1999 - 2013

The Franco-German University

Franco-German University

“Europe’s wealth lies in the talent of its people – the Franco-German University is one such talent shed.” 
Annette Schavan, German Federal Minister of Education and Research at the 10th anniversary of the FGU in 2009

The Franco-German University (FGU) is a binational institution established in 1999 as agreed at the Franco-German summit in Weimar two years earlier. The FGU is a network of more than 180 institutions of higher education in Germany and France which offer a total of 140 integrated binational and trinational degree programmes to some 5,000 students each year. 

The goal of the FGU is to strengthen cooperation between Germany and France in the areas of higher education, research and training of young academics.

The FGU is financed by the German and French governments in equal part, specifically by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Standing Conference of the German State Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs, the French Ministère des Affaires étrangères et européennes and the Ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche.

Map of the FGU network

The FGU celebrated its 10th anniversary in May 2009 in Berlin.

The Franco-German University looks back at 10 years of productive development and transnational cooperation.

Pierre Monnet, Peter Ammon, State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign Office, French Minister of State Bruno Le Maire and Otto Iancu cutting the birthday cake
(l-r) Former President Pierre Monnet, former German Federal President Horst Köhler, Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit, former French ambassador in Germany Bernard de Montferrand

“The Franco-German University has greatly contributed to furthering academic exchange among students and researchers (...), and without its commitment, many German-French university partnerships (...) would not exist today.” – Annette Schavan

“The Bologna Process (...) will continue until 2020, and the Franco-German University will play a significant role in its implementation.” – Dr. Jochen Hellmann

Video still of Dr. Jochen Hellmann, Secretary General
Dr. Jochen Hellmann, Secretary General (since 2009)
Prof. Dr. Pierre Monnet, former Vice President and President (2008-2011)
(l-r) Prof. Dr. Oster-Stierle, Vice President and Prof. Dr. Neau, President
The FGU celebrates its 10th anniversary in Germany’s capital city of Berlin. 

In addition to receiving congratulations from its many supporters on the occasion of its 10th anniversary, the FGU also presented its future plans, e.g. to further develop its programmes and expand its sphere of influence.

How did it all begin? A look back

The 10th anniversary festivities attracted numerous high-ranking officials and politicians.

« L'Université franco-allemande a pour mission le renforcement de la coopération entre les deux parties dans les domaines de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche. A cette fin, elle s'attache à  promouvoir les relations et les échanges entre établissements d'enseignement supérieur français et allemands et à mettre en oeuvre des activités et des projets d'intérêt commun en matière d'enseignement, de formation initiale et continue, de recherche et de formation de jeunes chercheurs. »

Article 3 du Traité de Weimar fait à Weimar le 19 septembre 1997

The FGU was founded in 1999 on the basis of the “Weimar Agreement”. The “Villa Europa” in Saarbrücken, a city located on the border of Germany and France, was chosen as the institution’s official headquarters.

The Villa Europa in Saarbrücken

The goal of the FGU is to strengthen cooperation between Germany and France in the higher education and research sector.

The FGU provides expertise as an umbrella organisation and particularly ensures that:

- as many disciplines and types of higher education institutions are involved as possible

- the joint Franco-German university programmes are as comprehensive and geographically balanced as possible

Discover the FGU!

What has the Franco-German University offered its students in the past years?

- Franco-German Forums

- Bi- and trinational degree programmes

- Graduate schools, cotutelle, summer schools

- Intercultural application training

- Alumni associations/business contacts

The FGU oversees a broad range of activities in the areas of university education and research.
The Franco-German Forum – An annual fair for German and French secondary-school and university students held in Strasbourg since 2003

Each year hundreds of secondary-school pupils travel to the Franco-German Forum to speak with university officials and graduates for advice about the degree programmes available. At the fair, pupils are provided with information about the opportunities of a Franco-German integrated degree programme. 

The Forum is also an ideal opportunity for university students to make new business contacts or cultivate existing ones.


The academic branch of the FGU is composed of research and university education/study.

The area of university education consists of approx. 145 Franco-German and European degree programmes with some 5,000 enrolled students. 

The area of research consists of 25 graduate schools, 14 summer schools, 47 Research workshops for junior researchers and eight funded Franco-German research group partnerships.


University study: Portraits of students and graduates of the FGU 
The Campus Library of Computer Science at Saarland University 

The 22-year-old Julia Druelle studies Law at the Universities of Potsdam and Nanterre. She is now working as a journalist for the daily newspaper “Le Monde” and is mainly interested in the fate of Europe. To gain a better understanding of her subject, she writes about the daily lives of normal people – primarily in Germany and France. For more information about this talented young woman, we invite you to read our blog at: http://ufadfh.blogspot.de/2012/11/schreibende-spurensuche.html 

Julia Druelle, up-and-coming journalist
Two French students of Architecture report about their experiences in an integrate FGU degree programme.

