Laura Villette took up her position on 2nd September 2019. She succeeds Sylvain Ferrari, who had completed his 5-year term in the role. Based in Shanghai, Laura Villette will work across China to promote and develop projects organised in conjunction with the ParisTech schools.
Tell us a little about your background...
After graduating from Sciences-Po in Paris, I moved to China for a year to study Mandarin at the Beijing Foreign Studies University. I then started up several projects in the food industry, working with Chinese partners in Inner Mongolia, after which I settled in Beijing. Following a brief spell at Leroy Merlin, I worked for just over four years as Chinese Office Manager at the Beijing branch of Prevor, a French company specialising in chemical safety.
It was after that that I moved into the world of training and teaching, having been appointed Vice Director of CFFCME (Franco-Chinese training centre for the energy sector) at the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, which has three partners in France (Académie de Créteil, Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, Lycée Maximilien Perret d’Alfortville). I’m very happy that my new role at ParisTech allows me to remain in this sector.
What does your role involve?
My main objective is to develop and maintain partnerships between ParisTech and other universities and institutions – attractive partnerships which reflect both the ambitions of our Chinese counterparts and the standards of excellence which are characteristic of French schools. I also want to reinforce links not only with French companies operating in China, but also with Chinese companies in order to address their specific training requirements.
Another aspect of my role will involve consolidating the ParisTech network in China and raising its profile within local networks (trade associations, networks of Chinese graduates returning from overseas, etc.) Last but not least, I will be supporting the Franco-Chinese institutes (SPEIT, BUCT-Paris Curie Engineering School, ICARE) which act as “laboratories” for joint Franco-Chinese projects, and assisting the ParisTech schools in their bilateral relations with their Chinese partners.
How will you accomplish all of this?
The position is based in Shanghai, which is where ParisTech has its China office, and I will be working with a Chinese colleague, Yuanyuan Shen, who will help with the communications side of things, and also with organising joint recruitment actions.
How would you say ParisTech supports its schools as regards their international strategy?
As a group, the schools are more visible. Sharing resources (human, financial, etc.) means that we can undertake projects on a larger scale and work more efficiently.
Chinese students who come to study in France do of course choose one particular school, but combining our communication efforts allows us to target recruitment more effectively in order to find exactly the right students for each school.
How is ParisTech perceived in China?
The Chinese students that I’ve talked to are really pleased to have the opportunity to study in France and learn our language. The Grandes Écoles system and our engineering programmes are very different to the courses available in China.
I’m especially interested in how the ParisTech schools are perceived in China not just by Chinese students, but also by our partners and local companies. We will be refining the brand recognition survey launched by ParisTech to address the Chinese audience more directly. The results are due to be published by the end of the year.
We have revised and redesigned the ParisTech portal for international students to better match the recruitment requirements of our schools. The portal focuses on our joint recruitment campaigns in the ParisTech target regions (Argentina, Brazil, China, Columbia and Russia) and it also presents all of the master’s courses run by the ParisTech schools.
Visit our new site: StudyWithUs!
The latest Shanghai Ranking, published on 15th August, has once again confirmed that the ParisTech schools are thriving. Three schools – AgroParisTech, ESPCI Paris and MINES ParisTech – were ranked within the top 1,000 institutions worldwide, and the other schools were all recognised in specific subject fields.
The ParisTech schools have proven their ability to compete with the top world universities. All of the schools appear in the subject-specific rankings, and three are listed in the overall ranking – AgroParisTech (701-800 category), a member of the Université Paris-Saclay, and ESPCI Paris (301-400) and MINES ParisTech (401-500), both members of Paris Sciences & Lettres (PSL).
AgroParisTech received its highest rating in the Agricultural Sciences subject ranking, coming 17th compared to 19th the year before, and is also listed for Earth Sciences, Ecology, Atmospheric Science, Chemical Engineering, Environmental Science & Engineering, Food Science & Technology, Biotechnology, Remote Sensing, Biological Sciences, Human Biological Sciences and Veterinary Sciences. ESPCI Paris moved up from 50th to 43rd place in physics and is also listed for Chemistry and – for the first time – Medical Technology. MINES ParisTech was recognised for Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering and Metallurgical Engineering.
