Newswise — The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) and the Université d’Évry-Val-d’Essonne (UEVE), a member institution of the Université Paris-Saclay, signed a Memorandum of Understanding earlier this summer to codify their commitment to developing mutually beneficial academic programs for both institutions. Serving as the respective representatives for the five-year agreement are Dr. David Berkowitz, Dean of UAH’s Graduate School and International Services, Dr. Jerome Baudry, Pei-Ling Chan Eminent Scholar at UAH, Dr. Nazim Agoulmine, UEVE’s Vice President for International Relations, and Dr. Patrick Curmi, President of UEVE.

"Signing an agreement with UEVE creates a very exciting opportunity for UAH," says Dr. David Berkowitz. "As we develop this relationship, we expect that there will be opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff to engage with one of the leading universities in France. I am truly delighted to begin this partnership, and I look forward to seeing it expand in the future."

The MOU provides a blueprint for the following cooperative endeavors:

  • An exchange of faculty members, graduate and undergraduate students, and other personnel for study, research, and internships
  • An exchange of scholars to participate in lectures, tutorials, seminars, conferences, colloquia, and symposia
  • A collaborative approach research activities, publications, and technical training
  • Advance notice of the other institution’s scientific and educational events, such conferences and seminars

While in Paris to sign the MOU, Dr. Berkowitz and Dr. Baudry visited two UEVE labs – the Analysis and Modeling Laboratory for Biology and the Environment and the Laboratory Structure and Activity of Normal and Pathological Biomolecules – and met with researchers at Genopole. A biotechnology campus similar to Huntsville’s HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology, Genopole is the first biocluster in France and a one of Europe’s major biotech research centers.

"This MOU is very important for all parties," says Dr. Baudry, a native of France who earned his Ph.D. in molecular biophysics from the University of Paris. "UAH and UEVE are like twin universities – similar both in size and in their strategic development of biotechnology and aerospace sciences." And like UAH, he points out, UEVE belongs to a larger university system that can leverage the universities’ cooperative endeavors. "It also corresponds nicely to our collaborative work with UAH’s unique graduate program in biotechnology, HudsonAlpha, and Cummings Research Park here in Huntsville," he says. "With this partnership, there is a now a possibility of creating an academic and industrial powerhouse anchored in both the EU and Alabama."

While the MOU itself does not create any legal relationship or financial obligation between the two institutions, it is designed to facilitate and develop a genuine and mutually beneficial process for collaboration. The first student exchange under the MOU is planned for next summer.