Being an international university

The University is internationally recognised for the excellence of its training and research laboratories


By Direction de la communication

Cross-border cooperation, partnerships with prestigious foreign universities, international chairs, masters courses in English... Small in size, the University of Pau and the Pays de l'Adour is gradually becoming a major university recognised beyond its borders for the excellence of its courses and research laboratories.

Some signs are not deceiving. Last year, within the framework of the ''Erasmus +'' programme, more than 250 students and 40 staff from the University of Pau and the Pays de l'Adour (UPPA) left to study or teach in a European Union country. At the same time, 102 European students decided to continue their studies at UPPA. Erasmus +'' is only the tip of the iceberg.

Due to its strategic geographical position, UPPA has already maintained privileged relations with the University of Zaragoza (Aragon), the University of the Basque Country (Euskadi) and the Public University of Navarre for many years, both in the field of teaching and research. Cross-border double degrees and joint thesis supervision have long been commonplace. What is new is that UPPA now has a much wider reach.

Partnerships in Europe

On 6 November 2020, the university reached a new milestone with the award of the "European Universities" label, one of the Union's flagship initiatives aimed at building a European education and research area. To achieve this major step forward, UPPA has joined forces with five other universities - in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Romania - in an alliance called UNITA. Focusing on cultural heritage, renewable energies and the circular economy, UNITA will give rise to an inter-university campus in the future, allowing students to live in a multilingual environment and to build flexible curricula within the six universities.

« Our desire to intensify our links abroad, to strengthen our partnerships by relying on our areas of excellence to gain visibility has enabled us in recent years to considerably strengthen our international attractiveness», says Mohamed Amara, President of UPPA. The opening of fifteen international masters courses since 2018, taught exclusively in English, bears witness to this ambition to welcome the best talent, wherever they come from. And the figures speak for themselves: the university now has 15% of foreign students from five continents, three-quarters of whom come from outside Europe.

Partnerships around the world

The UPPA's international relations department spares no effort to establish new collaborations around the world, particularly in the fields of energy and the environment. Partnerships and cooperation agreements are regularly signed with prestigious universities. They promote the mobility of students and teacher-researchers and open the door to ambitious research projects. The UPPA focuses more specifically on five target universities: the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), the University of Seville (Spain), Sichuan University (China), Northwestern University (United States) and the University of California at Berkeley (United States).

« These are priority establishments with which UPPA researchers already maintain relations,» explains Charlotte Tavernier, international relations project manager. « The aim is to build on existing links to strengthen or develop new partnerships, in the interests of both students and researchers. »

From Berkeley to Queensland

With Berkeley, the creation of the international associated laboratory ''MacLife'' is the result, for example, of the ties forged between INRAe biologist Matthieu Buoro of the Saint-Pée-sur-Nivelle Aquapôle and the American Stephanie Carlson, who welcomed him in 2012 as a post-doc in her team at the University of California. Aimed at better understanding the adaptation capacities of aquatic ecosystems in the face of extreme climatic events, in partnership with the University of the Basque Country (UPV), this laboratory reflects the quality of the relations maintained by UPPA researchers with leading scientists, but also the growing attractiveness of the small French university.

Of the twenty-six high-level expertise chairs at UPPA, six are international chairs held by well-known scientists. Kerrie Mengersen, a researcher in applied statistics at Queensland University of Technology and a leading specialist in modelling, calculations and applications in the field of Bayesian statistics, is one of the eminent professors who have chosen to join UPPA. Her recruitment in January 2019 as head of the "Mathematics and Statistics" chair, attached to the Pau laboratory of mathematics and its applications, is emblematic of the remarkable rise of UPPA within the international scientific community.