The other schools also stand out in their specialist fields. The Ecole des Ponts ParisTech (Université Paris-Est) is listed for Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering, Earth Sciences and Atmospheric Science. Arts & Métiers (HESAM) is ranked for Mechanical Engineering. As well as appearing in the Chemistry ranking, Chimie ParisTech (PSL) is also listed for Materials Science & Engineering and Nanoscience & Nanotechnology. Télécom Paris (Institut Polytechnique de Paris) is recognised for Electrical & Electronic Engineering, Telecommunication Engineering and Computer Science & Engineering.
Finally, as well as ENSAE Paris (Institut Polytechnique de Paris), which specialises in the field and was listed for the first time, the Economics subject ranking includes no less than three of the ParisTech schools: AgroParisTech, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech and MINES ParisTech. This confirms that the engineering schools take a keen interest in both the economic challenges relating to engineering and the economic context in which their engineering graduates will ultimately work.
Thanks to their commitment to providing their students with the best possible education and to developing top-class research projects in their laboratories, the ParisTech schools are recognised as being among the best institutions worldwide and can thus attract the best students. By being listed in international league tables such as the Shanghai Ranking, the schools help to showcase France as a centre of excellence for engineering education and research with strong links with industry. The schools will also soon contribute to the ranking of the groups to which they belong (Paris-Sciences Lettres, Université Paris-Saclay, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, etc.) when the latter enter the Shanghai Ranking. The ParisTech schools are therefore playing a key part in boosting the attractiveness of French universities on the international stage.
Laura Villette took up her position on 2nd September 2019. She succeeds Sylvain Ferrari, who had completed his 5-year term in the role. Based in Shanghai, Laura Villette will work across China to promote and develop projects organised in conjunction with the ParisTech graduate engineering schools. She will also support the ParisTech schools in their bilateral relations with their Chinese partners.
Her main objectives are to:
- Develop attractive partnerships with universities and institutions which reflect both China’s ambitions and the standards of excellence which are characteristic of French schools
- Consolidate the network and raise the profile of ParisTech within local networks (trade associations, networks of Chinese graduates returning from overseas, etc.)
- Support the Franco-Chinese institutes (SPEIT, BUCT-Paris Curie Engineering School, ICARE) which showcase French expertise and act as “laboratories” for joint Franco-Chinese projects
- Reinforce partnerships with French companies operating in China and also with Chinese companies in order to fulfil China’s specific training requirements.
Laura Villette has been working in China for more than ten years. She graduated from Sciences-Po Paris with a Master in Cultural Management, specialising in cinema and audiovisual media, and since 2007 has held various positions in China. In particular, she was Chinese Office Manager at the Beijing branch of Prevor, a French company specialising in chemical safety, and Vice Director of CFFCME (Franco-Chinese training centre for the energy sector) at the Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, which has three partners in France (Académie de Créteil, University Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée, Lycée Maximilien Perret d’Alfortville).
The ParisTech graduate schools have been active in China for 20 years via partnerships with academic institutions, companies and other organisations, joint annual recruitment campaigns, three Franco-Chinese institutes (in Wuhan, Shanghai and Beijing) and special programmes for doctoral students.
The Project IDEAL (European soft skills for PhD: enhancing transversal skills through innovative doctoral courses) carried out within the ATHENS Network, has been funded by the Erasmus+ Strategic Partnerships programme.
IDEAL consists in designing and providing high-level doctoral training to address the challenges faced by European researchers today: being better prepared to face the growing complexity of their jobs and increasing the economic and societal impact of their work; questioning the relevance of their research activities, while renewing the attractiveness of Doctoral Education for new generations of talents.
The project will firstly create an active database of existing doctoral courses oriented towards soft skills, innovation and employability in order to foster exchanges among partners, and to disseminate best practices. It will secondly consist in designing a new methodology and new contents.
The project will produce a MOOC of the course in a blended learning setting. Part of the courses will also be delivered in a place where Doctoral candidates will actually meet.
The IDEAL project is carried out within the European network ATHENS, whose purpose is to facilitate student, professor and researcher exchanges between major European universities of science & technology, and to take part in European programmes for training and technological development. IDEAL is a pilot project undertaken by some of the ATHENS partners willing to broaden the scope of their collaboration and address together doctoral training challenges.
Project coordinator : Mines ParisTech
The consortium iof ten partners inculdes the following institutions : six French ParisTech Engineering Schools (AgroParisTech, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, Chimie ParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech, Mines ParisTech and TélécomParisTech) and four European Universities of Science and Technology (UPM - Spain, POLIMI Italy, University of Lisbon/IST – Portugal and ITU – Turkey.
