FRANCE: Super-university aims to be in global top 10

In farm fields south of Paris, billions of euros are being ploughed into a new modern university campus designed to rival Harvard, MIT and Cambridge as one of the world's best, reports AFP. The Paris-Saclay super-campus is France's answer to years of decline in higher education, with the result that the nation's best university only ranks 40th in the world.

France, a country that builds state-of-the-art nuclear reactors, super-fast trains and boasts cutting-edge aerospace, now wants to show off its brain-power in scientific research and learning. "Our goal is to rank among the top 10 universities in the world," said Herve Le Riche, who heads the 4.4-billion-euro project (5.9 billion dollars) in Saclay, a plateau of grain fields dotted with clusters of modern buildings.

Already home to some top-notch colleges such as the Polytechnique engineering school, the new campus will start opening its doors in 2015 as a grouping of 23 universities, colleges and research institutes. The ambitious project enjoys the backing of one key figure: President Nicolas Sarkozy whose government is digging deep into its pockets to make the dream of a world-class university a reality.
Full report on the France24 site