It may be small in size, but it is big when it comes to excellence in research and teaching.
With 26 professors, 350 students and around a hundred doctoral students, Eurecom, the engineering school specializing in digital sciences in Sophia Antipolis, is like Tom Thumb compared to certain universities. But its vocation is international as evidenced by the 33 nationalities that rub shoulders on campus. Two thirds of its students and teachers come from abroad.
Top 10 in the viewfinder
Eurecom, which will celebrate the thirtieth graduation ceremony on Friday, September 23, will have trained some 3,000 engineers in digital security, communication systems and data science since its creation.
David Gesbert, its director appointed in January after the retirement of Ulrich Finger, who presided over the destiny of the school for two decades, has strong ambitions. The teacher-researcher expert in the communication systems of the future wants to bring Eurecom into the top 10 of the 204 French engineering schools.
To do this, he is counting on the authorization of the Commission des Titres d’Ingénieur (CTI), obtained at the end of 2021, which allows him to issue the title of Eurecom graduate engineer and on the fact of having integrated for this start of the 2022 academic year the joint Mines-Telecom competition. Hence the satisfaction of the director who welcomed this fall “40 students from preparatory classes who will follow a three-year course in English in a multicultural setting”.
A teaching that gives pride of place to practical work since “From the first year, engineering students are in contact with research activities and are confronted with the demands of companies via a major interdisciplinary project”he explains.
A pragmatism that pays off. In the Shanghai 2022 ranking [qui note les principales universités mondiales, ndlr]Eurecom trumps larger establishments by appearing in second position among French universities and colleges in the Telecommunications Engineering category, “just behind the University of Paris-Saclay, but in front of the Institut Polytechnique de Paris”. “These hands in the grease” are highly sought after by companies: “Our students receive three to four job offers before they even graduate.”
A figure that rises to six for female students and “We have at least two calls a day from companies who want to present their businesses to them.”
To play in the big leagues, Eurecom also relies on its other specificity: its structure as an economic interest grouping (EIG), “the only administrative structure in France that allows bringing around the table, French people, foreigners, public and private, academic and industrial partners”.
Its public funding does not exceed 25%, it must seek most of the resources from companies such as Qualcomm “with whom we work on 5G and 6G or even Renault for automotive research”, says David Gesbert. And therefore, to carry out research on the subjects of tomorrow.
Of the hundred or so projects managed by Eurecom, around forty are European and the rest relate to direct contracts with manufacturers. “Our challenge is to be able to carry out research of excellence with funding that is based on competition”insists David Gesbert.
Focusing on telecoms from its beginnings, Eurecom has expanded its teaching and research to digital “transversal to all industries” and artificial intelligence. And the school principal adds: “We have been working on 6G for a long time.” It is also looking closely at quantum and biosciences and will launch a joint incubator with Edhec Business School on October 23. Before starting the 1,200 m2 expansion work to offer everyone a pleasant work and study space.
Tom Thumb is growing well.