Budget : 358 627,00 €
Starting date : October 2019
Duration : 36 months
ParisTech is a winner of the call “Support for development of French Higher Education in Africa (ADESFA)” French-African Cooperation for Engineering in Africa the results of which were made public in April by the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (17 projects selected out of 197 submitted).
ParisTech will develop partnership with, on the one hand, the University of Nairobi in Kenya, which plans to build an engineering complex and on the other with the University of Mines and Technology (UMaT) in Tarkwa and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi in Ghana. The first missions shall take place in the Summer of 2019.
ParisTech has long-standing partnerships with universities in emerging countries (China, Brazil, Colombia, Russia, and more recently Argentina). Each year, in Spring, ParisTech’s schools promote the engineering degree to the students of the partner universities in order to recruit them in the second year.
ParisTech’s graduate engineering schools promote each year engineering training in the partner countries. They use this oportunity to present ParisTech, the French engineering training in the schools of ParisTech and the schools themselves. Each tour is an occasion to meet partner universities, to discuss with faculty deans and to present ParisTech’s schools and the recruitment programme to interested students.
The objective beyond the promotion is to discuss with target departments in each partner university which could bilaterally with one or more ParisTech schools implement double degree program for the Engineering cycle, collaboration at doctoral level etc. What’s new for China this year is that the schools visit non-partner universities in Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Xi'an and Harbin.
The representatives of ParisTech’s schools also meet alumni who are living in the visited countries and even promote the schools in the French high schools.
In 2019, ParisTech’s schools will first visit China and Colommbia, and then Russia, Brazil and Argentina:
Monday 8 April p.m.: Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou
Tuesday 9 April: Southern University of Science and Technology, Shenzhen
Wednesday 10 April a.m.:
- Fudan University, Shanghai
- Tongji University, Shanghai
Thursday 11 April a.m.: Zhejiang University, Hangzhou
Friday 12 April: Tsinghua University, Pékin
Monday 15 April: Xi’an Jiao Tong University, Xi’an
Tuesday 16 April: Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin
Monday 8 April p.m : PUC Javeriana, Cali
Tuesday 9 April a.m. : Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Medellin
Wednesday 10 April a.m. : Universidad EIA, Medellin
Thursday 11 April a.m. : Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Bogota
Thursday 11 April p.m. : PUC Javeriana, Bogota
Monday 22 April p.m.: Tomsk State University (TSU), Tomsk
Tuesday 23 p.m. and Wednesday 24 April p.m.: Novossibirsk State University (NSU), Novossibirsk
Thursday 25 April : ITMO, Saint-Petersburg
Friday 26 April : Saint-Petersbourg Peter the Great University, Saint-Petersburg
Monday 13 May a.m.: Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
Tuesday 14 May:
- Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte
- Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ), University of São Paulo, Piracicaba
Wednesday 15 May a.m.: University of São Paulo (USP), São Carlos campus
Wednesday 15 May p.m.: Federal University of São Carlos (UFSCar)
Thursday 16 May: State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Campinas
Friday 17 May: University of São Paulo, São Paulo campus
Monday 20 May: Universidad Nacional de Litoral, Santa Fe
Tuesday 21 May: Université de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires
Wednesday 22 May: Universidad Nacional de Cordoba
Thursday 23 May: Instituto Técnologico de Buenos Aires (ITBA)
Technology universities – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain), Budapesti Műszaki és Gazdaságtudományi Egyetem (Hungary), Universitatea Politehnica din București (Romania), İstanbul Teknik Üniversitesi (Turkey), Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (Germany) - and four French engineering schools belonging to ParisTech – Chimie ParisTech, École des Ponts ParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech, Mines ParisTech – join their forces to create the European Engineering Learning Innovation and Science Alliance (EELISA). They signed the future mission statement of their Erasmus+ proposal for a European University on 29th January in Madrid.
After more than twenty years relationships within the ATHENS network, EELISA partners are willing to show the way to bring 170,000 students and their staff closer together toward a European Engineering Degree and to disseminate their experience in education linked to industry and research, tackling societal challenges. ENAEE (European Network for Accreditation of Engineering Education) brings as associate partners its unique experience in European cooperation in the sector.
Welcomed by Pedro Duque, Spanish Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, rectors and directors of the EELISA partners met in Madrid on 28th and 29th January to create the European Engineering Learning Innovation and Science Alliance, called EELISA. They discussed and signed the document describing their long-term strategy.
