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Campus France Canada

Clarisse Faria-Fortecoëf

A report especially published for the Canada Day jointly organized by the Cultural Service of the French Embassy in Ottawa and the Campus France Agency, on 09/10/2012 in Paris and whose objective was to promote a better knowledge of the Canadian Higher Education and Research system, and to encourage university and scientific cooperation with Canada (excluding Quebec).

The Canada is the 11th volume of the Dossiers collection published by Campus France whose aim is to offer an overview of local higher education, describe the French device for higher education promotion in the country and show the competitive environment in which this device is deployed.

Some context elements
Higher education in Canada is a decentralized system which includes universities, colleges and Polytechnics. The majority of Canadian universities are public and private institutions are mostly non-profit organizations.
The universities offer degree programs (Bachelor - three or four years of study), Masters (at least 1 full-time year) and Doctorate (Ph.D. - 4 full-time years, often 5) in various areas (business, astronomy, genetics, fine arts...).
They are grouped for those that offer Ph.D. programs, and have significant research devices,  in the "group of 15" or "U15": Dalhousie University, McGill University, McMaster University, Queen’s University, Université d'Ottawa, Université de Montréal, Université Laval, University of Alberta, University of British Columbia, University of Calgary, University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan, University of Toronto, University of Waterloo, Western University.

In funding terms, the overall context of disengagement of the public sector (in 2009, for example, universities and colleges were funded at 46% by the public sector, against 54% in 2005), led universities to increasingly rely  on private funding. Two mechanisms have been or are mainly used : the increase of tuition fees (+8.4% on average between 2009 and 2011 ) and the use of private fundraising from corporations, foundations, as well as individuals, including alumni (les notes de Campus France, "Le rôle de la philanthropie dans le financement des universités canadiennes" (The role of philanthropy in funding of Canadian Universities), No. 39, October 2012).

At the Research level, Canadian universities represent about 37% (20.7% in France) of Research and Development (R&D) activities in the country and play a fundamental role in the technology transfer and the commercial implementation  of laboratory’s findings. Most of universities are thus provided with a service dedicated to the research commercialization, business incubation, or a technology park to allow direct linking between researchers and industrials.

International dimension and mobility
In a context of global competition and strong competition between Canadian universities to attract the best students, teachers and researchers, the ability to offer curriculum integrating an international component becomes a significant advantage.
In the framework of the academic and scientific cooperation development between France and Canada, the French Embassy develops programs such as "Missions and Invitations" Programme, to foster the mobility of French academics to Canada or Canadian to France, by supporting travel expenses and, in some cases, per diem.
Available programs, which are managed in close collaboration with the Campus France Agency, will be soon available, through an online application portal.

The FFCR (France-Canada Funds for Research) is the main tool to support scientific cooperation between France and Canada, and now includes the 19 leading research universities in Canada, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and that of Higher Education and Research.

Furthermore, the French Embassy  in Canada considers the development of joint PhDs (currently about 70 France / Canada (excluding Quebec) individual agreements signed or in preparation) as a major axis of its academic and scientific cooperation policy, and a way to strengthen and sustain partnerships between both countries.

The  Canada country day on 9 October 2012, provided an opportunity to think about the role of universities in their economic environment, particularly the relationship between research and innovation, technology transfer, or the use of private fundraising.

The academic cooperation in 2012-2013, will be characterized among others, by an initiative which will be launched by the cultural service of the Embassy around digital industries and aiming at setting up a mobility program jointly funded by Canadian and French institutions which are active in education and research in this field.