UCA Jedi: 58 million euros to be received over four years for higher education and research on the Côte d’Azur

The UCA (the University of the Côte d’Azur), the recently created community of universities and establishments of higher education on the Côte d’Azur (one of 25 such consortia now existing in France), has won, with its UCA JEDI project, the highly coveted “IDEX” (Initiative of Excellence) award of the French Investments for the Future Program.
The invested capital of close to 580 million euros that will be attributed to the UCA will generate 14.5 million euros of interest income per year, meaning that a total of 58 million euros will be injected into research, training, and innovation in the Côte d’Azur region over the next four years.


The UCA JEDI (Joint, Excellent, and Dynamic Initiative) project, which was preselected in April 2015 and definitively selected for the award in January 2016 by the international IDEX committee, needed to  satisfy three major criteria in the areas of research, training, and innovation:

  • International visibility;
  • Strong cooperation and integration between the involved universities, business schools, arts schools, and research organizations; and
  • Large-scale territorial involvement


The selected project is the product of a truly dynamic process and was constructed with the major involvement of the primary actors in teaching and research in the region. The entire UCA community–including the leaders of the involved institutions, the representatives of the involved research organizations, the region’s researchers, teacher-researchers, and other personnel–had the opportunity to contribute to the development of the project, which builds on the primary scientific, academic, and cultural strengths of the consortium (the ComUE – Communauté d’université et Etablissements). The support of companies and local authorities also played a determining role. More than 200 companies have committed more than one billion euros over four years in Research and Development on the themes covered in the Reference Centers, and 43 million euros has been pledged for specific co-funded Idex projects. To make the project fully operational and to ensure that the planned actions will be successfully completed, the University of the Côte d’Azur has put into place a streamlined governance system with a posteriori evaluation, which will serve to promote initiative and reactivity.

An ambitious project based on transdisciplinarity

The UCA JEDI is organized around five Academies of Excellence which will emphasize a transdisciplinarity approach, and three Reference Centers equipped with high-level technological platforms in public-private partnerships. At the heart of this organization, expertise in modeling, simulation, and interactions will be developed and shared within a specific, dedicated structure: The Center for Modeling, Simulation, and Interactions (MSI). The Center for Pedagogical Innovation will host research on new teaching approaches and will oversee their deployment. Built on the model of a graduate school, the UCA JEDI will offer initial and continuing education programs, all connected to research and to the needs of the territory. UCA JEDI funding will allow, through calls for projects, the development of programs of excellence in research, training, and innovation.

Built on a foundation of core disciplinary excellence, the initiative will promote transdisciplinarity, which is too often absent in French universities. The UCA JEDI will also ensure effective connections and interactions between basic research and innovation through its three Reference Centers, which are being created to respond to three major societal challenges, in collaboration with the region and with local authorities.

A unique opportunity for the region

More concretely, UCA JEDI will allow the creation of specific funds for research and innovation, to attract renowned researchers and PhD students with great potential, to create high quality degree programs based on the areas of expertise of the UCA members, to support entrepreneurship and business creation, and to develop and structure partnerships with the industrial world and with local authorities. Thirty-six percent of Idex funding will be dedicated to the development of research activities, 25% will go to R&D and technology transfer, in partnership with companies and with the region, and 25% will be dedicated to training. Programs for increasing international attractivity and enhancing student life will receive 9% of the funding.

With its goal of achieving excellence, its transdisciplinarity, and its international attractivity, the UCA aims to create a new university model of international renown, recognized for its teaching innovation and at the heart of a dynamic ecosystem.

About the UCA

Created in February 2015, the University of the Côte d’Azur, the community of universities and establishments of higher education of the Alpes Maritimes, is the product of the shared desire of all of its members to develop a common and ambitious strategy for research, transfer of knowledge and technology, and training. Its ambition is to create a world-class, internationally recognized establishment excelling in research and innovation. The President of the University of the Côte d’Azur is Dr. Jean-Marc Gambaudo.

The founding members of the UCA are: the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis (UNS), the Observatory of the Côte d’Azur (OCA), the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation (Inria), the SKEMA Business School, the EDHEC Business School, the Nice University Hospital Center (CHU Nice), and a college of arts and design schools: the CIRM (National Center for Musical Creation), La Villa Arson (National School of Fine Arts of Nice), the ESRA (Graduate School of Audio-visual Production), The Sustainable Design School (SDS), the Rosella Hightower Dance School of Cannes-Mougins, and the Regional National Conservatory of Nice (CNRR).
In addition to these 13 UCA members, the initiative includes as partners (through specific agreements) the Inserm, INRA, IRD, The Ecole MINES ParisTech for its Sophia Antipolis site, and EURECOM.

The UCA JEDI initiative therefore encompasses all of the high level, internationally visible public and private establishments of higher education and research on the Côte d’Azur.