AGERA, the Alliance of the Grandes Écoles in Rhône-Alpes, is a regional association that brings together higher education institutes into a network.  Forty Grandes Ecoles from the Auvergne Rhone-Alps Region are members of this network, which caters for around 33.000 students, in other words, 12% of the Region’s student population.

Given its size, AGERA is the largest regional conference of schools in France. It works in close collaboration with the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles, the national body and regionally relays the projects that are implemented nationally or spearheads proposals in relation to initiatives entered into in the region.

The plurality of the training courses and Schools that are members of AGERA (with different statuses and supervising Ministries) contribute a wealth of experience through cross –disciplinary projects that combine Engineering, Management and Art and that are the driving force behind many innovations. Hence the Engineer- Manager and Engineer-Architect double diplomas.

AGERA’s vocation is as follows:

  • Represent the member schools before the Auvergne Rhone-Alps Region, the local authorities in general, the public authorities and the regional, national and international bodies,
  • Establish theme-based working groups to foster the sharing of best practices and the pooling of resources: (for example: the reform of apprenticeship tax and vocational training, social security protection of international students), the production of deliverables (for example: a guide to technological platforms, acts for the ‘Country Days’). These working groups manage events such as International Students Meeting Days, Open Days or Country Days.
  • Think Tank, prospective: organisation of symposiums on the theme of innovation, the appetite for industry, educational innovation, studies on health and safety in the workplace, assignments in the US, etc.
  • The promotion and development of the schools in the network: the Web site, the AGERA Echos, the press releases, the social networks.

The commissions (comprised of staff from the schools), whose chosen themes often evolve over time are as follows: learning, vocational training, educational innovation, international training, relations with the economic world.

“There is strength in numbers!” The truth of this proverb is illustrated every day within AGERA, at a time when the economic context is increasingly international and competitive.

It is especially illustrated when the schools meet to exchange their experience or when all the Grandes Ecoles come together for debates and discussions and when the staff from the various institutes contribute actively to working groups.

The results are extremely positive: AGERA is recognised not only at a regional level, but also nationally, as an organisation that heightens the influence of the Grandes Ecoles in the Auvergne Rhone-Alps Region.

At the outset…

It was at the end of the Seventies that several directors of Grandes Ecoles in Grenoble, Lyon and Saint-Étienne decided to meet periodically to set in place a body designed to contribute to the development and promotion of the Grandes Ecoles in the Rhône-Alpes region, to set up joint actions and to serve as a single representative with the regional authorities, the educational offices, industrial and administrative bodies and also with colleagues in charge of universities.

The role of the Rhône-Alps Regional Authority has been essential in the launch of this operation since it wished to have an organisation that specifically represented the Grandes Ecoles and was in a position to provide it with assistance in the implementation of the Authority’s ambitious development policy for higher education.

This body is called the Regional Conference of Directors of the Grandes Ecoles in the Rhone-Alps Region (CDGERA). The CDGERA is organised as an association under the French 1901 law and registered its articles of association with the Prefecture on 30 November 1987.

Up until this date, the CDGERA functioned in an informal manner and the work was coordinated by a small number of member institutes.

In March 1997, in order to develop its actions, federate more schools and assert its identity, the CDGERA hired a General Delegate.

The Presidents who have contributed actively to the development of the association are as follows:

The Presidents who have contributed actively to the development of the association are as follows:

  • Philippe Saint Raymond (former Director of the Ecole des Mines in St Etienne)
  • Joël Rochat (Director of INSA Lyon) from 1992 to 2000
  • Jean Dorey (Director of Ecole Centrale Lyon) from March 2000
  • Alain Storck (Director of INSA Lyon) from March 2002 to March 2011
  • Jean-Baptiste Lesort (Director of the Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l’Etat) as of July 2013

To adapt to the changing needs of the Conférence and to benefit from a more legible logo in France and abroad, the CDGERA changed its abbreviation on 2 May 2000 and became the Alliance of the Grandes Ecoles in the Rhone-Alps Region – AGERA.

In 2012, in order to further invest in the existing cooperation between the schools in Rhone-Alps and Auvergne and to reinforce the inter-territorial dimension, AGERA opened its network to the Auvergne schools.

Its logo has once again evolved and in 2014 became the Alliance of the Rhône-Alpes Auvergne Grandes Ecoles.

Today

The association organises numerous actions in partnership with its member schools and partners within the scope of projects which for the most part receive funding from the Auvergne Rhone-Alps Regional Authority.

Three persons are on the association’s payroll: one person as the “General Delegate”, one as “Project Manager” and another person as “Assistant”.

The Directors of the member institutes meet approximately every two months in order to take stock of the progress made in joint projects and to decide on the political guidelines to adopt. These meetings have been organised since 2015 with a theme-based component to them.

A General Meeting takes place every year in March to deal with any statutory issues: voting the budget, Chairman’s report, financial report, etc.

The strategy of AGERA’s 2015-2020 vision is as follows:

  • The development of new partnerships with economic environments  whose connection with the higher education sector is very naturally established through the schools (CCI and intermediate-sized research bodies)
  • The ongoing commitment to international actions in order to facilitate the regional integration of international students in addition to the welcome provided by the institutes, identifying top-level partnership niches based on shared values with the schools and contributing to staff training
  • The development of training programmes based on professional situations: initial training thorough apprenticeships and vocational training.
  • Social open-mindedness of schools, diversity, in consistency with the encouragements from the Conférence des Grandes Ecoles and in partnership with secondary education institutes, notably those from the areas designated as being priority areas by the region
  • Support for the schools in the deployment of sustainable development policies: implementation of actions at a regional level, in addition to and in consultation with what is addressed nationally by the CGE.
  • Coordination of actions that come within the scope of creating new companies: specific modules in schools, development of multidisciplinary training programmes, Fab lab, Learning lab, etc.