Identity crisis

Le 20 août 2009, par Jeff,

Until recently, my affiliation and adress, as appeared on my published work, was rather simple. It read :

Department of Geology [1]

University of Stellenbosch

Private Bag X 01

Matieland 7602

With my upcoming relocation to France however, things will get more complex.

I’ll be joining the Université Jean-Monnet in Saint-Etienne (no self-respecting French University would be called by the name of the city where it is located, which would be far too simple) ; in this university, I’ll belong to the Département de Géologie (itself part of the "Faculté de Sciences et Techniques"), for teaching purposes ; and the "Laboratoire Transferts Lithosphriques", for research ; LTL for short [2] (here again, no self-respecting research group would accept to be called by a name as explicit as "Geology" or even "Petrology"). Before you ask — there is indeed a head of Deparment for the Département, and a head of the Laboratoire, not necessarily the same (but, do not worry, these headships are actually purely administrative titles, as the real power lies actually in the hands of the politically strongest people there, regardless of their title). and it is perfectly possible to be part of the Département, but not the Laboratoire ; or of the Laboratoire, but not the Département (not even the University, in some cases).

Confused ? But that is not all. Recently, several institutions in and around the city of Lyon decide to form a loose association, known as PRES [3] : Pôle de Recherche et d’Enseignement Supérieur. In our case, that PRES elected to be called "Université de Lyon", a surprisingly explicit name all considered, although of course the "Université de Lyon" is not an university, not evn a dregree-granting institution. Of course, this new body does not replace any of the old ones [4].

So, my researh affiliation reads

Laboratoire Transferts Lithosphériques

Université Jean-Monnet

Université de Lyon

23, Rue du Docteur Paul Michelon

42023 Saint-Etienne CEDEX [5] 2

and, of course, for teaching purpose it should be

Département de Géologie, Faculté de Sciences et Techniques

Université Jean-Monnet

Université de Lyon

23, Rue du Docteur Paul Michelon

42023 Saint-Etienne CEDEX 2

So far, so good. However...

However, in France, most of the research occurs through the CNRS [6], Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. The CNRS is not a funding agency [7] ; it actually employs a sizable amount of researchers. However, it has no or very few own research units, and mostly works by forming joint research insitutes with universities, in which some CNRS staff is deployed together with academic staff from the associated university. In our case, most of the staff in Saint-Etienne’s LTL actually belong to a larger CNRS/University unit, the UMR6524 (Unité Mixte de Recherche), also known as "LMV" (Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans) [8]. The LMV, incidentally, happens to be based in Clermont-Ferrand, 150 km to the West, and yes we are part both of the Université de Lyon (Lyon is 45 km NE) and the LMV in Clermont.

So, for research purposes, my affiliation is

Laboratoire Transferts Lithosphériques

UMR6524 "Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans"

Université Jean-Monnet - Université de Lyon - CNRS

23, Rue du Docteur Paul Michelon

42023 Saint-Etienne CEDEX 2

Bear with me, we are nearly done ; the LMV is actually supported not only by the CNRS (where it is known as UMR6524), but also by the IRD (Institut de Recherche pourle Développement, an institution that deals with collaborative research with developping countries). Within IRD, the LMV is known as "unit R163".

So, the final affiliation should read

Laboratoire Transferts Lithosphériques

Laboratoire Magmas et Volcans

Université Jean-Monnet - Université de Lyon - UMR6524 CNRS - Unité R163 IRD [9]

23, Rue du Docteur Paul Michelon

42023 Saint-Etienne CEDEX 2

Which should keep everybody happy.

Actually, I believe I’m allowed to omit some of the sponsors from the full affiliation. But since I can not remember which ones, and in which circumstances, I’ll probably stay on the safe side and keep the whole list...

Notes :

[1] Actiually, it changed to "Department of Geology, Gepgraphy and Environmental Studies", and back to "Department of Geology and Environmental Sciences" when the geographers seceded

[2] yes, the French love acronyms

[3] told you, the French love acronyms

[4] In France, you never remove an existing oganization or institution, you just create additional ones tht have the same functions. If you tried to destroy an institution, you would have the worker’s unions up in arms calling for a strike because you are trying to attack the worker’s roghts and to privatize education, as well as jeopardize equality betwen citizens. And all the local mayors and MP’s would be petitionning the governement, explaining that this would kill the economic activity in their consistuency.

[5] CEDEX is yet another acronym for "Courrier d’Entreprise à Distributon EXceptionelle", a Private Bag in the rest of the world.

[6] Did I tell you that the French love acronyms ?

[7] Again, moves to turn it into one were met by strikes and demonstrations by the researchers and academics, stating that the governement was trying to destroy French research potential and sell out to the Big Bad Industry

[8] Yes, you are supposed to know all these names, acronyms and numbers and use them every time you apply for a grant, fill a form, etc.

[9] See why we need all the acronyms ?

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Commentaires de l'article

Le 18 septembre 2009
About your note [5], I have to disagree, unless you consider her gracious Majesty’s kingdom as being outside the rest of the world. Here it’s called "PO Box" (for Post Office Box, I guess).
Le 18 septembre 2009
I guess, HM’s kingdom is one of its kind... :-)
N. Holzschuch
Le 22 janvier 2010
Euh, JF, t’as débranché le filtre à spam ?
Le 25 janvier 2010
Arg. Non, mais je ne sais pas pour quelle raison, il y en a tout pleins qui passent entre les mailles du filet, et souvent sans même que je ne reçoive le mail automatique sensé m’avertir qu’il y a un nouveau commentaire. J’ai le sentiment qu’il y a un bug dans spip (bon, faudrait peut être que je mette à jour vers la version la plus récente, mais j’ai un peu autre chose à faire ces temps-ci...)

Attention !

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