The project to set up a veterinary training course run by UniLaSalle explained in 5 points.
One school, 4 campuses
UniLaSalle is a Polytechnic Institute, the result of the merger of 5 engineering schools:
- Institut Supérieur d’Agriculture de Beauvais
- Institut Géologique Albert de Lapparent (Merger in 2006) - Cergy-Pontoise
- ESITPA-Ecole d’ingénieur des Chambres d’Agriculture (Merger in 2016) - Rouen
- Ecole des Métiers de l'Environnement - EME (Merger 2018) - Rennes
- Ecole Supérieur d’Electronique et d’Electrotechnique ESIEE Amiens (Merger 2020) - Amiens
UniLaSalle has 3,800 students, spread over 4 campuses, accompanied by 520 employees.
This strategy of merging schools, which is part of the reorganization of French higher education, aims to create a benchmark school at the French and European levels in the field of life, earth and environmental sciences.
In 2020, UniLaSalle joined forces with ESIEE Amiens with the aim of strengthening its position in new technologies, digital technology and data management.
UniLaSalle: a non-profit association EESPIG
UniLaSalle is a non-profit association under the law of 1901, and has been awarded the EESPIG label (Private Higher Education Establishment of General Interest) by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI).
The EESPIG qualification is issued by the State, by order of the Minister in charge of higher education, after advice from the Advisory Committee for Private Higher Education (CCESP). To qualify for this status, the institution must prove that it is not run on a profit-making basis and that its activities are not for profit. The EESPIG qualification gives rise to the signature of a multi-year contract between the State and the recognized institution, thus setting strategic objectives in order to meet the national priorities of higher education and research. This label is granted for the duration of the contract and may be renewed after evaluation by a national authority as part of the renewal of the contract.
This EESPIG label distinguishes French private higher education institutions committed to student success and is characterized by five major principles:
- A government label
- Participation in the public service missions of higher education: training; research, dissemination and promotion; dissemination of scientific culture; construction of the European Higher Education and Research Area (EHEA); international cooperation.
- Criteria of non-profit status and management independence
- Periodic evaluation by a national body
- Reciprocal communication
Labels and certifications
UniLaSalle is periodically evaluated by the Commission des titres d'ingénieur (Cti) for its engineering courses and has received maximum accreditation for all its courses.
Since 2020, the engineering schools can be authorized to award Bachelor's degrees conferring the grade of licence. In this respect, 3 Bachelors (Geology, New Technologies in Agriculture and Sustainable Ag&Food) awarded by UniLaSalle confer the degree of Bachelor.
Research teams are evaluated by the High Committee for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES).
Since 2010, UniLaSalle Beauvais is certified ISO 9001 (quality management system). It was one of the first French engineering schools to be certified for all its activities. The quality approach has been deployed as new establishments resulting from mergers are integrated (certification of Rouen in 2020, Rennes planned for 2021, Amiens in 2022).
UniLaSalle Beauvais and EME were pioneers in obtaining the DD&RS (Sustainable Development and Social Responsibility) label developed by the Conference of Presidents of French Universities and the Conference of Grandes Écoles in 2016 for which they contributed to the definition of the specifications.
La Salle Network
UniLaSalle is part of the worldwide Lasallian network, created in the 17th century by John Baptist de La Salle, the world's first NGO dedicated to education and present in 82 countries through 1200 schools - including 70 universities in some 20 countries.
The original motivation of John Baptist de La Salle was to bring education to poor children in order to lift them out of poverty. The LaSalle network was the origin of the public education system:
- He massified free schools;
- It created professional schools, in French language;
- It invented the simultaneous classroom system, as known today vs. individual teaching;
- He created the normal schools.
History and context
The idea of creating a veterinary school at UniLaSalle was launched in 2008. At the beginning of the project, the main objective was to respond to the shortage of veterinary training in France.
For 12 years now, the situation has not changed, and has even worsened, with a deficit in the French training offer (despite the increase in flows) and a shortage in most sectors of veterinary activity, in rural areas but also in canine activity.
At the same time, the European offer for French language veterinary training has continued to grow, with the opening of fee-paying French language courses that welcome nearly 2,000 French students (equivalent to 1,000 jobs lost for France).
