The scope of UCAJEDI thus brings together all the public and private entities of higher learning and research, well-known and visible on the international scene, that are present on the Côte d’Azur.

The UCAJEDI strategy rests on three pillars: (i) an ambitious and disruptive scientific vision; (ii) an uninhibited relationship with local authorities and companies, dedicated to the economic dynamics of the territory; (iii) a simple, efficient governance, able to make quick decisions.

This strategy aims to give rise to a world class research-intensive University.

In a world undergoing profound and rapid change, the challenge of evolving knowledge and its impact is at the heart of the ambition of UCAJEDI. The history of modern science has shown that seminal questions are generated by the cross-fertilization of interdisciplinary knowledge. Scientific innovation, as well as technological and organizational rupture, are the result of the combined action of several approaches to a given subject. The UCAJEDI thus promotes a deliberately transdisciplinary approach, driven by the excellence of the fundamental research carried out on site. Through this approach, our project is aimed at entirely renewing the dynamics of the relationship between research, training and innovation. Thanks to its transformative effect, by creating a common identity, beneficial for all, resulting in a unified communication approach and unique signature, this initiative of excellence will turn the UCA into a high profile research university present on the world stage, typified by its development model and its transdisciplinary research.

Prior to any sort of consortium, the UNS is the premier French university and is ranked 38th in the world in Life Sciences, in the Leiden CWTS ranking (top 10% citation indicator). The quality of our research is also
attested to in Sciences of the Planet and the Universe, in partnership with the OCA (2nd French University – 34th in the world); in Health Sciences, in partnership with the CHU (3rd French university – 47th in the world); in Mathematics (150th in the Shanghai ranking); and in Digital Sciences (premier European technopark). These results place us among the top 500 universities in the Shanghai general ranking (around 400). The
involvement in the project of the five largest French research organizations: CNRS (premier research body in the world), Inria, INSERM, INRA, and IRD, all bear witness to the scientific potential of this candidature, and provide a guarantee of excellence in the consortium. The presence of two Business Schools, present in world rankings, brings to the project, in addition to their research and training activities, a culture of quality assurance. The participation of the Art Schools College, comprising world-class establishments, is a guarantee of the originality of our vision, and will boost the creativity of our approach. In all, each of the players brings a unique contribution with high added value and a new dimension. The concentration of major players and the intrinsic attractiveness of the territory have made it possible to attract and to retain internationally renowned research personalities
(2 gold medals, 20 silver medals and 41 bronze medals from the CNRS; 12 members of the Academy of Sciences; 19 ERC’s; 19 members of the IUF in 2015; ranking second after Paris in the Academy of Sciences Prizes in 2013 and 2014) and a large number of well-known figures from the artistic world.

UCAJEDI will be organized around five Academies of Excellence (PERIDEX : 46% of permanent researchers in A+/A laboratories) – initiating a trans-disciplinary approach – and three Reference Centers, hosting very high-level technological platforms, in public-private partnership. At the heart of this set up, modeling, simulation and Interactions will be the common denominator among advanced research projects, and will be implanted on a dedicated site: the Center of Modeling, Simulation and Interactions (MSI). Based on a model of a Graduate School, UCAJEDI will comprise an initial (particularly at the Master’s and Doctoral levels) and ongoing training offer, linked to fundamental and applied research, steered by the Academies, launched in the Centers and at the MSI.

By means of calls for projects, the leading researchers in the UCA will have access to UCAJEDI funding for purposes of developing research and training programs.
After an across-the-board consultation (a bottom-up process from the A+ and A laboratories), the scientific domains within the 5 Academies of Excellence that were selected are:

  • Networks, information and digital society;
  • Complex systems;
  • Space, environment, risk and resilience;
  • Complexity and diversity of living systems;
  • Human societies, ideas and environments.

Through the study of these topics, and thanks to a core of disciplinary excellence, these academies will generate the trans-disciplinary approach that is still lacking in French universities.
UCAJEDI will also provide an effective connection and interactivity between fundamental research and innovation, by means of its three Reference Centers, set up in order to respond to three major societal challenges, targeted in a top-down approach, in close relationship with the territory and its local authorities:

  • Health, well-being and aging;
  • The intelligent territory; prevention and management of risk;
  • The digital challenge.

The Reference Centers will be given collaborative technological platforms where researchers, students and companies can interact in order to invent the future.

Resolutely turned towards international openness, making use of the best skills and teaching approaches of its partners, UCAJEDI will have as its goal the launching of training courses of excellence within the Graduate School. Using a selective, à la carte approach, with majors and minors, the goal will be to nourish academic research and territorial development. The offer will be rounded out by Summer Schools and internationally renowned Master Classes (International Grand Prizewinners, Academicians, ERC’s etc). A Virtual Center of Pedagogical Innovation (VCPI) will bring together skills, instruments and available databases, accessible via a dedicated platform, to enrich training for students and/or working professionals, and in order to accompany innovative entrepreneurs.

In order to place UCA among the top 50 European universities from a commercialization standpoint, our ambition is to become a major start-up player, by investing more specifically in the acceleration of early-stage companies through the development of fundraising.
The territory’s technological structuring will be driven by the development of a world-class innovation campus focused around the UCAJEDI Centers.
To ensure an international reach for all of its encompassed areas, UCAJEDI will set up international networks structured in three dimensions: international excellence, French speaking world, and emerging countries.

Our human resources policy is based on an incentives-based system, with the purpose of boosting attractiveness, developing public-private co-funding, and rewarding personal commitment. The launch of new
professorships and the implementation of career accelerators will provide stability for the best recruits. UCAJEDI Prizes awarded by the Strategic Committees will encourage the development of the transdisciplinary approach.

Made up of 30 members, the Executive Board of the UCA has elected its President, who will also preside over UCAJEDI. UCAJEDI governance will be carried out by its President and his or her Cabinet composed of four Program Directors. The UCAJEDI President and his or her Cabinet will be advised by two independent international Committees: the Scientific Strategic Committee and the Industrial Territorial Strategic Committee, which will contribute to the guidance of the IDEX. "Premium" services, under the authority of the Program Directors, will have as their sole brief the accompaniment of UCAJEDI -selected projects. Comprising dedicated personnel provided by UCA members, they will be structured in "Project mode" to avoid compartmentalization into core competences. The President, his or her cabinet, and the committees will ensure that exclusive use is made of Initiative funds and partner contributions for UCAJEDI actions. The Executive Board of UCA exercises a posteriori control, to encourage initiative and reactivity and ensure the transforming effect of the Initiative.

In ten years, the scientific activity carried out thanks to UCAJEDI will have led to the emergence of a transdisciplinary University and of Academies with a worldwide reputation, capable of attracting young talent, as well as world-class reference centers responding through technological innovation and usage to the major challenges facing society, as set out in the UCAJEDI roadmap. The dynamic initiated by UCAJEDI and the innovative character of its distinctive collaborative practices will create self-organizing conditions for excellence; it will drive the emergence of future science, training and innovation.

UCA is the bearer of our ambitions for the university of tomorrow;
UCAJEDI will enable us to give shape to those ambitions.