The Major Projects of the 2023-2024 Academic Year

Some big projects are nearing completion, while others are only just beginning. In our traditional autumn interview, Professor Olivier Artus, Rector of UCLy, gave us an overview of the projects taking place in the 2023-2024 academic year, the last in his mandate. The theme chosen for this academic year is ‘Inclusion and Innovation’, a common thread running through all these new ideas.

Professor Olivier Artus, Rector of UCLy talks to us about the strategic areas and priorities of this new academic year.

The ecological and societal transition as a priority

In 2023-2024, UCLy is embarking on an ambitious initiative in aid of the ecological and societal transition. “We all know that the situation is urgent,” says Olivier Artus. “To reach net zero in 25 years, we’ll need to radically change lifestyle habits.”

This initiative, which will need to be pursued both urgently and in the long term, requires a clear framework for the whole of the university. For this reason, the Vice-Rectorship for the Ecological Transition, Social Responsibility and Quality, created in 2023, will be joined by a new department. This change in governance marks the adoption of environmental and social responsibility as a fundamental and permanent priority at UCLy.

A collective commitment

On 28 September, UCLy officially signed the Grenoble Agreement. With this commitment, it has joined a group of around a hundred French higher education establishments working together to drive forward the environmental transition. Inspired by the Paris Agreement and the work of France’s Student COP2, this agreement gives these establishments a list of concrete goals divided into two categories: ‘Training the future generation’ in the challenges of the ecological and social transition and the means to achieve it, and ‘building the campus of the future’ with the planet in mind. 

Concrete Actions

Prioritising the ecological transition is a response to the demands of UCLy’s students. All the groups of students consulted included the environment among their priorities, both in terms of education and the development of the campus for the years to come. This is already being translated into concrete action this year. The recycling system already in place is being improved, with more thorough sorting starting in October. New collection points will be set up and, for the first time, bio-waste will be collected for composting.

UCLy is also going to be working on an assessment of the university's greenhouse gas emissions this year. This will enable us to identify the university's main sources of emissions. UCLy is lucky enough to have three recent campuses with low energy consumption. But lesson number one of the environmental transition is that there are always improvements to be made! For example, the university's transport and its purchasing policy, the main emission sources for higher education establishments, will be examined in detail...

When it comes to teaching, the ecological transition occupies a growing place in UCLy’s courses. Over 503 educational products related to the ecological and societal transition were already in place in the 2022-2023 academic year, spread across all faculties. ESTBB and ESDES have already been raising awareness among all their undergraduate students for a number of years through Climate Fresk workshops. Meanwhile, ESQESE (UCLy’s school of quality, safety and the environment) is working on its new Environment Master’s degree, due to be launched in September 2024.

This autumn’s investments

The research and business centre

This is the major project of this academic year on the Saint-Paul campus. The top two floors of block G will be turned into workspaces dedicated to research, corporate relations and continuing education. This project is intended to meet the recommendations of HCERES (the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education), which noted the lack of dedicated space for the 160 research-active teaching staff members and 70 doctoral students at UCLy. “The Research and Business Centre is a concrete embodiment of what the authorities have asked us to do. It is about creating a visible research unit within our university and facilitating this unit’s communication with the world of business,” sums up Olivier Artus.

The work began in October, with the centre set to open in April 2024.

Improving the campus environment

Last year, UCLy carried out a large survey among the students to gather their ideas on how to improve quality of life on our campuses. The new ‘Student Life and Experience’ department will be able to draw on the lessons learned from this survey and is already working on transforming the students’ suggestions into concrete actions.

A new student help desk has already been set up in the rotunda on the Saint-Paul campus for this new academic year. It brings together all the information about student life in one place and supports international students with administrative procedures.

When it comes to student spaces, work continues on the creation of more inviting areas for study and relaxation on the Saint-Paul and Carnot campuses. At Halloween, work will begin on the student area in block B on the Saint-Paul campus, which is going to be equipped with furniture that is more comfortable and better suited to the students’ needs in terms of catering, study and rest. In addition, the creation of the Research and Business Centre will free up classrooms previously taken up by Continuing Education.

New IT tools

Investing in the university doesn’t stop at the buildings and equipment. UCLy continues to update its IT tools to facilitate the lives of students and lecturers.

From January 2024, all UCLy staff and students will have access to a new Intranet, redesigned from top to bottom. This new space will offer new functionalities to supplement the MyUCLy app, enabling members of the university community to stay up to date with UCLy’s news, participate in university life and find all the tools, guides and tutorials available to them in one place.

On the ‘backstage’ side of things, UCLy is beginning the deployment of a new education ERP system. There’s more lying behind this dry acronym than you might think. It concerns all of the IT architecture provided to teaching staff, from timetable tracking to records of grades... This new invisible but crucial tool represents an investment of over €3 million. It will gradually replace the Synergie ERP system, which is headed for a well-earned retirement after 22 years of loyal service...

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