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University Act

René-Luc Bénichou

The French Parliament adopted the bill about 'freedom and responsibilities of universities' on 1st August 2007. The law gives universities more autonomy, especially for recruitment and human resources management.

Two measures change the way universities will recruit their teaching research fellows. The first one, to take effect within one year, aims at speeding up the recruitment process by setting up selection committees in charge of examining all applications for a teaching research fellowship. Made up of teaching research fellows and equivalent, half of whom at least must come from outside the university, these committees take over from 'specialists commissions'. It is to be noticed that joint selection committees can be set up by several universities, particularly in the framework of research and higher education clusters.

The second measure, to take effect in a five-year period, allows universities to recruit contract staff, on a fixed term or permanent basis, for administrative, technical or teaching and research activities. However, the amount of staff costs related to those jobs will continue to be supervised by the government, in the framework of its multi-annual contracts with universities.

Last, it can be noticed that, in order to fight the temptation for in-house recruitment, universities' multi-annual contracts will have to give details about their objectives in matter of external recruitment of lecturers and professors.