Science ‘super-campus’ plan in disarray

French ambitions to create a €5 billion (US$5.4 billion) science ‘super-campus’ near Paris by 2020 seem to be falling further apart, after a compromise scheme to save the troubled project was rejected by one of its creators, writes Barbara Casassus for Nature.

In 2010, the country’s then-president Nicolas Sarkozy unveiled plans to make the cluster of private and public research labs in Saclay, 30 kilometres south-west of the capital, into a large integrated research university that by 2020 would shine in international rankings and would rival institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

In February, a report by France’s government auditor declared that plans were “at a standstill”. In an effort to move forward, a small group of institutions proposed an alternative structure for the cluster that bears little resemblance to the original vision; it would be a kind of half-way house between the existing loose cluster of institutions and a fully integrated university. But, in a sudden reversal, one of the institutions involved in the plan's creation refused to endorse the new structure.
Full report on the Nature site