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Fact Sheet: U.S.-France Cooperation on Science and Technology

February 11, 2014

The United States and France have long collaborated on science and technology, which enhances the well-being of our citizens, promotes commercial innovation and economic growth, and advances the human condition not just for our citizens, but for people across the globe. In 2008, the United States and France signed agreements on science and technology, including in the area of homeland security. Significant work has been carried out under these agreements, and the United States remains firmly committed to collaborating with France over a wide range of disciplines - including civil space, global health, innovation and research exchanges, the environment, and protecting our citizens. Hallmarks of our bilateral cooperation include:

Civil Space

The United States and France have a strong partnership in civil space activities, including human space flight, space science, and Earth observation. In human space flight, the French Space Agency (CNES) has been indispensable to Europe's partnership on the International Space Station, and the Government of France was a key participant in the recent International Space Exploration Forum, where spacefaring nations renewed their commitment to cooperative exploration of the solar system. CNES has been a key partner with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Mars exploration over the past 20 years and continuing into the future with the MAVEN mission that will arrive at Mars later this year. The United States and France are signing an agreement for the Mars Insight mission planned for launch in 2016 and are continuing to negotiate an agreement on solar activity and space weather, both of which will push the boundaries of scientific exploration. Earth Science collaboration with France on a series of currently operating missions is improving life on Earth by enhancing our ability to observe changes in the Earth's systems, which provides such benefits as more accurate weather forecasting and increased understanding of global climate change.

Global Health

In 2014 and 2015, the United States and France will both host events building on the G8 Summit on Dementia, hosted by the United Kingdom in 2013. The United States and France partner on HIV/AIDS research, as well as on neurological aspects of substance abuse. The United States also continues to work jointly with France on computational neuroscience, which is part of President Obama's Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) Initiative. Cooperation between the U.S. government and French and American NGOs includes work to prevent meningococcal meningitis in Africa. Nearly 300 French researchers were involved in National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported grants in FY 2013.

Innovation and Research Exchanges

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) currently supports several hundred research projects involving U.S. and French investigators. This includes 13 bilateral research projects in the areas of nanomaterials, nanochemistry, and joint multi-million dollar investments on supercomputing research infrastructure. France hosts 16 NSF Graduate Research Opportunities Worldwide (GROW) graduate research fellows, the largest number in GROW's first year, which expands international research opportunities and furthers collaborative research between our two countries. The U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has worked with French partner institutions on nanometrology, metals speciation, fire research, information technology, optical lattices, and muonic hydrogen with visiting researchers from each country working in the other.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Office of Research and Development and a French cosmetics firm are investigating new screening methods that are faster, cheaper, and reduce the use of laboratory animals and, if successful, could be used to evaluate thousands of chemicals found in commonly used products. EPA collaborated with another French firm to evaluate nitrogen and ozone air sensor performance, which contributes to efforts to advance low-cost sensor technology for monitoring air quality. Additionally, work between NIST and the University of Pau has advanced understanding of measurement of metal species, particularly in situations associated with environmental contamination.

Homeland Security

Since the signing of the Science and Technology Agreement in December 2008, the United States and France have conducted information sharing activities in the areas of explosives detection, infrastructure protection, and chemical and biological remediation research. Last November, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) conducted a study at Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris, France to evaluate the certification and use of explosives detection dogs. Working with the French Directorate General for Civil Aviation, DHS reviewed the test standards, protocols, methodologies, and operation implementation of canine teams. The two governments also shall conduct information exchanges on chemical and biological risk assessment, detection, forensics, and remediation to advance joint efforts to counter biological threats.

Barack Obama, Fact Sheet: U.S.-France Cooperation on Science and Technology Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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