Visit from French minister highlights the importance of international research collaborations
The University of Melbourne Centre for Cancer Research was delighted to welcome a delegation of officials and scientists from France led by the French Minister for Higher Education and Research, Professor Frédérique Vidal, to the University of Melbourne and Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre last week.
Standing (left to right): Thierry Damerval, French National Research Agency (ANR); Dayna Swiatek, Victorian Cancer Agency; Melissa Arduca, Health and Wellbeing Division of Victorian Department of Health and Human Services; Dr Kylie Mason, Peter Mac and Royal Melbourne Hospital; Anna Boltong, VCCC; Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie, Honorary Consul-General of France
Sitting (left to right): H.E Mr Christophe Penot, Ambassador of France to Australia; Associate Professor Frédéric Hollande, Centre for Cancer Research and Department of Clinical Pathology; Dr Gilles Bloch, INSERM; Professor Frédérique Vidal, Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation; Professor Jane Gunn, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences; Professor Fabienne Mackay, School of Biomedical Sciences; Deputé Anne Genetet, Member of Parliament 11th Constituency for French Residents Overseas
The minister and leaders from the French research sector, including Dr Gilles Bloch, CEO and Chair of the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and Thierry Damerval, Managing Director and Chair of the French National Research Agency (ANR), met with leaders in health research at the University of Melbourne from the Doherty Institute, Florey Institute and Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences.
Associate Professor Frédéric Hollande, head of the Tumour Heterogeneity in Metastatic Cancer lab, represented the Department of Clinical Pathology and Centre for Cancer Research, and has strong existing collaborations with French research organisations.
Discussions centred on increasing health and medical research collaboration between the two countries, showcasing collaborations to date such as Associate Professor Hollande’s INSERM and University of Melbourne International Associated Laboratory – the first French-Australian collaboration of its kind.
The lab is collaborating with INSERM, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), Université Lyon 1 and the Cancer Research Centre of Lyon, in an agreement that aims to enable scientific and educational cooperation in the field of cancer research.
Collaborations such as this have driven international exchange of leading research and researchers – both students and staff – to share opportunities and benefits across both countries, strengthening research outputs and funding applications.
Associate Professor Hollande congratulated the delegation for furthering the science and innovation relationship between France and Australia.
“It is fantastic to see such enthusiasm and determination to expand the collaboration between France and Australia. There is a huge appetite for formal, structured and supported collaboration from governing bodies between the two countries.”
“There is world-class research being undertaken with a high degree of complementarity between both countries. Through agreements and collaborations such as our International Associated Lab and the recent INSERM MoU with the Doherty Institute, France and Australia could become major research partners driving international innovation into the future.”
In Canberra earlier in the week, the Australian Government Department of Industry, Innovation and Science organised a series of theme-based workshops to put forward ideas on policy frameworks to drive collaboration. Associate Professor Hollande and Dr Bloch co-chaired a health innovation workshop, facilitating discussion and presenting back to the joint science and technology ministerial meeting on considerations to inform policy development on collaborative structures in the health sector.
Through the French-Australian International Associated Laboratory agreement, Associate Professor Hollande is collaborating with Professor Alain Puisieux, Director of the Cancer Research Centre of Lyon, to understand the complex nature of metastatic cancer to enable treatments to be tailored to attack specific tumours – a collaboration highlighted in the Stories of French-Australian Innovation publication launched last week at the Australian Academy of Sciences.