EELISA will contribute to solve societal challenges empowering students’ citizenship participation and employability raising, aligning the universities strategy with the Sustainable Development Goals. EELISA will be a consolidator for European Union values progress in general and a major demonstrator for higher education institutions in all sectors within the European Higher Education Area and beyond.
The importance of EELISA also lies in its commitment to gender balance as a prominent cause for the entire Europe, but also specifically in STEM careers. Engineering vocations have started to decrease in Europe before women had equal opportunities to access those careers when they had more social and wage compensation. That is a situation that this alliance is determined to change and to improve.
EELISA will encourage and support mobility for students in engineering, academic and administrative staff and enhance linkages between education and society through industry. Students employability will be enhanced, particularly as well as inclusiveness and gender equality. First focussing on the master level, the partners will develop their cooperation also at bachelor and PhD level.
EELISA partners are eager to deepen their cooperation within the European Higher Education Area and the European Research Area.
1921 students from 15 European excellent universities of science and technology and from 9 ParisTech’s engineering schools participate in ATHENS network’s exchange program between November 17 and November 25.
Bucharest, Budapest, Delft, Istanbul, Lisboa, Leuven, Louvain, Madrid, Milano, Munich, Paris, Prague, Warsaw, Vienna. ATHENS’s students (Advanced Technology Higher Education Network) have a big choice to experiment mobility in another European country.
Indeed ATHENS’ members propose to their students since twenty years (20th birthday was celebrated in Paris in December 2017), twice a year, in March and in November, to follow one week courses in another partner institution. It is often the first mobility experience for these students.
From November 17, 1921 students – 1161 from ParisTech’s engineering schools and 760 from other institutions – will take one of the courses proposed by twenty European institutions, including seven ParisTech’s members (Agro ParisTech, Arts et Métiers ParisTech, Chimie ParisTech, Ecole des Ponts ParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech, Mines ParisTech, Télécom ParisTech). This seven schools propose more than 50% of the courses for this session. Paris welcoms 269 European students whereas 324 ParisTech students move to another European partner and 837 use this opportunity to take courses in another school of the Parisian network.
Courses cover various fields like physics, materials, data, deep learning, acoustics, building, sustainable cities, satellites, depollution, energy, transport, industrial engineering, ICT for environment or health, biomechanics, finance, agriculture policy, citizen science – plenty of opportunities for these future engineers to address societal challenges. ParisTech chair « Urban Mining » (Arts & Métiers ParisTech, Chimie ParisTech, Mines ParisTech) proposes also one week lessons on recycling of electric and electronic waste. Each lesson is validated by the original institution regarding the results in the exam organised by the host institution. Each session is 2-3 ECTS worthy. Students also benefit from a cultural program in the host city: visitors in Paris wil enjoy bateaux mouches, museum of architecture, city visits (Marais, Montmartre, Cité…) .
For the first time this year, a professor of Delft Technical University will teach in Mines ParisTech. The mission is funded by an Erasmus+ scholarship. The ATHENS network wants to test in this way the funding synergy that the European Commission wishes to encourage, particularly within the call for proposal European Universities.
Colombia is a priority for ParisTech in international partnerships. ParisTech signed especially a framework arrangement with the Universidad Nacional de Colombia (UNAL) - Bogota, Medellin, Manizales and Palmira -, in 2014, and a new framework arrangement (double degree) withthe Pontificia Universidad Catolica Javeriana that is located in Bogota and Cali in the beginning of this year. ParisTech is also discussing with the Universidad de los Andes in Bogota.
France is the third host country (after the USA and Spain) for Colombian students (around 3000 a year). Since 2013, 9 engineering schools of ParisTech organise a coordinated recruitment of students, based on the different double degree agreements they signed in Colombia. Each year ParisTech recruits in this way about 40 students. Further Arts et Métiers ParisTech also recruits 30 students for a double degree.
ParisTech participate to the Week of French engineering in Colombia that takes place from 17 til 21 September in Bogota and Cartagena.
Elisabeth Crépon, ParisTech vice-president, will give a talk three times. She will present Paristech during the student fair in Bogota. In Cartagena, she will inaugurate the International meeting for education in engineering (EIEI ACOFI 2018) « Management, quality and development in engineering departments » together with Mr. Gautier Mignot, ambassador of France in Colombia, Marc Renner, Cdéfi president, and Carlos Arturo Lozano Moncada, ACOFI president. She will also take part in a round table about the « development challenges engineering schools have to address ».