Big news for Chicago after president of France visits U.S.

French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the United States brought news of a big deal for Chicago.

The University of Chicago will work with the top science organization in France to create a research center in Hyde Park.

"The idea is that it asks the big questions and solves the world's big challenges. You think about things like climate, energy, sustainability, public health, migration," said Katie Hrinyak, UChicago, assistant vice president for global initiatives and strategy at UChicago.

Hrinyak says the quick signing at the French Embassy to finalize this deal was years in the making.

UChicago and the French National Center for Scientific Research will establish a place on the Hyde Park campus called the International Research Center for Fundamental Scientific Discovery, or IRC Discovery.


"I actually think the fact that CRS (Center for Scientific Research) chose to base that in Chicago at the University of Chicago really signifies Chicago's growing prominence on a world stage," said Hrinyak.

UChicago already has a tight relationship with France and is expanding its footprint in Paris with a research institute under construction.

Why is it so important to create this global connection? Hrinyak says COVID-19 is a great example of when researchers around the world worked together to develop vaccines.

"The speed at which we were able to create a vaccine and mRNA vaccine to address the pandemic, it would not have been possible without international collaboration. And in France, you have some of the best science happening in the world and that really complements our own strengths here at the University of Chicago," she said.

Now that the agreement is signed, the hope is to launch as early as next spring.