University president is Macron’s new minister for HE

Frédérique Vidal was appointed Minister for Higher Education, Research and Innovation on 17 May, in the new government of Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, under President Emmanuel Macron.

A professor of genetics and molecular biology, she was elected president of the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis in April 2012, and re-elected in April 2016 for a second four-year term.

Vidal is one of the new ministers appointed from ‘civil society’ to the government which will serve at least until the French general election in June.

Welcoming her appointment, the Conférence de Présidents d’Université said: “The decision to appoint a minister who is fully active in higher education and research, while adding innovation, a field in which the French universities are playing a key role, is indeed an excellent signal to the university community, and the women and men who run it.

“There are many challenges for our institutions, while an increasing number of students are expected at the next academic year and our economic and scientific competitiveness depends more than ever on the investment and confidence the government grants to the universities.”

The new Minister for National Education is Jean-Michel Blanquer, until now dean of Essec Business School, and previously director-general of schools education at the education ministry until 2012.