The opening of a 5th veterinary school by UniLaSalle would make it possible to respond to many of the profession's challenges. The project is based on five major ambitions:
- A project that enriches the French veterinary training offer
- A school that will contribute to reducing the growing deficit of veterinarians in France
- A school that will strengthen the link with the rural world
- A training program that aims to meet the challenges of the veterinary profession
- A research project at the heart of the One Health initiative
A project that enriches the French veterinary training offer
UniLaSalle's veterinary training will enrich/diversify the French training offer by :
- Its different recruitment system (expertise in post-baccalaureate recruitment at the national level);
- An original training organization (post-baccalaureate recruitment with studies in 6 years allowing a coherent organization of the teaching);
- An intense professional exposure (34 weeks of internships + hospital activity within the school's veterinary hospital.
A school that will help reduce the growing deficit of veterinarians in France
All studies show the growing deficit of veterinarians in France (more than 50% of the veterinarians who will be registered with the Ordre des Vétérinaires in 2020 will have obtained their degree abroad), and this in a context of growing demand (+9% growth in veterinary sales in France in 2020 compared to 2019).
As a result, the shortage of practitioners has become chronic in all sectors, both in companion animals, where growth is strongest, and in rural veterinary medicine, where the reason for the shortage is linked to tensions in the labor market but also due to more structural reasons of economic sustainability of veterinary care for animal production. The industry and public service sectors are not immune to these difficulties, forcing the recruitment of foreign veterinarians and/or those trained abroad.
The current training flow of the 4 French veterinary schools is not sufficient to meet this growing demand.
A School that will take care to strengthen the link with the rural world
UniLaSalle intends to take advantage of its agricultural image (50% of sons or daughters of farmers in September 2020 in the Agronomy and Agro-Industry specialization) to attract "rural" profiles and to develop the practice in rural areas:
- Post-baccalaureate recruitment less discriminating for young people from rural areas,
- A 6-year curriculum, including, first, the study of healthy animals with professionalization through internships on farms and in the meat industry and, second, the study of sick/clinical animals,
- Strengthening the link between agronomic and veterinary sciences, particularly during the first cycle, facilitated by the proximity of the Agronomy and Agro-Industries program.
A course that aims to meet the challenges of the veterinary profession
The VetFuturs France study "What future for the veterinary profession? "identifies the evolutionary trends of the veterinary sector and the needs for skills that UniLaSalle has integrated into its project:
- Networking with veterinary structures requiring more and more managerial skills within the profession,
- Needs for additional specializations, particularly in the field of new technologies (skills in mastering new tools) and societal developments (skills in understanding the "organic", "environmental" and "animal welfare" trends):
- Support on structures already used within engineering training: the AgriLab platform (AgTech leader in the global FabLab network), the Agro-machinism and New Technologies Chair, the Dassault Système Advanced Academy and the Master of Science in Agricultural & Food Data Management.
- Environmental and societal approach to the profession via the resources committed within the school
- Development of double degree programs thanks to the expertise of the teams acquired in the development of double degrees in France and in Europe.
A research project at the heart of the One Health initiative
Already involved in engineering training in agronomy, agri-food, food and health, soil/earth sciences, and the environment, but also very involved in AgTech and new technologies, UniLaSalle intends to be innovative and interdisciplinary, fully in line with the cross-cutting research axes of the "One Health" concept and animal welfare.
The One Health initiative was initiated in the early 2000s by three UN agencies: the WHO, the FAO and the OIE (World Organization for Animal Health) and promotes an integrated approach to health in the face of the globalization of health risks, in particular through "joint educational efforts between schools of human medicine, veterinary medicine, public health, and ecology and environment training". The One Health concept is now the guiding principle for research and educational reforms in the 4 French National Veterinary Schools (ENV).
UniLaSalle is completely in phase with this approach and in a position to make the link between these different fields of competence, and this for several reasons:
- Historical expertise in agronomic sciences for more than 160 years;
- Pioneering training in food and health engineering, launched in 1999: 1050 graduates, 80 new engineers trained each year;
- Recognized expertise in ecology and the environment, strengthened by the merger with the École des Métiers de l'Environnement in 2017.
The strengthening of animal health through the creation of the veterinary training program will reinforce this integrated vision of One Health.
