AMU INFO - Special COVID19 - n°8

Newsletter from the President of Aix-Marseille University to the entire university community.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020,

Dearly beloved,

The President of the French Republic announced on Monday evening: the progressive exit of containment is envisaged on May 11th in France if the sanitary evolution is confirmed to be reassuring for everyone's security. Once again, I thank you for always scrupulously respecting the instructions in force on social distancing and barrier gestures: stay at home, wash your hands frequently with soap, cough and sneeze into your elbow or under protection, avoid hugs.
BIATSS staff in central and component services, teacher-researchers and researchers in research units are concerned by the gradual return to university. A business resumption plan (BRP) will specify which of them are the priority personnel to find colleagues and the way to the offices on our sites and campuses. Individual and collective health protection equipment (masks, hydroalcoholic gel, plexiglass windows in public areas) is being ordered and will be put in place to guarantee our safety. I will specify them to you later. On the other hand, the students will only resume their classroom learning from September onwards. In addition, the cancellation of our events is extended until the end of July.

The return to our sites will therefore be very gradual and, of course, in safe sanitary conditions for all of us. I look forward to seeing you soon. However, let us always remain confined. This is the watchword for the next four weeks. And unfortunately, there is no guarantee that the virus will not bounce back. Four special weeks during which I will maintain our ties and ensure that our AMU community remains united and mobilized. Let's remain prudent, let's remain confident, let's remain united.

Take good care of yourselves.

1. Organisation of the reviews

The exam guide was discussed at length among CFVU members yesterday. A single, amended text emerged from these discussions. This text was voted on and adopted, without any vote against, today in the CFVU as a general framework for the organisation of university exams within AMU. Each component will use it tomorrow to adapt the organisation of the exams in each discipline, according to its specificities.
It is important to note that this text is the result of a three-week work carried out in full consultation with the heads of the components, with elected students, with the national network of Vice-Presidents for Education and in connection with the MESRI. It has been co-constructed with a wide open-mindedness and listening skills, starting from a new position that puts the student at the heart of our reflections. This exam guide aims to value the work of students and teaching teams in this period of crisis, while supporting the most troubled confined students. For more information on the Student FAQ or the exam guide, please download it here.

2. Solidarity actions

  • Here's a brief review of the manufacture of AMU protective visors on 3D printers, following the AP-HM's call for help on social networks. We have supplied 2,845 visors to hospital structures, mostly to our colleagues at the AP-HM, but also to hospitals in Aix, Allauch, Aubagne, Toulouse, European hospitals, Clairval, Beauregard, the Clinique de la Salette, the Autism Centre... Many thanks for your commitment and solidarity with the nursing staff.
  • Food distribution continued this Easter weekend with more than 900 parcels sent to the university cities of Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. In connection with the political team, many staff and students volunteer every week for the packaging and distribution of parcels: a thousand thanks. Thanks to you, the distribution logistics chain is improving every day and an even greater number of parcels will be distributed next week to students. In addition, following our internal surveys and social interviews conducted by the CROUS, chips enabling high-speed connections and 350 computers will be provided to students identified in the digital divide.
  • The duration of the confinement can lead to various problems, including psychological suffering related to feelings of loneliness, distance from family and friends, deprivation of freedom, inability to act, anxiety related to the illness or bereavement... these are some of the problems managed by our SIUMPPS and SUMPP teams during telephone exchanges with students and staff. SMS messages to staff and students were sent again last week to remind them of the call numbers of occupational psychologists, social workers and doctors. Students can also be put in touch with a sophrologist if they wish. In addition, you will find online the national emergency numbers and numbers for people in danger, do not hesitate to share them. This too can save lives.

3. Research information

Recruitment of teacher-researchers at AMU for September 2020: organization of the Selection Committees (SSC)

As the submission of nominations was postponed until 9 April 2020, no CDS meeting could be held before then. As certain applications (transfers and/or priority secondments - exemption from qualification or diploma) had to be validated by the restricted academic council (CACr) and then by the board of directors, the holding of these bodies by videoconference within AMU resolved the problem, in compliance with the rules.
It is therefore now possible to meet remotely to examine applications, which is the first stage of the CDS. On the other hand, the second stage, which consists of interviewing candidates, still raises questions that are not resolved by the decrees. New ministerial texts should quickly provide clarifications so that we can organise these hearings. The timetable we are following within AMU is as follows:

  • The deadline for applications in the GALAXIE software was April 9. An e-mail was sent to each head of structure on March 31.
  • RAC advice on priority transfers/detachments, waiver of qualification: April 16.
  • RAC Notice on Priority Deployments/Secondments with Prior Positive RAC Advice: April 17.
  • CDS access to applications: April 20th.
  • End of the work of the CDS dedicated to the selection of candidates admitted to audition: May 7th.
  • End of the CDS remittances: June 7th

