News & AnalysisFrance

€22 Billion Stimulus Brings Worries About Egalité

Science  10 Feb 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6069, pp. 644-645
DOI: 10.1126/science.335.6069.644

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In 2009, the French government announced Investments for the Future, a stimulus package to shore up the economy after the global financial crisis and turn France into a more competitive, innovative nation. On 3 February, French Prime Minister Francois Fillon announced five new winners in the flagship component of the stimulus, the €7.7 billion Excellence Initiatives (Idex), which aims to help create a group of five to 10 world-class research and higher education clusters. For the winners, the Idex label is more than a financial windfall. But the wave of new investments has also generated anxiety and criticism. Smaller universities worry that they may become lower-tier educational and research outposts while Strasbourg and other sites blossom-a break with France's egalitarian tradition.

  • * Barbara Casassus is a writer in Paris.