The LPR law (research programming law) of 24 December 2020 allows the creation of private veterinary schools, and UniLaSalle proposes to create a veterinary school within it, the outline of which could be as follows
Training under contract with the State
As UniLaSalle is an EESPIG (Private Higher Education Establishment of General Interest) under contract with the Ministry of Agriculture, this training would be integrated into the contract between UniLaSalle and the State.
A 6-year training program
UniLaSalle is proposing a veterinary training model that takes place over 6 years, in compliance with the Rural Code, the decree currently being drafted, European regulations and the requirements of the AEEEV (European Association of Veterinary Teaching Establishments) with the aim of being accredited by the latter at the end of the launch period and after 3 years of graduation.
A training program positioned in Normandy
UniLaSalle proposes to create this school on its site in Rouen, a site with many advantages, including
- A position in the north of France (at the Normandy/Hauts-de-France interface) in order to reduce/compensate for the flows to/from Belgium.
- A relevant catchment area in the Rouen area to have enough healthy and sick animals.
- Consistency with the local environment: Normandy is an important breeding region (dairy and beef cattle, horses), also close to Northern Brittany (dairy cattle, pigs).
- A partnership with the Faculty of Medicine of Rouen for the coordination of 6th year theses, leading to the State diploma of veterinary doctor, and for research activities, in the One Health dynamic.
An expected flow of 120 students per year
A total of 730 students over the six years.
The goal is to be able to open the training in September 2022, subject to a "green light" from the competent authorities in 2020 - or September 2023 if the decision is made in 2021.
This first intake could take place in the premises that UniLaSalle already has in Mont-Saint-Aignan (lecture theaters, classrooms, biology and chemistry laboratories, library, etc.), pending the construction of a dedicated infrastructure, notably a veterinary school hospital.
Description of the program
In order to build its academic program, UniLaSalle relied on the "reference frame of competences at the end of the veterinary studies" elaborated by the French ENV and the MAA published in December 2017.
Beyond this reference system, UniLaSalle visited many veterinary faculties (about twenty faculties in Europe and North America) with the wish to discover the best pedagogical practices and to be able to be innovative in the framework of this new training.
At the same time, UniLaSalle has taken the time to meet with many professionals in the sector (all sectors) in order to listen to their specific needs and recommendations.
The teaching of the first 5 years is divided into 8 macro-competences, which, once acquired, correspond to the "Day One Competences" level defined by the AEEEV, this level having to be evaluated and attained by the students.
Some of the 8 macro-competences are specific to veterinary training, while others are more transversal:
|Specific competencies||Cross-cutting competencies|
|Advising and prevention||Working in a company|
|Establish a diagnosis||Communicate|
|Caring and treating||Acting as a scientist|
|Acting for public health||Acting responsibly|
In order to ensure that veterinary students acquire all of these skills, UniLaSalle will take care to respect the recommendations of the AEEEV and the regulations in force with regard to the balance between theoretical and practical teaching (particularly in the clinic), keeping a balance close to that of the ENV and the accredited European schools.
Objectives and innovative aspects
Regular practical training
Admission by competitive examination to post-baccalaureate training allows for a more rapid professional immersion through internships from the first year. At the end of his training, the young veterinarian will have completed 34 weeks of internships and discovered the livestock sector, the agri-food industry and veterinary medicine in various clinics or laboratories.
A concern for valuing rural / mixed practice
- In-depth approach of agriculture and its functioning in years 1 to 3.
- Various internships, on farms, in industries and in clinics with a focus on "production animals".
- Three areas of study offered in year 6: "Veterinarian in rural areas: mixed production animals/companions", "Agri-food industries and health safety" and "Industries and Research".
A strong opening to internationalization
- Opening of the training to international training and research issues (involvement in European and global networks) through two networks:
- A thematic network of 230 partner universities in the fields of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences (GCHERA - Global Confederation of Higher Education Associations for Agricultural and Life Sciences and ICA - European Association of Life Science Universities).
- The network of La Salle Universities (IALU - International Association of LaSallian Universities),
- Practice of two foreign languages, including English,
- Academic mobility semester in a foreign university
Reinforcement of transversal knowledge/skills
- Integration of management and business management courses throughout the curriculum
- Implementation of specific modules related to technologies such as data sciences, biotechnologies, biomedical innovation
Teaching and research activities related to veterinary training will be included in UniLaSalle's ISO 9001 quality approach. They will also be evaluated by the specific authorities (HCERES, AEEEV, Ministries).
