French Government Fellowships

The idea that Churchill College might host visiting Fellows sponsored by the French Government was the brainchild of Sir John (Jock) Colville (1915-1987), seemingly to provide an explicit way for France to contribute to Sir Winston’s memorial. Colville had been Churchill’s Private Secretary during and after the Second World War; he was very well connected in diplomatic and financial circles and had been instrumental in helping to raise funds for the establishment of the College. He was elected an Honorary Fellow in 1971 and continued to work enthusiastically on behalf of the College.

In February 1975, apparently on his own initiative, he wrote to the French Ambassador in London, M. Jaques de Beaumarchais, suggesting that the French Government might like to fund a Fellowship at Churchill College, to be held by visiting French academics. He listed the five Frenchmen who had held Overseas Fellowships at the College in the preceding decade (two professors of physics and three of French literature) and suggested that, given the science bias of the College, support for French scientists might be most appropriate.

Following consultation with the French Government the Ambassador responded in July with an offer of 100,000 Francs to initiate a Fellowship scheme, which the College gratefully accepted, and a formal exchange of letters took place in early 1976. Colville’s subsequent attempts to secure additional funds from Mme. Pol Roger and Moet & Chandon (a nod to Churchill’s love of champagne), as a permanent endowment, were unsuccessful.

The first two academics specifically sponsored by the French Government came to Churchill College in the autumn of 1976:  Dr Christian Colliex, a physicist based in CNRS, Université de Paris Sud, who collaborated with Archie Howie and Prof Claude Bergman, a physiologist from Université de Paris VII, who worked with Richard Keynes. Early visitors were given the title of Fellow Commoner, but from 1983 they were accorded the status of Overseas Fellow. Since 1976, Churchill College has welcomed 57 French academics as French Government Fellows, usually for periods between 6 months and a year.  The complete list appears below. 

Celebratory events were organised in College to mark the 30th and 40th anniversaries of the French Government Fellowship scheme, with booklets to record some of the memories and impressions of past Fellows. More information about these events can be found at:

www.chu.cam.ac.uk/media/uploads/files/Petite_Histoire_consolidated_-_8_July_14_2.pdf

www.chu.cam.ac.uk/about/publications/celebration-french-government/

 The past Fellows have also formed themselves into an informal Association that meets annually in the College and maintains contacts through churchillconnect.com

Applications for French Government Fellowships are managed by the Science Counsellor at the French Embassy in London.The Embassy issues an annual call for applications in France, and prepares a short-list of applications received for consideration by the College’s Fellowship Electors. Fellowships are now offered without restriction on subject or seniority, 2, 3 or 4 each year as funds allow. 

Full list of French Government Fellows at Churchill College

Colliex

Christian

1976

Physics

Bergman

Claude

1976

Physiology

Guierre

Lionel

1977

Linguistics

Crépon

Michel

1978

Oceanography

Dexpert

Hervé

1978

Materials Science

Feix

Marc

1980

Theoretical Plasma Physics

Janot

Christian

1981

Solid State Physics

Feuillebois

François

1981

Physics

Dubois

Jean-Marie

1982

Materials Science

Friedel

Jacques

1983

Solid State Physics

Cuisenier

Jean

1984

Social Anthropology

Galey

Jean-Claude

1988

Social Anthropology

Schnapp

Alain

1989

Archaeology

Andreau

Jean

1990

Social Sciences

Bourguignon

François

1992

Economics

Rosetta

Lyliane

1993

Biological Anthropoloy

Guiard

Yves

1996

Experimental Psychology

de Bougrenet de la Tocnaye

Jean-Louis

1997

Engineering

Champion

Yannick

1999

Materials Science

Lebras

Hervé

2002

Social Sciences

Lavery

Richard

2003

Biology & Physical Chemistry

Thibault-Starzyk

Frédéric

2003

Chemistry

Jami

Catherine

2004

History of Chinese Mathematics

Cossu

Carlo

2007

Hydrodynamics

Sellier

Antoine

2007

Fluid Mechanics

Gaigeot

Marie-Pierre

2008

Physics and Physical Chemistry

Lesaffre

Pierre

2008

Astronomy

Genin

Emmanuelle

2009

Genetics

Meyrand

Pierre

2009

Biology

Cohen

Serge

2010

Mathematics

Calvo

Florent

2010

Chemical Physics

Thébaud

Christophe

2011

Evolutionary Biology

Di Meglio

Jean-Marc

2011

Physics

Delenne

Jean-Yves

2012

Physics

Garnier

Emmanuel

2012

Climate and Health

Charmantier

Anne

2012

Evolutionary Biology

Guessasma

Sofiane

2013

Mechanical Engineering

Rouquette

Sebastien

2013

Mechanical & Civil Engineering

Thalabard

Jean-Christophe

2013

Human Reproductive Ecology

Parent

Eric

2013

Environmental Engineering

Dragomirescu

Daniela

2014

Electrical Engineering

Holcman

David

2015

Computational Biology

Pichon

Christophe

2015

Astrophysics

Chambolle

Antonin

2015

Applied Mathematics

Géli

Louis

2015

Geoscience

Vanhove

Pierre

2015

Mathematics

Pier

Benoît

2015

Fluid Dynamics

Keller

Julien

2015

Mathematics

Arimondo

Paola

2016

Haematology

Roch

Jean-Francois

2017

Physics

Michelin

Sebastian

2017

Fluid Dynamics

Vandamme

Matthieu

2017

Civil Engineering

Boudaoud

Arezki

2017

Biosciences

Bierne

Nicolas

2018

Genetics

Peter

Patrick

2018

Cosmology

Bénatouil

Thomas

2019

Ancient philosophy

Boussahba-Bravard

Myriam

2019

History

Berthier

Ludovic

2019

Physics

Gasser

Gilles

2020

Biochemistry

Legendre

Eveline

2020

Mathematics