Fluctuat et Mergitur (Issue 4/2017)

Your voice of reason at Paris-Saclay

Paris-Sud becomes Paris-Saclay
For the past 9 years, the Paris-Saclay project has been in a limbo. One of the main points of contention is the missing integration between the educational systems of the universities and the engineering schools. Also, some members have only recently realised that a full integration into Paris Saclay would jeopardise their own identity.

Fortunately, all of these problems have now come to an end. In a bold move, the University Paris-Sud has decided to become “Paris-Saclay” itself. Thus, Paris-Sud would be Paris-Saclay. This has several advantages:

  1. All educational systems inside Paris-Saclay become immediately interoperable with each other.
  2. The University Paris-Saclay instantly got a functioning governance.
  3. Overnight, the ongoing struggle for hegemony inside Paris-Saclay has come to an end.

We have talked to Dr. Naibaf of Télécom ParisTech about the new situation. He explains:

We can only welcome the re-orientation of Paris-Saclay! A university with 20 members was anyway in no way manageable. I do not know who had this idea anyway. A university with a single member, in contrast, can be very successful. I don't know why they did not directly go for this route.
Dr. Naibaf also concedes the publicity effect of the move:
In order to promote our own school in the context of the new campus, we once decided to “contribute the digital dimension to Paris-Saclay”. This was, admittedly, quite unimaginative.

Paris-Sud, in contrast, has now decided to “contribute Paris-Saclay to Paris-Saclay”. Now that’s something really creative!

Télécom ParisTech is now a founding member of Paris-Sud University.
The only thing he regrets, he says, is that his own school did not have this idea before Paris-Sud. Had Télécom ParisTech declared itself “Paris-Saclay” before Paris-Sud, all the government money earmarked for Paris-Saclay would have automatically arrived at Télécom ParisTech. This would finally have allowed the school to live up to its ambitions. Of course, Télécom ParisTech would then have allowed other members to join — for example Paris-Sud University.

The renaming of Paris-Sud to Paris-Saclay is not yet final. It has to be approved by all members of the new Paris-Saclay University. Yet, given that the number of members is much smaller now (one), this may be only a formality.

This step will mean that Télécom ParisTech will be excluded from Paris-Saclay for good. This is, however, not a problem. The school is already planning to acquire the newly available name “Paris-Sud”. This would immediately catapult it to position 179 in the Times Higher Education Ranking, and endow it with several Fields Medal winners.

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