ExcelLR: a programme of excellence for a new university model
With its ExcelLR project, La Rochelle Université has won the “Excellence in all its forms” call for projects (APP), part of the 4th investment programme for the future launched by the French government. This call for projects aims to :
- recognise excellence in all its forms,
- support higher education and research institutions with an ambitious transformation project on the scale of their site in the implementation of their own strategy, based on their territorial dynamics and their specific needs
La Rochelle Université responded to this call for proposals in June 2021 in order to continue the process of transformation and specialisation that it has been undergoing for the past 5 years and which has enabled it to federate all of its laboratories, master’s and doctoral programmes within a new institute: the Smart Urban Coastal Sustainability Institute.
On 30 November 2021, La Rochelle Université was designated as the winner of the APP for the deployment of its ExcelLR project, which is based on 4 key lines :
Line 1: STRENGTHEN SPECIALISATION IN RESEARCH
In order to attract new talent, La Rochelle Université plans to create a European centre of excellence on smart sustainable urban coastlines with a budget of several million euros, which would operate through major programmes with professorships of excellence. The aim will be to attract excellent researchers and their teams to work on subjects defined in a revised governance, shared with the local and international socio-economic actors of EU-CONEXUS, through a strategic orientation committee.
This work benefited from a State grant managed by the “Agence Nationale de la Recherche” under the “Investissements d’avenir” programme with the reference ANR-21-EXES-0010
LINE 2: BOOST ATTRACTIVENESS BY DEVELOPING SPECIALISED COURSES
Thanks to previous PIA funding, the University has thoroughly transformed its undergraduate programme. But it still needs to reform its master’s and doctoral programmes. It will therefore concentrate its efforts on 2 key actions:
- on the one hand, the creation of a European doctoral school on smart urban coastal sustainability, integrated into the LUDI Institute, which will structure all the master’s and doctoral programmes on this subject
- on the other hand, the development of lifelong learning on these societal issues. The objective here is to propose an expertise produced by science for the future definition of public policies.
LINE 3: INCREASE THE SOCIETAL IMPACT AND ANCHOR THE UNIVERSITY IN ITS TERRITORY
The aim is to create a “Science & Society Comm’On Lab” in La Rochelle to support the development and monitoring of the institution’s projects, whether they be research programmes, educational explorations or student initiatives, in order to anchor them in a societal strategy.
It is a centre for the dissemination of scientific culture, designed in partnership with the Communauté d’Agglomération de la Rochelle, which will propose actions that will combine the arts and sciences, educational demonstrators, and scientific experiments that are visible in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region. These territories of scientific experimentation can be duplicated in the different territories of EU-CONEXUS.
LINE 4: DESIGNING NEW STEERING TOOLS AND INDICATORS TO MONITOR THE UNIVERSITY’S STRATEGY
The new university model requires a major shift from fixed national guidelines to a specific success framework that reflects the institution’s ambition and is supported by appropriate steering tools. The current evaluation protocols of the HCERES are indeed very much linked to the university environment and rather transversal. This is why, with ExcelLR, the University will develop new steering tools and indicators, in conjunction with the CNRS, IFREMER and IRD.