President's Newsletter - AMU INFO n°21

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

Friday, December 18, 2020,

Dear colleagues,
Dear students,

The year 2020 was the year of all challenges for our community. In a few days, we will be able to celebrate its end and wish us all a much better year 2021 under the sign of renewed health and conviviality. I look forward to bringing you all together again and, as I announced at the beginning of the year, to ensuring a real and beautiful quality of life on our campuses.

However, as you know as well as I do, the health context remains fragile. Our conditions on return to the site, in the lecture theatre, in the lecture hall, in the laboratory and in the office, are still subject to the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and to the national measures that will be required.
In this last issue of AMU Info 2020, I would like to inform you of the rules for returning to the classroom that we have already taken for all students and colleagues within AMU for January.

We also end the year with good news for our community, notably with the obtaining of important funding in the framework of calls for projects. We will begin 2021 with the new telework arrangements and new energy. A modernization of our rhythms and tools is certainly underway. Thank you for contributing to this through your daily actions.

I will have the pleasure of outlining AMU's development prospects during the New Year's greetings that I will present to you on 20 January. You will find in this letter the dates of the ceremonies that I hope to have the joy of living with you on site.

Dear all of you, I wish you until then and with a little advance, a good and restful holiday, as well as a beautiful holiday season with your loved ones.

1. The conditions for resumption in January

In a context of crisis that has become very critical for many students in growing distress, I have clearly expressed to many national authorities the urgency of a return to the lecture hall for our students.

We have been heard: the students will be able to return to classes in January in a progressive manner and in compliance with the health measures in force. We have chosen within AMU to return to the site in successive waves, controlling the flow and starting with the first year students (L1, DUT1 and PEIP1) from 11 January 2021, in accordance with the national instructions of 17 December.

Thus, the current system (lectures and tutorials at a distance, practical work possible in the classroom subject to authorization, knowledge assessments possible in the classroom) remains in force until January 11th for students in the first year of Licence (L1), first year of DUT (DUT1) and first year of PEIP (PEIP1). For all other students, the current system remains in place until January 18th .

  • From January 11th to February 4th, for L1, DUT1 and PEIP1 students who are registered, the pedagogical activities for less than 150 students (courses, tutorials and practical work) may be held in person, in strict compliance with sanitary regulations and with the capacity of the rooms divided by two (principle of half-gauge capacity). For courses in amphitheatres with more than 150 students, they remain at a distance (except for students with a digital divide who can be accommodated in the computer room).
  • From 18 January to 4 February for students of other diplomas, the pedagogical activities for less than 150 students (courses, tutorials and practical work) will also resume in the classroom, at mid-measure and in strict compliance with health regulations. For courses in lecture theatres with more than 150 students, they will remain at a distance (except for students with a digital divide, who may be accommodated in the computer room).
  • As of February 4th, if the sanitary situation is good on our territory, the return to campus will concern all students, for all activities, in the respect of sanitary rules and the control of student flows (maintaining the principle of the half-gauge).

Concerning the staff, the working conditions as we know them today will apply until January 11th for those who are not concerned by the preparation of the new student year in person.

Depending on health trends, we will all be back on site on January 11, according to the teleworking arrangements already established within the teams.

2. Student food aid continues during the holidays.

Once again, I would like to thank the many student associations and AMU colleagues who have been mobilized for many months to ensure the distribution of food parcels to several thousand students on our campuses every week, in ever-increasing numbers.

  • During the holidays, distribution will continue with the association on Friday 13th every Saturday: at the entrance to the Luminy campus from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm and in the association's warehouse from 12:00 pm to 2:00 pm (164 boulevard de Plombières in Marseille).
    • During the first week of holidays, a distribution will be carried out by the UNEF on Monday 21/12 on the Aix-en-Provence campus, Tuesday 22/12 on the St Jérôme campus and Wednesday 23/12 on the St Charles campus.
  • The final distributions this week before a recovery in January:
    • This Thursday 17/12 at 15.00 the distribution provided by UNI took place in front of the Faculty of Economics and Management of the Ferry site.
    • On all campuses and remote sites: Tuesday, December 22 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. distribution will be provided by AFMI and CSA. On this day the packages will be more consistent than usual as there will be no distribution the following week, it will resume every Thursday starting January 7th.

3. Financial audit and budget: a healthy financial situation but to be mastered

The budget for AMU 2021 and the employment campaign were approved by the university authorities this month.

A prior financial audit carried out by an independent auditing firm had clearly highlighted the need to control the evolution of the wage bill. The choices made in this respect for this year, legitimised and validated by the Rectorate as it should be, will enable us to have healthy development prospects for our university in the near future.

