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University of Chicago, French National Center for Scientific Research launch new joint research operation

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- The University of Chicago is getting a new French connection.

On Wednesday, during the state visit to the U.S. by French President Emmanuel Macron, the U of C and the French National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, established the International Research Center for Fundamental Scientific Discovery.

IRC Discovery is the fourth CNRS International Research Center in the world, and the second in the U.S. It will be based at UChicago's Hyde Park campus and CNRS headquarters in Paris.

The U of C said IRC Discovery will bring together a variety of researchers to work on interdisciplinary projects in energy, communication technologies, climate, mobility, health, and political and social sciences, among other fields.

"Addressing the world's greatest challenges requires deliberate international partnership that brings together intellectual assets and infrastructure at scale," U of President Paul Alivisatos said in a news release. "This new partnership is a great example of peer institutions committing their resources to reduce barriers to effective collaboration and accelerate solutions to global issues."

  French Minister of Higher Education and Research Sylvie RetailleauCaption: UChicago President Alivisatos and CNRS Chairman and CEO Antoine Petit sign an agreement at the French Embassy in Washington, DC to establish a new international research center in Hyde Park that will bring together some of the world's leading scientists. Peter Kujawinski

"As the CNRS is multidisciplinary by nature, we seek prestigious partners with equivalent capabilities, with whom we can work hand in hand to pursue basic research for the benefit of society and find solutions to the societal challenges we are facing," said Antoine Petit, the chairman and chief executive officer of CNRS, said in the release. "IRCs enable the leadership of the CNRS to communicate directly with its counterpart at the partnering institution, in order to provide responses that meet the ambitions of scientists in conducting their projects."

IRC Discovery will provide collaborative research and student events, joint workshops, and public facing events. Researchers with IRC Discovery will have access to both CNRS and the U of C – including the university's own footprint in Paris. A new U of C building and research institute designed by Jeanne Gang is now under construction in Paris.

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