Nantes Université’s NExT initiative awarded label of excellency

03/23/2022 | by Justine Le Garsmeur | Health Nantes

Nantes Université is awarded state funding for the Nantes Excellency Trajectory (NExT) project. Among other things, the initiative is to enhance international synergies and partnerships, such as in the framework of EUniWell.

The visual shows the campus of Nantes Université with the logo of the NExT initiative in the front. It says: "NExT - Health and Engineering"

The Nantes Excellency Trajectory (NExT) initiative has been awarded the label of excellency. Initially recognised as an “Initiative for Science, Innovation and Economy” in February 2017 for a pilot phase, the NExT project received its definitive designation on 10 March 2022 and will therefore receive annual state funding of €9.3 millions.

What is NExT?

The NExT (Nantes Excellence Trajectory) initiative is one of the French national university projects “Initiatives for Science, Innovation, Territories and Economy” selected in the framework of the governmental plan “Investment for the Future”, which allocates financial resources for excellency projects, aiming at developing world-class French universities. 

The NExT initiative incorporates two key fields:

  • Health of the future: innovative biotherapies, nuclear medicine and cancer, and precision medicine. In Nantes, research in Health Sciences has developed considerably over the last 20 years, largely supported by the University Hospital, Ecole Centrale (now both members of Nantes Université), the Pays de la Loire region, and national research institutes (including INSERM). Nantes has thus demonstrated its ability to attract national and international researchers and to integrate fundamental biology and clinical research, allowing, over the last two years, the creation of research units bringing together over 330 researchers.
  • Industry of the future: Advanced Production Technologies and Ocean Engineering. Engineering is a major academic strength of Nantes Université, with strong support from CNRS and NExT associated partners. The discipline brings together 670 researchers in 8 major laboratories. Based on scientific excellence in areas such as process engineering and materials characterisation, ocean engineering and hydrodynamics, robotics, numerical modelling, simulation and optimisation, the overall objective is to create a highly innovative research and training ecosystem in areas related to the industry of the future.

A major step for Nantes Université

The NExT initiative label of excellency is a key step in the development and attractiveness of Nantes Université.

The financial resources allocated, €9.3 million per year, plus contributions from local authorities and companies, will contribute to the development of numerous projects, such as strategic partnerships with key universities in these two thematic areas, attracting international researchers, development of innovative and attractive training courses, the construction of a complete innovation ecosystem in conjunction with socio-economic players, as well as increased support for campus life and student life.

Carine Bernault, President of Nantes Université, praised the collective work that led to this definitive accreditation: “In all the phases of the project, even the most difficult ones, we have been able to persevere and adapt while remaining faithful to our ambitions and values. We can be proud of this recognition, for our institution and for our project for an excellent, sustainable and open university."

Enhancing the continuum between research, industry and open science initiated by Nantes Université   

Prof. Olivier Grasset, Vice-President for Research and Open Science said: “The label of the NExT project will enable us to enhance the synergies created by the new higher education and research institution Nantes Université, as well as the collaborations initiated in the fields selected by EUniWell: Sustainable Cities, Health and Well-being, Strong Institutions...But also within additional sustainable development goals in which our university is committed, such as clean energies, industrialisation and innovation.”

A major asset for the internationalisation of our training offer 

Prof. Isabelle Richard, Vice-President for European Affairs and International Relation commented: “In the framework of NExT initiative, we’re going to create new international master’s degrees, entirely taught in English, in the two key thematic fields of industry of the future and health of the future, as well as ten graduate programmes, coordinated by four graduate schools: Health Sciences and Technologies, Engineering and Systems, Mathematics and ICT, Matter, Molecules and Materials.

Some of the courses taught in English will be accessible to all the students within EUniWell, thus fostering student mobility between our campuses, and contributing to the development of tomorrow’s EUniWell curricula and degrees.”    


Funding partners:

  • Agence nationale de la recherche (ANR)
  • European Union
  • Région Pays de la Loire
  • Nantes Métropole


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