St Andrews signs Franco-Scottish alliance

Tuesday 13 May 2003

An historic agreement was signed today (Wednesday 14th May, 2003) between three Scottish and six French Universities to establish joint PhD programmes.

The agreement was signed at the French Consulate in Edinburgh by representatives of the Universities of St Andrews, Edinburgh and Glasgow and Provence (Aix-Marseille I), Joseph Fourier (Grenoble I), Sorbonne Nouvelle (Paris III), Pierre et Marie Curie (Paris VI), Denis Diderot (Paris 7) and François Rabelais (Tours).

It is the first time that joint research doctorates have been developed between French and Scottish Universities, and the first students will start in the next few months. The joint programmes will greatly facilitate Franco-Scottish research collaboration and have been welcomed on both sides of the channel.

In the longer term, the potential benefits of joint research degrees with European universities could be substantial. Increasingly, research is conducted by interdisciplinary teams often comprising of researchers and research students in different faculties, institutions and countries.

Welcoming the agreement, the University’s Principal and Vice Chancellor, Dr Brian Lang, said:

“This joint venture demonstrates the flexibility of university procedures, when we are offered an opportunity that represents progress and innovation in research and learning. We are delighted to be working with our French colleagues. This is the kind of collaboration with other universities that we value and encourage.”

Representatives from Glasgow and Edinburgh also welcomed the move.

Peter Holmes, Vice-Principal of Research at the University of Glasgow said:

“We see joint PhDs as a highly effective way of further strengthening our current research collaboration. There are currently no joint research degrees between Britain and France, and this initiative from the French Embassy places us in the privileged position of being one of only a small number of leading British universities to offer such a joint degree.”

The University of Edinburgh’s Principal and Vice Chancellor, Professor Timothy O’Shea said:

“This is exactly the sort of collaborative venture that we seek to encourage at the University of Edinburgh. We are delighted to be working with our French colleagues in a spirit of co-operation to achieve the maximum benefit for students and for the advancement of learning and research in Europe.”



The signing will take place at the Residency of the Consul Général, Michel Roche, in Edinburgh (28 Regent Terrace) at 4.30pm.

Attending for the universities are:

St. Andrews: Dr Brian Lang, David Corner. Edinburgh: Professor Timothy O’Shea, Professor Mary Bownes, Professor Geoffrey Boulton. Glasgow: Peter Holmes, Carol Clugston

In addition, Andrew Miller, Lucy Hunter, Wilson Sibbett, Chris Master, Roger McClure and Nicol Stephen will also be present.

For further information, please contact: University of St Andrews Press Office on 01334 462529 University of Glasgow Press Office on 0141 330 3535. University of Edinburgh Press Office on 0131 650 2250


Issued by Beattie Media On behalf of the University of St Andrews Contact Gayle Cook on 01334 467227, mobile 07900 050103, or email [email protected] Ref: joint phD pr 140503 View the latest University news at

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