Officially established on August 27, 2009, our Foundation is based on the humanist tradition and the scientific excellence of Sorbonne University. With a firm determination to create greater interdisciplinarity, it works to develop concrete solutions for major social issues and ensure the academic influence of Sorbonne University.
Three questions for Barthélémy Jobert, President of the Sorbonne University Foundation
Can you tell us about the Foundation’s history?
It was created in the Fall of 2017, at the time of the finalization of the merger between Paris-Sorbonne and Pierre & Marie Curie Universities. Based on the old UPMC Foundation which had been in existence for 9 years, the new Foundation has continued to pursue the same principal goals: creating a community of private, corporate and institutional donors around the university who participate in meaningful and clearly structured projects. Beyond the financial assistance they provide, this diverse group of individuals contribute to the university’s mission as well as its influence, while simultaneously respecting the autonomy of its teaching and research teams. The current SU Foundation is particularly active in medicine, science, technology, arts and humanities, and the human and social sciences. Singular in its ability to cover so many different fields, it is the leading French university foundation and one of the largest in Europe in terms of funds raised and activities undertaken. The SU Foundation also stands out for its interdisciplinary vocation, precisely calibrated to meet the challenges of the contemporary world.
What actions have already been taken?
The Foundation is based on a group of initiatives that it hopes to expand through the Welcome to the Future campaign. They concern academics, particularly with the unique Passport to the Master’s program. Selected based on an application process and interviews and in accordance with academic and social criteria, students are able to access a fully-funded 5-year higher education program, Master’s degree included, all the while receiving the support of a personalized outside mentor. Research chairs have been created in particularly important areas such as new materials, quantum computing, and oncology. The university’s patrimony has also benefitted from crowdfunding campaigns: private donors have financed, among other things, the restauration and preservation of the zoological collection in the Faculty of Sciences; patient-care manikins, destined for use in pediatric oncology in the Faculty of Medicine, have been purchased to help train students.
What are the Foundation’s goals for the Welcome to the Future campaign?
First of all we hope in the next five years to double the €50 million already raised in order to reach €100 million by 2022. This would make us the most successful of all similar campaigns launched by continental European universities. In doing so, we hope to develop and reinforce a veritable community around Sorbonne University. We believe that a universal institution of knowledge, naturally open to young people and thus to the future and the entire world, will bring our community of donors together. This community will also be encouraged to participate in an increasingly personal way in the life of the university, in order to better participate in the pursuit of knowledge that we undertake on a daily basis.