Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

French-Irish scientific collaboration strengthened with new agreement signed at RCSI

28 June 2016

Ambassador honours Professor Brian Harvey with distinguished Academic Palm award

RCSI (Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland) and the University of Montpellier signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), on Tuesday, 28th June 2016, to enhance their collaboration in health and medical sciences research and education. The agreement, which also incorporates the French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), strengthens a long-standing collaboration between the institutions and builds on an initial agreement made in 2009 which has resulted in successful PhD co-supervision, staff exchanges, joint publications and research grants.

Later in the afternoon, Brian Harvey, Professor of Molecular Medicine at RCSI, was presented with the insignia of "Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques", by H.E Mr Jean-Pierre Thébault, Ambassador of France to Ireland, at a private ceremony which took place in the College. This national order of France which recognises distinguished academics and figures in the world of culture and education, was awarded to Professor Harvey in recognition of his outstanding contribution to French-Irish scientific collaboration. This is the second time Professor Harvey has been awarded a prestigious national honour from France, having received the "Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Merite" from President Jacques Chirac in 2006.

The day's events began with a public lecture delivered by Dr Philippe Marre, French Surgeon & Secretary General of the National Academy of Surgery in France entitled "The National Academy of Surgery in France and its founders, Mareschal & Lapeyronie". This guest lecture explored the origins of the National French Academy of Surgery and its links with Ireland and RCSI. The founders of RCSI adopted their motto "Consilio Manuque" meaning Scholarship and Dexterity in 1784, out of respect for their French colleagues.

The new MOU will see the exchange of researchers of the National Biophotonics Imaging Platform Ireland, co-ordinated by RCSI, and the French parties, through the Institute of Functional Genomics in Montpellier. The institutions will exchange expertise and knowledge in optical and molecular imaging with provision for joint funding and development of new technologies in these areas. This exchange will be co-ordinated by Dr. Patrice Mollard (Montpellier) and Professor Brian Harvey (RCSI). The two institutions also have a long shared heritage as medical schools and will also exchange expertise and knowledge to promote educational development and research in medical and health sciences training and its delivery at undergraduate and post-graduate levels, as part of the agreement.

Professor Ray Stallings, Director of Research at RCSI said: "At RCSI, we greatly value international collaboration which is a catalyst for fostering innovative research. Today's agreement strengthens and renews our important scientific partnerships and unique framework for Irish and French researchers to engage in joint research programmes in biological imaging and translational medical research. Professor Brian Harvey has made an outstanding contribution to the establishment and cultivation of this highly successful collaboration with our French colleagues and I congratulate him on receiving the distinguished national Academic Palm award today."

RCSI is ranked 46th in the world for ‘International Outlook' and 251 - 300 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (2015-2016). It is an international not-for-profit health sciences institution, with its headquarters in Dublin, focused on education and research to drive improvements in human health worldwide.