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4 | 2008-2009
The Letter
Academic year 2008-2009
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Creation of the Collège de France Foundation

p. 63-64

Texte intégral

1The decree providing for the creation of the state-approved Collège de France Foundation was published in the Journal Officiel of 7 April 2008.

2The aim of the Foundation, in keeping with the Collège de France’s spirit of openness, is to support, develop and transfer teaching, research, training and knowledge in France and abroad.

3The underlying idea that led to the creation of the Foundation was to institute management that distinguished clearly between research, training and private funding, by means of a structure that favoured flexible and reactive management-by-projects, while meeting strict management, control and evaluation criteria.

4The private funds invested in the Foundation will enable the Collège de France to finance its research projects, to increase the resources required to nurture the scientific life of the Chairs, to modernize its laboratories, to acquire the most up-to-date technical equipment, to enhance young researchers’ training, and to facilitate access to knowledge and to the most recent research undertaken by the Chairs and by the teams hosted. The funds will thus serve the demands of top-level research oriented towards society.

5The Collège de France Foundation’s endowment is 1,250,000 €. The contributions from the Collège’s own funds and that of Mr Michel David-Weill have been decisive. They have been completed by support from the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation, the French company Laser and the Belgian company Solvay.

A governance open to civil society

6The Advisory Board appointed Professor Pierre Corvol and Mr François Roussely respectively as President and Vice-President of the Foundation.

7The Foundation is administered by a Board of 12 members (the college of founding members consisting of professors of the Institution, the college of qualified personalities which consults personalities from civil society and the academic world, and the college of donors). The composition of the Board reflects the Foundation’s policy of promoting dialogue and interaction with civil society and economic actors. For patrons and donors it is also a guarantee of open and transparent management.

8The Board is advised by a Scientific Orientation Committee consisting of 6 to 8 members, all professors at the Collège, under the direction of Professor Michel Zink.

9In addition to its endowment, the Foundation opened its activity with a budget of 4,400,400 €. With the support of Mr Michel David-Weill, the Collège de France will thus be able to renovate and computerize the collections of its Institutes of Oriental Studies, some of the finest libraries in Europe.

10The biology laboratories of the Chair of Morphogenetic Processes, scheduled to open shortly, will be equipped with state-of-the-art research technologies, thanks to the support of the Sanofi Aventis laboratory.

11This support completes a contribution by the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation which made a large donation to the Collège de France, to be used to equip its laboratories.

12Based on the highly efficient framework of the Collège de France’s work and resources, in a multidisciplinary environment, these funds allow for the development of new perspectives and scientific challenges, and to further the growth and development of basic and applied research.

Development strategy

13Apart from the efforts that will be made to raise awareness concerning donations and legacies, as well as the new measures pertaining to the payment of wealth tax, the Foundation has the mission of facilitating interaction between the academic and economic worlds. It will propose Research-Enterprise patronages or special donorships on identified development programmes: creation of a Chair or thematic series of courses (cf. the Liliane Bettencourt Chair of Technological Innovation created in 2006); renovation of premises; support for a research project or a specific action; promotion of an historical and cultural heritage; donations oriented by research domain (e.g. physics, chemistry, life sciences, economics, mathematics). A small fraction of each patronage is used to support research activities for which it is difficult to attract patrons’ interest. Another purpose of the Foundation is the autonomous development of research projects.

14The Foundation intends to increase its endowment to 12 million euros in the next four to five years. Income from investment will guarantee it an annual fund of some 500,000 € for research. The Foundation will appeal to big companies for support.

15In order to develop annual collection for projects, the Foundation and the researchers will jointly examine projects likely to support the Collège de France’s scientific objectives and development, and, more broadly, French science, while helping to spread them internationally.

From left to right: Philippe Lemoine, Michel David-Weill, Gérard Le Fur, Philippe Kourilsky, François Roussely, Pierre Corvol, Yves-Thibault de Silguy, Pierre-Etienne Will, Pierre Rosanvallon, Patrice de Maistre and Jacques Reisse.

16Two projects were recently launched with the group Total and the AFD: support for the scientific animation of the newly-created thematic Chairs, “Sustainable development-Environment, Energy and Society” and “Knowledge against Poverty”.

17It is hoped that support will be obtained for the dissemination of knowledge via the Web, especially in view of the success that has already been encountered: 300,000 hours of lectures downloaded every month. Finally, it is also hoped that the Foundation will be able to support many projects related to the various activities of the Collège de France Chairs and involving outside teams and young post-doctoral researchers.

Members of the Governing Board

  • College of founders:
    Prof Pierre Corvol, Chairman of the Board
    Prof Pierre Rosanvallon, General Secretary
    Prof Philippe Kourilsky
    Prof Pierre-Etienne Will

  • College of qualified personalities:
    Mr François Roussely, Vice-Chairman of the Board - CEO of Crédit Suisse
    Prof Jacques Reisse, member of the COSS - ULB, Belgique
    Mr Yves-Thibault de Silguy, CEO of Vinci
    Mr Jean Paul Bailly, CEO of La Poste

  • College of donors:
    Mr Patrice de Maistre, Treasurer – Managing Director of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation
    Mr Gérard le Fur, Managing Director of Sanofi Aventis
    Mr Christian Jourquin, CEO of Solvay
    Mr Philippe Lemoine, CEO of Laser

  • Government Commissioner:
    Mr Jean-Richard Cytermann, ex officio member

  • Chairman of the Scientific Orientation Committee:
    Prof Michel Zink

  • Director:
    Ms Marie Chéron

Fondation du Collège de France
11 place Marcelin-Berthelot
75005 Paris
(33) (0)1 44 27 11 78

19Donations to the Collège de France Foundation are tax deductable: for private individuals up to 66% of the amount of the donation and up to 20% of the taxed income; for firms, 60% of the amount of the donation is deductable from company tax, within the limit of 5‰ of the company’s turnover. As the Foundation is state approved, legacies are exempt from inheritance tax.

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Table des illustrations

Légende From left to right: Philippe Lemoine, Michel David-Weill, Gérard Le Fur, Philippe Kourilsky, François Roussely, Pierre Corvol, Yves-Thibault de Silguy, Pierre-Etienne Will, Pierre Rosanvallon, Patrice de Maistre and Jacques Reisse.
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The Letter of the Collège de France, Collège de France, Paris, juin 2009, p. 63-64. ISSN 1958-1408

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« Creation of the Collège de France Foundation », La lettre du Collège de France [En ligne], 4 | 2008-2009, mis en ligne le 15 novembre 2010, consulté le 12 décembre 2017. URL :

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