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N°32 I quarterly I january 2014 CNRS Networks | Horizons 33 w CNRS and foreign researchers. Since 2006, the number of UMIs in the US has risen from 2 to 6. Each UMI focuses on a specific research field. Some house unique projects, such as the iGlobes UMI, located at the University of Arizona, in Tucson. Currently led by Franck Poupeau, iGlobes is dedicated to studying adaptation to climate change. One of its key projects, the Incolab-funded SWAN1 is aimed at establishing long-term water resource management strategies. Recently renewed after a successful first four years, the France-based Georgia Tech-CNRS UMI near Metz, with a mirror site in Atlanta, is focused on telecommunications, innovative materials, situated cognition, and robotics. Headed by CNRS senior researcher Guy Bertrand (see box), the Joint Research Chemistry Laboratory, at the University of California in San Diego, is at the forefront of molecular science. The other three CNRS UMIs sit on the East Coast. The Center for International Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences (CIRHUS) at New York University specializes, among other things, in social science history, the representation of material culture and society, and the politics and challenges linked to international humanitarian aid. At MIT (Cambridge, Massachusetts), the Multi-Scale Materials Science for Energy and Environment (MSE) UMI was established in 2013. Led by CNRS senior researcher Roland Pellenq, this UMI studies the properties of complex multi-scale materials with important technological, economic, energy, and environmental applications, such as cement, nuclear fuels, and geo-materials. Finally, the Complex Assembly of Soft Matter (COMPASS) UMI was launched in 2010 with chemical producer Rhodia and the University of Pennsylvania, as a continuation of the Complex Fluid Lab, located in Cranbury, near Princeton (New Jersey), which successfully associated the CNRS and Rhodia for more than a decade. This UMI explores and develops soft materials with novel functional attributes but also novel printable electronic solutions for energy transfer and storage. Along with the six UMIs, dozens of other structured collaborations exist in the form of international associated laboratories, international research networks, and international programs for scientific cooperation. “Thanks to the structural tools made available by the CNRS, France has gradually created a favorable environment for collaborative research, as well as acquired important visibility and recognition in the US,” explains Morise. French research is thus also represented in all major fields, with biomedical, physical, and chemical research spearheading the collaboration. “I am pleased to see the intensity and level of cooperation we have achieved with so many American universities and laboratories,” says Morise. “One of the CNRS’s objectives is to strengthen and further develop existing ties, both locally and regionally, and to foster the emergence of new partnerships,” he concludes. 01. Sustainable Water Action: Building Research Links between EU and US. 01 Loading a semiconductor wafer in the growth chamber of a vapor phase epitaxy reactor at Georgia Tech. 02 The shelters of the Castel-Merle site (eastern France) mark prehistoric settlements studied by the CIRHUS UMI. 03 The campus of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). Contact information: CNRS office, Washington. Xavier Morise > cnrs-office@ambascience-usa.org A Sucessful Collaboration Last year’s official inauguration of the international joint unit (UMI) headed by Guy Bertrand at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), was yet another milestone in the French researcher’s illustrious career. The UCSD-CNRS Joint Research Chemistry Laboratory, created under a four-year agreement, focuses on developing new organic catalysts, such as carbene, to replace the expensive and toxic metal catalysts currently used by industry. Bertrand, a CNRS senior researcher, has notably managed to synthesize carbene compounds thought to exist only in outer space due to their instability. For his achievements, Bertrand was awarded the Légion d’honneur, which CNRS President Alain Fuchs delivered last year during a visit to the US in early September. “It is a well-deserved distinction,” says Xavier Morise, director of the CNRS Office for the US, Canada, and Mexico. “Bertrand is a prominent and creative researcher who has continuously acted as an ambassador of the CNRS, and more generally, of French scientific research as a whole.” 04 CNRS President Alain Fuchs presenting Guy Bertrand with the accolade for his achievements. 02 03 04 © S. Spi tzer - office of uni versi ty communica tions © R. Bourrill on, pr ojet Cas tane t-Blanchard © E. Jepsen / UCSD


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