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Interview with Jacques Biot on the occasion of l'X joining EuroTech

Interview with Jacques Biot, President of École Polytechnique, on the occasion of l'X joining the EuroTech Universities Alliance.

What has driven École Polytechnique to join the EuroTech Universities Alliance and where do you see the best opportunities for success?

The EuroTech Universities Alliance member institutions share the same values as l’X and the same vision on higher education and research: they put emphasis on scientific excellence, student selectivity, willingness to recruit talented and high-level professors and researchers. They deliver training with a good balance in their connections with the scientific and the corporate world.

École Polytechnique’s mission today is to generate cutting edge knowledge for the benefit of society, and to disseminate it to students, entrepreneurs and industry at large. We believe in the importance of science and innovation as major drivers of societal well-being, and we are also very keen on the importance of the employability of our students. Building on our leading position in France, with a unique degree of interaction with CNRS, the National Research Agency, we have strengthened our plea for research as the major driver of our growth. Fostering academic cooperation, strengthening scientific and academic exchange opportunities and promoting international understanding, we should, in collaboration with the EuroTech Universities Alliance member institutions, four excellent global science and technology universities, evolve together to foster the emergence of the new era and face the societal challenges of today.

What can École Polytechnique bring to the Alliance and which focus area(s) or activities would you like to develop within the Alliance?

The EuroTech Universities Alliance member institutions are strongly involved in the development of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and each have a network of industrial partners.

In addition to teaching and research, the third pillar of our activity at École Polytechnique is entrepreneurship that becomes, more than ever, a preferred way to create value out of the skills and knowledge developed in our labs and in our classrooms. We created an ecosystem that enables us to really foster entrepreneurship and relationship between our scientists, our students and industry in the interest of society. Many students and scientists wish to play a faster and more direct role in transforming the world by creating their own start-ups. This is a trend universities should encourage, as we did at l’X by opening Drahi X-Novation Center, which offers an ecosystem with a blend of prototyping space, early start-up acceleration, incubation, financing and open-innovation from large multinationals.

The EuroTech Universities Alliance’s entrepreneurial and corporate networks are largely complementary and cover a significant part of Europe. Being the first French institution to join the Alliance, we wish to contribute to this project as its benefit in terms of change is dual, with the direct contribution of successful start-uppers, but also with the generalization of an audacious state of mind in the entire student population – a positive impact even for those who will work in government, in academia or in large corporations.

President Macron proposed a vison for European University Networks; where do you see the future for 5 excellent universities of science and technology?

President Macron was the originator of the concept of the European university and we are extremely proud to be one of the first French institutions to follow him in this project. We live in a difficult time when multilateralism is threatened by a number of leaders in the world and today, more than ever, Europe must be supported in all fields and should speak with one voice. Europe can only be strong if politicians, corporations and populations at large communicate and work together. Multilateralism should be protected and fostered in all fields and universities should play their important role in this mission. Teaching, research and entrepreneurial initiatives of our universities should evolve to enhance, more than ever, cross-disciplinary work and thus provide opportunities to complement traditional department-based structures with multidisciplinary approaches focused on well-identified societal challenges and thus bring Europe much closer together.

Read more about the partnership of l'X with the EuroTech Universities Alliance and watch the video interview with Jacques Biot: