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Opportunities for partnership with UNICAEN, in France

Just as the snow was arriving in France at the end of January, so an intrepid group of University staff travelled overnight on the ferry for two very productive days of conversations with colleagues at the University of Caen that took place on their beautiful, green city-centre campus to support the development of our relationship.

The University of Portsmouth and UNICAEN have been partners since 1989, following the introduction of the cross-Channel ferry link between Caen and Portsmouth. Since then, our ‘trans-Manche’ partnership has developed to include student mobility through the Erasmus+ scheme, and research partnerships and as a result of this visit, we have now identified a number of opportunities for closer and deeper collaboration. These opportunities include mobility for students and staff, the development of course content which students in both universities can study, and exploring joint research projects and funding bids.

We face a number of challenges, not least because of the uncertainties associated with Brexit; but we are committed to ensuring that our partnership with UNICAEN is strong, resilient, and beneficial to the students and staff in both institutions. You may not know that UNICAEN is one of the oldest universities in Europe, founded by King Henry VI in 1432!

Our welcome in Caen – both from the University and the City – was so warm, and the hospitality so generous and we look forward to welcoming UNICAEN colleagues back to Portsmouth in support of our shared collaboration project. We are in the process of finalizing a new Memoranda of Understanding to reaffirm our commitment and provide a framework for the partnership over the next five years. We are also entering into a University-wide staff and student mobility agreement, so have a great shared future ahead of us.

We would encourage all colleagues to get involved, if you’d like to find out more, please contact Bryony Whitmarsh or Matthew Weait. Specifically, if you’re interested in progressing an idea for research collaboration with UNICAEN, please contact Professor Adrian Hopgood.

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