News & Events

Science and the future of Franco-British relations


CDN colleague, Dr Clémence Bernard, a postdoctoral researcher in Beatriz Rico’s and Oscar Marín’s labs, has been selected as a 2019 Young Leader by the Franco-British Council to represent and shape the future of Franco-British relations.

The Council, founded in 1972 by then President Georges Pompidou and Prime Minister Edward Heath, came about in the context of an evolving Europe and exists to maintain and enhance relations between France and the UK. It is based in both Paris and London and has the mission to promote constructive and productive dialogue across the breadth of relationships between the countries and ensure strong future collaborations. Through the Council, understanding and joint efforts are fostered by leaders in politics, defence, education, business, culture and, of course, science.

The Council introduced the Young Leader’s programme three years ago to build relationships between key future leaders in the UK and France, giving longevity to collaborations and ensuring Franco-British relations are an integral part of the future for both countries. The programme includes French and British leaders from a wide range of sectors to reflect the interests of the economies and societies.

The Young Leaders programme first came to Clémence’s attention after reading an interview with Dr Aida Todri-Sanial, an electronic physicist and 2018 Young Leader, in Le Journal du CNRS, the French National Centre for Scientific Research. Clémence, who grew up in France and spent most of her summers in the UK, thought it was an excellent opportunity to bring science to the forefront of the Franco-British Council, increasing the reach of science beyond the lab.

Clémence’s application to this prestigious programme was accepted and she has recently attended the first event for this cohort of Young Leaders, a three-day seminar in London (pictured). Co-creations between the Leaders are encouraged and Clémence has already started to build relationships and explore possibilities with her colleagues.

Of the scheme, Clémence said:

”Programmes such as this are even more essential in the face of Brexit. We need to better understand our similarities and divergences to build relations like this at different levels, across the breadth of society… I would encourage anyone in science with an interest in the bilateral relationship to apply”.