The University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) has launched a China-France Mathematics Center (CFMC) to better promote talent cultivation, academic exchanges and research collaboration in the field of mathematics between China and France.

Unveiling ceremony of the China-France Mathematics Center

Mathematics serves as the cornerstone of natural science and is a significant source of technological innovation and development. The university has always maintained friendly and close connection with French universities and institutions in mathematics as France is very good at creating original work in mathematics based upon profound tradition and strong proficiency, said Bao Xinhe, President of USTC, in his keynote speech at the unveiling ceremony on December 14, 2022.

The agreement to establish a China-France Mathematics Talents Class (CFMTC) was designed to promote talent cultivation and international collaboration in the field of mathematics at the beginning of 2019 by USTC, in collaboration with the Jacques Hadamard Mathematics Foundation (Fondation Mathématique Jacques Hadamard, FMJH) and the Mathematical Sciences Foundation of Paris (Fondation Sciences Mathématiques de Paris, FSMP). Under the framework, at least nine candidates in their fourth year of undergraduate studies will be granted scholarships to pursue doctoral study in France.

To a large extent, the Consulate General of France in Shanghai expedited the development of the program, leading to the establishment of the very first class in September, 2019. Now, CFMTC has quickly become one of USTC’s major paradigms of international talent cultivation and the university is on its way to being counted among the “first-class universities and disciplines of the world,” another national strategy in China’s higher education after the 211 Project and the 985 Project.

While the world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century, China-France cooperation embraces new development opportunities. The university has been strengthening its international collaboration with overseas universities, scientific research institutions, international organizations and innovation-driven enterprises, striving to create an international education and research environment.

“The center will be dedicated to talent cultivation and fundamental research in mathematics. It’s expected to promote dialogue in mathematics between China and France and turn a new page for Sino-French ties in science, technology and education,” said Bao.

Addressing the ceremony via a video link, Mr. Joan Valadou, Consul General of France in Shanghai, gave full recognition to the work of CFMTC and pledged support for CFMC in giving play to its unique strengths and deepening international cooperation. In the first four years since its establishment, CFMTC has seen quite impressive results in talent cultivation: seven students have been admitted to the Institut Polytechnique de Paris and two students have been admitted to the école Normale Supérieure de Paris. Up to now, more than 20 mathematics professors and language teachers from France have taken part in the program, lecturing and working cooperatively. “With the establishment of the center today, I hope both sides could further work together in making Sino-French educational and scientific cooperation more robust, open and of stronger mutual trust,” Mr. Valadou said.

Ma Zhiming, an academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the Chinese academic director of the center, joined the ceremony via video link and expressed his hopes that over the coming decade, the center will be able to become a world-class research center, talent training center and international exchange center. “I expect that the center can evolve into a real bridge connecting all mathematicians around the world to conduct research and education, which allows us to go beyond any limits,” he said.

Fields Medal winner Laurent Lafforgue, French academic director of the center, who is also the director of CFMTC, expressed his gratitude to all the faculty members and students of CFMTC. In view of the challenges of the epidemic in the past three years, it is indeed not easy to get such results, said Lafforgue. “I hope the center will be lively, with a lot of students, seminars and discussions. I’d like to visit the university and the center in the near future,” he added.

“I have been very impressed by the students of the class. After learning French for only one year, they are able to follow the classes, to ask good questions and to point out small (and sometimes big) mistakes I make at the blackboard or in the course notes,” said Bernhard Keller, a professor at the Université Paris Cité (University of Paris) and a guest professor at USTC, whilst sharing his stories about CFMTC. “They have been very interested and dedicated and many of them are as strong as the best students I have taught in France. I have also had very good and fruitful contacts with the teachers at USTC,” he added.

Student representatives of CFMTC [IMAGE: CFMC]

Professor Li Jiayu, director of the center, said, “For doing high-level mathematics research, the most important thing is meeting people in a professional field and exchanging ideas.”

In responding to the nation’s efforts to support scientific research in fundamental science and cultivate young talents, the center will develop into a comprehensive source of talent cultivation, academic exchanges and research collaboration in mathematics. Further integrative international collaboration with other partners and countries in mathematics will be explored and carried out in the center.

Source: USTC News Center

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