1. Restructured activity in France
In its role as a national hub, Universcience has two main objectives: developing the infrastructure for a network of stakeholders in scientific and technical culture and using loans from the Programme for Future Investment to finance large-scale infrastructure projects in the field of technical and scientific culture.
These commitments have now borne fruit: several bodies have been set up and confirmed by a ruling of April 2012; the National Council for Science Culture has met on several occasions and produced recommendations for the government; and 22 local hubs provide support for their regions.
Today, the law on higher education and research sets out a new structure for the governance of scientific culture, with broader representation for the various stakeholders, improved inter-ministerial communication and consideration of the responsibilities delegated to the regions. Universcience, as part of an ongoing and open dialogue, remains at the service of all stakeholders, delegated authorities, regional bodies and local stakeholders, to participate fully in the implementation of the national strategy for scientific and technical culture.
CSTI National Forum
Jointly organised by Universcience, the General Committee of Investing in the Future and AMCSTI, as part of the ESTIM-Governance project, the 3rd CSTI National Forum was held at the Cité des sciences et de l'industrie in January 2014, to highlight the role of innovation in scientific, technical and industrial culture, its contribution to social stability and the sharing of knowledge with all residents of France.
2. Broader and stronger partnerships and institutional relationships
In order to improve its activities, take advantage of its profile and share its expertise, the work of Universcience includes the continual development of partnerships and institutional relationships. This is an enormous task, which involves all the stakeholders, public bodies, research organisations, public and policy institutions, local authorities with whom joint activities can be arranged (educational, museum-related, events) on various themes: digital activities, interpretation by guides, educational programmes, etc.
Partnerships have been established with large organisations such as INSERM (National Institute for Health and Medical Research) and CNES (National Institute for Spatial Studies). Universcience is also building ongoing relationships with partner museums such as CNAM (National Conservatory for Arts and Crafts), the Musée du Quai Branly, the Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle (Natural History Museum)... and on the Villette site, the Cité des sciences et de l’industrie participates fully in the Park's site policy.
Universcience is a founding member and leader of the ESTIM project (Equality of Access to Science, Technology, Innovation and Multimedia) in collaboration with various partners. The project aims to establish regional hubs, a demonstration college and a platform of services for science culture professionals. In particular, Universcience has set up the Fab Lab and the Living Lab, as part of the Inmédiats project, in partnership with 6 regional science centres.
3. An ambitious European and international policy
The international policy of Universcience takes both cultural diplomacy and commercial considerations into account. It is based on complementary activities developed as part of a strategy for each country, which aims to raise awareness of the work, the expertise and the added value of Universcience abroad, and to support the development of its commercial activities.
Universcience contributes to discussion and debate at European level, particularly in the field of Science & Society, in order to influence the strategic direction of various programmes: Horizon 2020, Creative Europe, or even Erasmus for all, provide new opportunities for partnerships and funding for Universcience.
The organisation plays a driving role in the international professional network, particularly as part of the network of ECSITE European science museums and centres. It uses this network to develop new collaborative projects, to share expertise and take advantage of economies of scale.
Universcience contributes to France's scientific and cultural influence by developing an ambitious policy of cultural engineering. A framework agreement has been signed with the French Institute which prioritises the distribution of digital scientific content online.
Its international influence will grow, with a policy of openness towards staff exchanges and hosting professionals from abroad. This will be done through European programmes, bilateral agreements (e.g. between France and Canada) or other mechanisms for exchange such as the Profession Culture programme of the Ministry for Culture and Communication.