 University partnerships and their integrated degree programmes

• University of Würzburg & CPE Lyon: Chemistry / Process Engineering

• University of Karlsruhe (KIT) & ENSAM Metz: Mechanical Engineering

• ESCP Europe Berlin & ESCP Europe Paris: European Business

• University of Cologne & Université Paris I: Franco-German Law

• Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt & IEP Rennes: Political Science

• PH Freiburg & UHA Mulhouse: Primary and Secondary School Teacher Training 

Björn Kern, novelist

Björn Kern, FGU graduate, studied German Studies in Tübingen and Aix en Provence. He is now a novelist. You can read an interview with Björn Kern on our blog at: http://ufadfh.blogspot.de/2011/04/das-literarische-talent-des-tubaix.html

Intercultural cooperation

In the following video, Emilie discusses her experiences as a student in an integrated degree programme offered by the University of Heidelberg and the EHESS Paris.

Emilie, former History student

Research at the FGU – A broad spectrum of opportunities

Portrait of Claire-Lise Buis, winner of the Dissertation Prize 2009
Dr. Claire-Lise Buis

Dr. Claire-Lise Buis wrote her doctoral thesis in Political Studies under the joint supervision of these programmes at the Otto Suhr Institute of Political Science at the Freie Universität Berlin and at the Écoles Doctorales de Sciences Po Paris.

A film about Nadia Foisil, Franco-German PhD student of “Theatrical Anthropology” at the Universities of Strasbourg and Berlin. She completed her doctoral thesis titled “With Hands and Feet” in a joint supervised doctoral programme.

Nadia Foisil, PhD student

Franco-German graduate schools (FGGS) – Information about this funding instrument 

The DFG awards funding to promote the creation and expansion of Franco-German partnerships in the area of structured PhD programmes. 

Research workshop for junior researchers

In order to promote networking among young researchers and encourage intercultural, Franco-German scientific dialogue, the FGU also supports the creation of Franco-German research workshops for young researchers.   

Experts offer their views on the FGU summer schools.

Learn more about the summer school “Soft Matter Science: Concepts for the Design of Functional Materials” in our video featuring Thomas Witten from the University of Chicago and Philippe Pincus from the University of California Santa Barbara.

In addition to providing high-level academic exchange, the summer schools offer participants a comprehensive view of the Franco-German teaching and research sector, the funding organisations and systems of doctoral training in both countries. The summer schools are also a good opportunity for student to establish contact to German and French research institutes.

By attending the research workshops, conferences, etc. at the summer schools of the Franco-German University, the participants gain further knowledge in their area of expertise while becoming acquainted with current research developments.

The summer schools are open to all disciplines.

Workshop in the intercultural area

What does the FGU offer its students beyond an extensive range of degree programmes and numerous activities in the areas of research, doctoral training, graduate courses and support services before, during and after their studies?

Every year the FGU awards the Dissertation and Excellence Prizes to honour and motivate its best students.

The Excellence Prize comes with 1,500 euros in prize money; the Dissertation Prize winner receives 4,500 euros.

The jury is comprised of professors and sponsors.

Prize winners of the Dissertation and Excellence Prizes 2012 at the French embassy in Berlin. The FGU Excellence Prize recognises the best graduates each year. 
Matthias El Nemer, prize winner in 2012

Matthias El Nemer: Winner of the Excellence Prize 2012 in the field of Economics with the thesis “Lobbyism in Brussels as exemplified by the Association of Automobile Manufacturers with regard to the free trade agreement with India”. After completing vocational training as a banker, Matthias El Nemer, born in 1985, went on to get a Franco-German dual degree in International Management at the Reims Management School and the ESB Business School at the University of Applied Sciences in Reutlingen. Matthias El Nemer served as the student representative of the FGU from 2008 to 2012.

Conferred in 2008 for the first time, the Dissertation Prize goes to the best Franco-German dissertation funded by the FGU each year. The contest is open to all university graduates who have successfully completed their dissertation through an individual cotutelle de thèse programme (binational PhD programme) or in a Franco-German PhD programme. With this joint project, the FGU and its cooperation partners wish to boost young researchers at the start of their career and emphasize the importance of research for the German and French economies. 

This year’s sponsors and supporters include the Rotary Club Berlin Brandenburg Gate and Paris, the Apec (Association pour l’emploi des cadres) and the Robert Bosch Foundation.

Fabien Théofilakis – PhD student at the Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense and the University of Augsburg. He was awarded the Dissertation Prize 2011 for his doctoral thesis “German prisoners of war in French incarceration between 1945 and 1949”.
Prof. Dr. Jochen Mecke 

“The idea of integrated degree programmes, in which German and French students could study together, was a dream I’ve had since my own days at university. Thanks to the FGU, it’s now a reality. Our students gain mastery in the other language, they live and study in the other culture, they help one another and, quite incidentally, are changing the German and French university culture. Later on, they usually find jobs in binational organisations and companies. They are to be envied, because not only do they get to see the other culture with their own eyes, but they see themselves through the eyes of the other culture.” – Prof. Dr. Jochen Mecke

Intercultural application training:

Intercultural application training provides advising and assistance to FGU students and graduates in all areas when applying for jobs in the Franco-German professional field.

