FRANCE: Smallest university created

France has established its 85th university – and its smallest - in the southern town of Nîmes.

Known as Unimes, the institution has been upgraded from its previous status as a university centre of training and research. It is the country’s first new university since 1995 and, with only 3700 students is dwarfed by the more than 50,000 who attend the three universities in Montpellier, 50 kilometres away.

Creation of Unimes goes against a trend in France of universities merging into bigger establishments to increase international visibility and develop research. The little institution will be a member of a future centre of research and higher education bringing together other institutions in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.