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HFSP 25th Anniversary - Strasbourg

A special event to commemorate the 25th anniversary of HFSP was held on October 28 2014 in Strasbourg to pay tribute to the host city of the HFSP Secretariat.

Madame Catherine Trautmann addresses guests at the reception at the Hôtel de Ville

For 25 years the city of Strasbourg and the Region Alsace have been important partners of the Program. Lilla Merabet, Vice-President of the Regional Council, welcomed some 50 guests to the Maison de la Region, followed by welcoming remarks from HFSPO President Nobutaka Hirokawa and Alain Beretz, President of the University of Strasbourg. Beretz emphasized the eminent role of modern universities as a major thrust for innovation in the dynamic landscape of globalization. However, he reminded the audience that attempts by governments to over-regulate universities are prone to failure. The University of Strasbourg played a vital role in the early days of HFSP’s operations in Strasbourg and Prof. Beretz thanked the Program for maintaining its rigor in supporting frontier research in basic life sciences.

The scientific part was opened with a memorable talk from Anne Houdusse, Institut Curie, about her career built on HFSP support. Early in her research, she benefitted from an HFSP Long-Term Fellowship allowing her to work in the United States. This support provided her with a unique opportunity to expand her knowledge and skills which on her return to France would lay the foundation to start her own laboratory. Receiving an HFSP Program grant later on was instrumental in establishing the reputation of her research laboratory.

This was followed by a keynote talk by Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President of the European Research Council (ERC), who reminded the audience that HFSP was a blueprint for the establishment of the ERC as the organization that has taken on the support of “Frontier Research”. He emphasized that it takes organizations such as HFSP to provide competitive support to advance innovation but also to overcome structural barriers that still limit scientific research.

An evening reception was hosted by the City of Strasbourg at the Hotel de Ville in the presence of former Minister and Mayor of Strasbourg and currently Vice President of the City of Strasbourg Catherine Trautmann. The guests were reminded of the spirit of trust which characterizes HFSPO: trust in the relationship between funding partners and in the ability of young scientists to accomplish great things.

To mark the 25 years of the Program in Strasbourg, three trams decorated with the HFSP logos will circulate in the city for a period of six months. The 'HFSP Tram' was inaugurated in the presence of Catherine Trautmann and HFSP Secretary General Ernst-Ludwig Winnacker on the 15 October.

HFSP is thankful to its local hosts and looks forward to continuing the successful collaboration with Strasbourg and the Region Alsace.

The full programme of the meeting can be found here.