In the context of these recruitments, it is important to note this year an initiative by the Vice-Presidency for Gender Equality and the Faculty of Science to combat unconscious discriminatory bias. Awareness of implicit gender bias will be raised among the CDS juries of this Faculty through the execution of a short computer task and the viewing of mini-videos explaining the effects of such bias. It is not a question of blaming or evaluating the members of the selection committees. Implicit gender biases are powerful automatisms acquired over time, present in most of us, women and men. They can influence the most rigorous juries. The action taken here is based on scientific findings that show that awareness of the existence of these biases and explanation of their subtle process of influence at the cognitive level allows the individual to help identify and counter them during the evaluation and ranking decisions of candidates.

Defense of theses and HDR

Thesis defences can be held at a distance from the candidate and jury members, all by videoconference. This dematerialization is strictly reserved for the current period of health crisis and can only be considered if it is impossible to postpone the defense to a later date. A message specifying the modalities of such an organization was sent to the personnel concerned (doctoral students and thesis directors). This exceptional procedure will soon be extended to Habilitation to Conduct Research (HDR).

The frequently asked questions dedicated to research:

Identify all the good ideas:

MESRI asked each university to mobilize all the good will, ideas, initiatives of all kinds and from all disciplines that will make it possible, in the short term, to improve the crisis situation and plan its exit. The aim is not to propose medium or long-term research projects but innovative actions that could quickly become a solution to one aspect of the crisis linked to COVID-19. Thus, a COVID-19 Research and Expertise Analysis Committee (CARE) has been created by the President of the Republic. It is chaired by Françoise Barré-Sanoussi, Nobel Prize for Medicine.

Its role: to list all the scientific, therapeutic, technological proposals... that will enable us to tackle the situation immediately or in the short term. This committee will help the deployment of the relevant proposals, including on a large scale, by identifying possible points of blockage. The aim is to mobilise research forces on urgent and essential subjects, identifying useful interactions in order to gain time and efficiency for the application of pragmatic solutions. The CARE will meet weekly to examine the proposals submitted. You can freely contribute to it via this link

In our context of crisis, CCIAM and MPPC facilitate access to intensive computing resources (HPC, grid, cloud, storage) necessary for the smooth running of research projects related to COVID19 :

Prioritisation of work, support for the different modalities, automation of tasks... in particular the common HPCBoost programme, which is specifically dedicated to risk and safety issues and allows for faster processing of these projects. For more information: Aix-Marseille High-Performance Computing Centre and Marseille Particle Physics Centre.

4. Contribute to the European hackathon #EUvsVirus

The European Union is organising a hackathon to develop and support innovative solutions to the VIDOC-19 pandemic. Individuals or groups of students, researchers, administrative staff, start-ups, training managers, you can freely propose your ideas, to make phosphorus your skills, your experiences or your projects in the fields "Health & Life", "Business Continuity", "Social & Political Cohesion", "Remote Working & Education", "Digital Finance" and "Other". Your participation will make you collaborate with virtual partners from the 27 countries of the European Union during 20 hours of hackaton.
I warmly invite you to contribute.
Let our solidarity play out on the European scene, let your talents and AMU colours shine through in conjunction with the members of our CIVIS alliance: #AixMarseilleVsVirus ; #CIVISvsVirus

  • Challenge hacktathon from April 24th to 26th. Information and registration:

5. PIA 3: obtaining the "PANORAMA" project

It may seem intrusive in this "special COVID-19" issue, but I wanted to share this collective success, which adds to our community's record of achievement under the Future Investments Program (FIP). The PANORAMA project, led by AMU with numerous partners, was validated and obtained funding of 7.5 million euros over 10 years to promote the good orientation of high school students towards university, especially those from the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Congratulations to the teams that worked on this success, the former political team and the new governance team, who made the connection perfectly. More information here.

6. Let's keep the connection and our positive thoughts

- As we have been doing for a few weeks, we post your contributions on the image and video gallery that we renew with each issue. Don't hesitate to let us know about your confined daily life!

  • To discover it, follow the following link: click here
  • To participate and add a contribution (image, video), go here : click here

- A "special containment" contest is launched this week with several stages and prizes to be won at each stage.

- As always, be physically active, even in confined spaces! More and more connections are being made during Facebook live and replays are provided on this web page.

Take good care of yourself and everyone else,

Éric Berton

President of Aix-Marseille University

Useful links

Other issues of AMU Info

You will find all the issues of AMU Info on COVID19 by going to this page

Eric Berton
AMU Info 8
Information for staff and students