The audit also highlighted that AMU's prudential indicators are in the green and the comparison made with other universities with comparable organisations and budget amounts confirmed that AMU's finances are healthy.

4. AMU endowed with €61.1 M for building energy renovation: the university best financed by the National Recovery Plan

Within the framework of the call for projects of the national recovery plan dedicated to the energy renovation of the ESR public buildings and student life (for a total amount of €1.316 M) €700 M have been allocated to the universities.

The results unveiled on December 14 by the Government were excellent news for our community, which was awarded €61.2 million to finance 10 of the projects we had submitted.

This financial package is the largest endowment allocated to a university. Our project for the energy rehabilitation of the Faculty of Pharmacy building is also the largest renovation project financed in France within this framework (endowment of €27.7 million). It will enable us to concentrate our efforts under the PCER on projects that have not been awarded a grant and which are now a priority for us, such as the transformation of the Saint Jérôme site.

The 9 other AMU projects funded are :

  • The restructuring of the Health North campus
  • On the Saint-Jérôme site: energy rehabilitation studies for 9 buildings and self-generation of energy
  • On the Saint-Charles campus: energy rehabilitation of building 5
  • On the Saint Charles campus: modernization of hygienic air ventilation with improved energy performance and user comfort
  • The Creation of the Marseille Simulation Center
  • On the Pierre Puget site: modernization of the hygienic air ventilation system with improved energy performance and user comfort.
  • On the Jules Issac site: rationalisation and pooling of heating production using high-performance gas boilers.
  • At the Susini site in North Marseille: strengthening the thermal insulation of the aluminium external joinery.
  • On the MMSH site in Aix en Provence: modernisation of the hygienic air ventilation system with improved energy performance and user comfort.

We also won €2.8 million in another interministerial call for projects "Rapid energy gains".

I would like to remind you of AMU's strong commitment to a rapid energy transition. We have set ourselves the goal of reducing our energy consumption by 60% by 2050. To achieve this, three levers have been activated: reducing energy consumption through sobriety, improving energy efficiency and producing renewable energies. All our future real estate actions will use them. This strategy for sustainable development has positioned us in 2020 in 20th place worldwide in the Times Higher Education "University Impact Ranking". AMU is notably the 12th world university on SDO n°7 entitled "clean and affordable energy". We can be proud of this and continue on this path.

I would like to thank all the many colleagues involved in all these good results.


5. 5. AMU, the best positioned university as a project leader of AMI Equipex+.

The 50 winning projects from the "Equipex+" call for expressions of interest in Structuring equipment for research, selected by Mesri and the General Secretariat for investment, totalling €422 million, have just been announced today. Aix-Marseille University is the university with the most projects as coordinator. The selected projects are now entering a phase of dialogue with the MESRI and ANR teams in order to finalize the funding application.

An international jury has examined the projects submitted following the call for expressions of interest launched as part of the PIA 3's ESR/Equipex+ action, which supports "new facilities of national scope, whose main vocation is scientific research and which promote French scientific leadership".

The 4 winning projects supported by AMU are : CIRCUITPHOTONICS, IDEC, HIPE, IMAGINE. The 9 winning projects in which AMU is a partner: CONTINIUUM, COMMONS, MESONET, TERRA FORMA, TIRREX, F-CELT, e-DIAMANT, OBS4CLIM, T-REFIMEVE.

One project remains in the complementary list: 4D-OMICS. Congratulations and thanks to the teams involved.

6. Vow Ceremonies

It is very important to me to be able to meet again to find conviviality, a keen sense of our action and the pleasure of sharing. The beginning of a new year is traditionally propitious.

Of course, in 2021 we will remain vigilant and we will adapt to any situation. The first ceremony to present my wishes to the staff is scheduled at the Pharo on January 20th, at 1pm. If possible in person, I hope. I will then go to meet you on other sites between January 21 and 29:

  • January 21st at 1pm on the site of Saint Jerome.
  • January 25th at 1pm on the Timone campus.
  • January 26th at 1pm on the Luminy campus
  • January 29th at 1pm on the Schuman campus in Aix

Looking forward to seeing you there.

I wish you all a very happy holiday season.

Click on the sound and animated map :

Meilleurs vœux 2021

And discover an original production of the EV'AMU choir for the festivities by following this link :

A huge thank you to all the talents of AMU.


Éric Berton

President of Aix-Marseille University

Useful links

Other issues of AMU Info

You will find all the issues of AMU Info on this page.

Eric Berton
AMU Info 21
Conditions resumed
food aid
energy refurbishment