Rise in US climate scientists wanting work in France

Applications from 154 researchers have been logged after President Emmanuel Macron's call

There has been a spike in applications for foreign researchers - especially from the USA - to come and work in France after the United States’ departure from the Paris climate agreement. 

Applications from 154 researchers, especially Americans, have been logged after President Emmanuel Macron officially called on foreigners to come to France to “work here with us” to “find concrete solutions to protect the climate”.

Macron called the call ‘Operation Make Our Planet Great Again’, as a play on words of American President Trump’s campaigning slogan, ‘Make America Great Again’, following the USA’s controversial decision to leave the Paris climate agreement.

Applications to work in France have been received from researchers across 97 nationalities, with half said to be American, according to the journal Nature and the newspaper Le Parisien.

The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) is set to choose 80 researchers in mid-September, with those shortlisted invited to refine their application ahead of a final selection of 50 ‘winners’ chosen to join the project in mid-November.

The deadline for applications is August 31.

Although Americans have described it as ‘attractive’, Macron’s plan has not been without its critics in France, due to the expected €60 million cost - half of which will be paid by the state.

Some have suggested that French universities - already under financial pressure - will be affected by the influx of qualified researchers, but the French minister for higher education, research and innovation (in French, ministère de l’Enseignement Supérieur, de la Recherche et de l’Innovation) has reassured universities that the project will not affect them.

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