Intercultural application training
IKB Business Dinner

Partnerships with the business sector play a significant role for the FGU – be it in the form of sponsoring measures, the participation of FGU students in “business games” or case studies.

Both partners benefit from the positive effects of such cooperative ventures.

Companies have the chance to introduce themselves to students with binational degrees, allowing them to attract prospective interns and recruit future employees. The students and graduates of the FGU, on the other hand, are given the chance to gain professional experience, make important business contacts and receive recognition for their good work.

Francis Mer – former French finance minister, patron of the Friends of the FGU Association

Alumni associations help graduates keep in contact with one another, organise alumni reunions and hold theme-based events.

The FGU supports alumni activities in connection with its binational and trinational degree programmes with a maximum of 2,500 euros per year and association.

The FGU network consists of more than 20 alumni associations of various disciplines – with more joining every year.

What is next for the FGU?

A vision for the future

“Today, at the beginning of a new decade, our nations must join forces to address new challenges, for example, in fighting climate change, economic and financial imbalances and the threat to peace and security.

In a world where new global powers are more confidently asserting themselves, we are convinced that a strong Franco-German partnership is of utmost importance to both our nations and to Europe as a whole.

Germany and France share the same vision for a joint future on the path to 2020.” – Agenda 2020, 4 February 2010

Logo of the Franco-German University

The Franco-German University 

A symbol of Franco-German friendship and a motor of development in the academic area of higher education and the growing cooperation between Germany and France.

The Agenda 2020 – A Joint Future for Germany and France

The Agenda 2020 represents an important milestone in the efforts by France and Germany to expand their university and scientific cooperation. “We are delighted by the decision taken by the Franco-German Council of Ministers to double the number of FGU-funded students, doctoral candidates and researchers by 2020,” explained Prof. Dr. Pierre Monnet, former president of the FGU. “This ambitious goal will ultimately guarantee an education to an additional 10,000 German-French professionals who we need in the business and cultural sectors of our societies. We also plan on expanding our network of degree programmes and participating universities.”

Thanks to this decision, the FGU will be able to develop new scholarships and degree programmes for German and French students and doctoral candidates in next ten years. The new programmes will be designed to meet the economic, scientific and technological demands of tomorrow.


Student of the FGU

The 2011 budget of the Franco-German University (FGU) was raised by one million euros – or 10% – in comparison with the previous year. The federal ministries responsible for funding the FGU wish to further strengthen Franco-German cooperation in the university and research sector as outlined in the Agenda 2020, passed by the Franco-German Council of Ministers in February 2010. “This extraordinary commitment will enable us to support academic mobility of an ever-growing number of students and researchers, promote scientific excellence and discover the talent of tomorrow,” explained Prof. Dr.-Ing. Otto Iancu, President of the FGU. He added that the increase represented an “essential element of the FGU’s growth strategy. We are determined to achieve the goals set for the FGU by the Franco-German Agenda 2020, specifically to double the number of students and doctoral candidates by the year 2020.”

Germany and France ...

“Take advantage of the opportunities provided by an integrated German-French degree programme – you won’t regret it.” – Anne-Sophie Morvan, FGU student

                                                                                                                                                    ... two nations, one future.
Prof. Dr. Neau, President 
Prof. Dr. Oster-Stierle, Vice President

“Together with our partners, we wish to continue strengthening the Franco-German friendship – the driving force of European integration – by promoting mobility, excellence and cosmopolitanism.

We hope we have aroused your interest.”

The University Administration and the FGU team

Credits: Story

Projektleiter — Elsa-Claire Élisée 
Text/ Gestaltung / Übersetzung — Laura Sennica, Annika Thies, Elise Verneyre
Fotos — David Ausserhofer, Michael Fahrig, Iris Maurer 
Videos — Alexander M. Groß (DFH Film, 10-jähriges Jubiläum, Porträt Emilie Gourdon, Claire-Lise Buis, Architekurstudium, Studium der Kunstgeschichte, Porträt Théofilakis, Video Forum), Sophie Kolb (Sommerschule, Portrait Nadia Foisil)
Website — http://www.dfh-ufa.org/de/
Facebook — www.facebook.com/UFADFH  
Twitter — http://twitter.com/DFHUFA
Blog — http://ufadfh.blogspot.com/
Youtube — www.youtube.com/user/UFADFH 
Website Deutsch-Französisches Forum — http://www.dff-ffa.org/de/

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions (listed below) who have supplied the content.
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