UCL EDUCATE launches Paris hub to boost the French edtech market

Business Sector, Education Sector, Education Select Committee

UCL EDUCATE is to launch its first international venture, EDUCATE France, to support French entrepreneurs and startups working on the design and development of evidence-based edtech.

The programme is a partnership between the Département du Val d’Oise, CY Cergy Paris Université (a new higher education institution created on 1 January 2020 regrouping the University of Cergy-Pontoise and EISTI engineering school) and ESSEC Business School.

The launch will take place today (28 November 2019) at the Futures Composes conference, in Paris, with the first cohort of companies joining the research accelerator in April 2020.

The collaboration builds on UCL EDUCATE team’s extensive edtech expertise and their experience accrued over the last three years running EDUCATE London at its base at UCL Knowledge Lab, in London, where it has worked with more than 250 edtech SMEs and startups.

This latest venture will bring the different sectors of French education, research and business together to build evidence-led, fit-for-purpose edtech.

EDUCATE France aims to bring to the French education system the best that science and technologies can offer. Its innovative approach will give edtech companies the research tools and methods they need to ensure the efficacy of their solutions, leading up to better educational outcomes for all.

EDUCATE France will bring together entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers and students to develop new, technological solutions to many of the challenges facing educators and learners, and will help French edtech entrepreneurs to develop, test and evaluate their products using a structured approach.

In supporting this project, the Department of Val d’Oise, which has responsibility for the running of 111 middle schools, plans to strengthen its support to students and help its teachers deliver better teaching every day.

The launch of EDUCATE France will also connect additional partners – including AFINEF, ATOS, the Banque des Territoires, EdTech France, MGEN, the Région Ile-de-France, the Rectorat de Versailles and Ubisoft – to support the delivery and growth of EDUCATE France into a major force in the country’s edtech landscape.

Professor Rose Luckin, the founding director of UCL EDUCATE, and professor of learner-centred design at UCL Institute of Education, said the launch of EDUCATE France was an important development in the organisation’s expansion beyond the UK.

“Edtech is a burgeoning industry in France, with growing investment in the sector and home to some of the most interesting innovation currently taking place in Europe,” Professor Luckin said. “It feels appropriate and sensible, therefore, that we should engage in this collaboration so we can share our expertise, knowledge and experiences on a pan-European basis.

“EDUCATE France is the first of what we hope will be many similar ventures with partners overseas, and we look forward to working closely with our French colleagues and associates to take edtech design and development forward – for the benefit of learners everywhere.”

Marie-Christine Cavecchi, President of the Val d’Oise County Council, is proud of hosting this venture: “The Val d’Oise County, which is located to the north-west of Paris and has a population of more than 1.2 million people, has one of the youngest populations in the country, with 63,000 students in 111 public middle schools (for pupils aged 10-14 years old). In this context, EDUCATE France will enable us to bring together teachers, researchers and companies around our common goal: the educational success of all students.

“Through innovation, and in partnership with the French Ministry of Education, Val d’Oise County Council aims to position itself as a pioneering laboratory for edtech in France.”

François Germinet, president of CY Cergy Paris Université, said: “The launch of this initiative with the Val d’Oise County Council and ESSEC is a great opportunity for CY Cergy Paris Université to enhance our relationships with edtech companies and provide them with outstanding support through our training courses and research laboratories.

“Together with both edtech and local stakeholders, we will co-create the tools and services of tomorrow aimed at the different levels of education, and thus improve the success of all learners.”

Vincenzo Esposito Vinzi, dean and president at ESSEC Business School, said: “True to its pioneering spirit, ESSEC is now partnering with EDUCATE, an innovative and trail-blazing programme that has just launched in France.

“This mentoring programme will benefit the Val d’Oise region and foster an ecosystem that will facilitate the development of increasingly advanced technology,” he added. “The needs and complexity of primary and secondary education, higher education, and training, are constantly increasing with the transformation of learning methods.

“ESSEC’s expertise in supporting startups, together with the energy and dynamism of the edtech sector and the high quality of the local academic partners, are very promising for this initiative.”

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