Skeptical of U.S. commitment to funding for climate research, American climate scientists are moving to Europe, taking up French President Macron on an offer to fund their research
Louise Nordstrom | France 24
Eighteen climate scientists, 13 of them based in the United States, were named this week as the first beneficiaries of the research grants linked to French President Macron’s “Make Our Planet Great Again” project, which will see them relocate to France.
“The selected projects are of very high standards and deal with issues that are particularly important,” the jury said in a statement, noting its members had received a total of 1,822 applications, of which 1,123 came from the US. A second round of laureates will be announced “during the course of the spring of 2018”, it said.
In all, a total of 50 research grants will be handed out, lasting a minimum of three years and worth between €1 million ($1.17 million) and €1.5 million ($1.76 million) each.
Among Monday’s 18 laureates were senior researchers from prestigious US universities, including Venkatramani Balaji from Princeton, Nuria Teixido from Stanford University and Louis Derry from Cornell University. Although the vast majority of the laureates are currently based in the US, they also include researchers from Canada, India, Italy, Poland and Spain.
“The laureates will settle in France in the next few months,” the jury said.
Thank you for your answer to this first call, your decision to move and come to Paris. Here you have a hub to do more. pic.twitter.com/TFoGRLG5J8
— Emmanuel Macron (@EmmanuelMacron) December 11, 2017
In France, the scientists will conduct research on a wide array of topics, including how global warming impacts natural catastrophes like hurricanes, the health implications of climate change and how a warmer planet can affect the circular economy.
Macron’s research initiative is a direct rebuke of US President Donald Trump’s June decision to pull his country out of the 2015 Paris climate change accord.
Macron, whose administration created YouTube videos and set up a website to promote the project, called on foreign researchers, and in particular US-based scientists, to come to France to fill the research void created by Trump and his decision.