Wine and jazz woo academic nomads

August 10, 2001

Research into neurobiology laced with visits to Bordeaux vineyards; seminars on European enterprise combined with jazz and Paris museums; studies on the communications society complemented by guided tours of Strasbourg.

These are among the 38 projects of Universités Européennes d'Eté, in which French universities are hosting courses, lectures and debates in fields from biotechnology to French language until September and beyond - and adding cultural diversions in free time.

Advanced students, academics and researchers of all nationalities are invited to sign up for their specialities in a summer programme subsidised by the education ministry, regional authorities and cultural associations.

Conditions vary between universities, with courses lasting from two days to four weeks. Most programmes are in French, but some are wholly or partly in English. In a few cases everything - including return transport - is free; others are heavily subsidised.

Education minister Jack Lang said the projects aimed to encourage European students and teachers to mix, and he hoped other countries would follow suit.

"My ambition is to spread the idea throughout Europe, for each country to have its own initiatives. Summer in Europe will resemble a huge university with students from Barcelona, Rome and London, as in the Middle Ages, encouraging a sort of intellectual nomadism," he said.

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