France National Experiences

Published: 08/03/2011 | Modified: 17/12/2014, 10:08 am

Contact details of the institutions hosting the BHO


Conférence des Présidents d’Université (CPU)

103 Boulevard St Michel – 75005 Paris
URL website:

Bridgehead Organisation

The CPU (French Rectors’ Conference) is an association created in 1971 to represent and promote higher education and universities in conjunction with the national authorities. It gathers all the universities in France and in overseas areas (Martinique, Guadalupe, Réunion, Nouvelle-Calédonie), and the so-called ‘grandes écoles’.

EURAXESS Services Centres

There are 21 ESCs. Most of the ESCs and LoCPs are hosted within the universities. The CPU (French Rectors’ Conference), which includes all these universities, is the BHO.

Local Contact Points

There are seven LoCPs located in universities.

Structure of the national network

The French network is officially an association since January 2013, which members are the organisms hosting the ESCs and LoCPs (universities, associations, foundations). The board of the association is composed by representatives from the ESCs/LoCPs and from major mobility actors (CPU, Cité internationale universitaire de Paris, ABG). The staff costs of each ESC/LoCP are funded by the hosting organism.

Full-time equivalent staff:   Number of persons:
BHO: 0,5 BHO: 1
ESC: 32,5 ESC: 41
LoCP:  7 LoCP: 8


Declaration of Commitment (DoC)

All network members have signed the DoC

National funding of the EURAXESS Services Network

No funding body at the national level, each university funds its Euraxess staff member and its developments.

Target groups of the Bridgehead Organisation/EURAXESS Services Centre

  • National authorities
  • Administrative staff
  • Researchers

Target groups of the ESCs and LoCPs

  • Researchers
  • Administrative staff
  • Local authorities

Relationship and communication between the BHO, the Steering Group for Human Resources and Mobility for Researchers (SG HRM), the National Contact Points (NCPs) and the Programme Committee

French representatives in SGHRM and program committee are from the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, which are in close and frequent collaboration with the BHO (via meetings, phone and e-mail).
CPU is also NCP for Marie Curie actions (3 representatives from universities), which enables a good collaboration on the mobility thematics

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1. Integration through culture and leisure

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:47 pm

At the local contact point in Nantes, integration is a key objective. We believe it is important for researchers to meet other people aside from their lab colleagues or administrative assistants.

By providing a friendly environment with no obligation to participate, some researchers have started to build friendships. Mingling with French and foreign students can be helpful for enhancing languages skills, but above all it’s about not feeling isolated.

We have teamed up with a local organisation for international students and organize outings and parties three times a month, from October to May. Researchers are able to go on affordable tours of regional sites where they would not venture on their own. Most of our researchers do not own a car, so we also plan weekends to spectacular places, such as the Mont Saint Michel.

2. Housing and assistance all in one

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:47 pm

The organization is located in a truly unique building. The Maison des chercheurs étrangers opened in November 2007, offering 24 flats to foreign researchers in the centre of the city. The building itself houses two conference rooms for lectures and meetings. Exhibitions are also held at the venue throughout the year.Our offices are located on the same premises, offering a coherent whole with our mission. Researchers can come to us with all their questions. Whether they live in the Maison des chercheurs étrangers or not (obviously 24 flats cannot accommodate the 500 researchers living in Nantes all year round), they have the same access to the meeting rooms and the multimedia rooms with computers.

3. Horizontal interaction

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:47 pm

Nantes is located on the westernmost part of Europe, on the Atlantic coast. We cannot relate to bigger cities such as Marseille, Lyon or Paris. We have to think in terms that are appropriate for our level.

The experiences and tools developed in larger centres either do not apply to us or are too time-consuming given our means.

What we do is team up with similar-sized centres. Instead of pursuing vertical interactions (where information is not relevant for us) we prefer horizontal cooperation. We often work with and ask for advice from our Rennes or Bordeaux colleagues, with whom we share a similar geographical context. The comparison and benchmarking is thus more helpful and brings us closer together, and we can develop our own way of dealing with issues that are different from those in larger cities such as Paris.

Thinking local has also lifted the pressure about aiming for the kinds of targets that big centres can achieve. It is more about sharing the know-how and setting realistic targets than about comparing figures.

4. Highly specialised partnerships

Published: 09/05/2011 | Modified: 06/05/2014, 1:47 pm

Our organization exists since 2001. It has given credibility to our missions, and over the years its links with local immigration administrations have strengthened.

We have developed several procedures by working hard and convincing our partners that we could streamline processes and be helpful to both researchers and administrative staff.

We now have direct access to specialized staff within each administration and we are listened to and understood when we approach them with queries. We have been very constant in our dealing with cases and at this point we have set up an excellent rapport.

The French network is also important in making relationships at a local level easier. By constantly sharing information with our colleagues, we learn about what has been implemented in other parts of France.

This has been very helpful recently, with so many measures changing from year to year. Because we are capable of adjusting to the information we receive, we have become a key element in the local system dealing with foreign researchers.

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