The University of Strasbourg is not afraid of the private sector

The University of Strasbourg is not afraid of the private sector

Lab life. The University of Strasbourg and the University Hospitals of Strasbourg have just completed their second sponsorship campaign called “All Nobels! “. In total, 56.5 million euros have been collected since the creation of the university foundation in 2010, a record in France for such a university-CHU tandem. A first campaign conducted from 2010 to 2014 had already collected 22.5 million. Some 6,000 donors, including a thousand companies representing 90% of donations, have thus contributed to the teaching and research activities of the university, but also to support the patients and caregivers of the CHU.

“These funds are not there to compensate for the lack of funding for higher education and research in France, but they allow to accelerate projects already funded”, said Michel Deneken, president of the University of Strasbourg. Among these projects are numerous student scholarships, the creation of healing spaces for caregivers, the development of a therapeutic education centre, the creation of a chair devoted to data sciences and artificial intelligence or the establishment of a school factory to the standards of the pharmaceutical and agri-food industry.

A quarter of the fundraising was carried out by the Jean-Marie Lehn Foundation (formerly Foundation for Research in Chemistry), which provided the administrative arm of this second campaign. Research in the chemistry of complex systems is thus supported by companies such as Solvay, BASF and the Banque Populaire. Thanks to sponsorship, the fifteen doctoral students hosted by the university school of research in chemistry (EUR CSC) in Strasbourg do not have to seek funding themselves. An additional asset for this unique structure in France.

“Getting researchers out of their ivory tower”

The Chinese chemist Xinghan Li thus came to Strasbourg to develop a new form of catalysis allowing the core of a complex molecule to be modified, without having to go through all the stages of its construction. By only altering certain bonds between atoms, he was able to modify a malaria treatment for use against colon cancer and leukemia. A technique that suggests faster drug development. The EUR CSC is also the support for research concerning the development of organic electronic components, which will in the future make it possible to do without rare earths, but also for more fundamental studies in the chemistry of metabolism. “Sponsorship gets researchers out of their ivory tower. It’s a way for the university to catch up with the engineering schools.”recognizes Joseph Moran, director of the EUR CSC.

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