In addition, the link maintained with the veterinary profession - through the partner clinics and the veterinarians involved in the Development Council - will enable UniLaSalle to ensure that its training is in line with the expectations of the professional world. This specific committee will be in charge of the periodic examination of the study programme and will have the following mission
- The annual analysis of the progress of the program and the progress of the students' skills;
- The formulation of recommendations for change;
- The identification of new trends / needs in terms of skills for the veterinarians to be trained.
It will be composed of external professionals working in clinics and in the various professions in which veterinarians work: meat processing industry, inspection and control, research, in France and abroad.
Admission of students
Post-baccalaureate recruitment by competition
UniLaSalle is convinced of the relevance of post-baccalaureate recruitment for its project:
- For a complementarity with the recruitment of the ENV (even if a post-bac recruitment is launched in 2021)
- For academic reasons:
- Consistency with European regulations (5-year training)
- Legibility of the training cycle
- Easier international mobility
- Greater flexibility to organize/impose internships
- For reasons of diversity:
- The system of preparatory classes is discriminating, especially for the hyper-selective veterinary fields
- Easier access for young people from high schools located in rural areas, including children of breeders
- Rebalancing the recruitment of girls and boys through the recruitment process
- Particular attention will be paid to students with an interest in the rural world, livestock farming, the processing industry or health safety.
- Applications will be made via the Parcoursup platform.
- Admission will be granted after a process based on
- A file
- A competitive examination
- A motivation interview
- A practical test
- The target audience is general baccalaureate students who have chosen the specialties of Mathematics / Life and Earth Sciences or Biology-Ecology / Physics-Chemistry. Students from STAV courses with an outstanding record and support from their high school may also apply for admission (specific competition).
- Even if the targeted students must have an outstanding academic record, the competition procedures will be attentive to atypical students who would not have been able to express their potential in a traditional curriculum, because it is not very motivating for them.
- Particular attention will be paid to students who show an interest in the rural world, livestock farming, the processing industry or health safety.
- Foreign students (from outside the EU, EEA and Switzerland) will be admitted to the second year on the basis of their qualifications, as provided for in the regulations. The school wants to expose its students to internationalization from the "inside" and will therefore ensure that it has a significant rate of foreign students (5 to 10%).
Precisely because the school is fee-paying, UniLaSalle will pay particular attention to grant-holders, especially those from rural areas. A system of study grants and voluntary honorary loans will be set up, in addition to the State grants, in the same way as it is developed in the other UniLaSalle courses:
- Objective 5% of the tuition fees redistributed in the form of a grant,
- Setting up of honorary loans (0% interest with a guarantee provided by the school).
- Conducting an active policy of accompanying and putting in contact students wishing to obtain a study and professional project allowance with the territorial authorities having a policy of aiding the installation of veterinarians in rural areas (DDADUE law)
Research programs at UniLaSalle
During its last evaluation, the HCERES noted the effort devoted to the restructuring of research activities around the four UniLaSalle research units, namely :
- AGHYLE (Agroecology, hydrogeology, environments & resources),
- T&A (Processing & Agro-resources) - welcoming teacher-researchers from the University of Artois,
- INTERACT (Innovation, Territory, Agriculture & Agro-industry, Knowledge and Technology),
- B2R (Basins, Reservoirs, Resources) - hosting teacher-researchers from the University of Picardie Jules-Verne (UPJV).
These accredited units and host teams of the doctoral schools of the partner universities (Université de Picardie Jules-Verne, Normandie Université, Université de technologie de Compiègne) develop systemic approaches dedicated to supporting agricultural, food, and energy transitions.
More than 120 scientific and technical staff and 30 PhD students contribute to the development of knowledge and know-how, particularly in the fields of plant and agronomic sciences, transformation processes, and environmental and human health, with an average production of more than 50 scientific articles per year.
Activities are supported by an extremely innovative technology park on the Beauvais and Rouen campuses, which addresses many scientific issues related to the sectors.
- Ozone platforms, methanization, agro-resources and bio-based materials, soil functioning and microbial ecosystems, nutrition-health and translational research, Normandy greenhouse and model farm experimental station, AgriLab,...
Perspectives in relation to veterinary training
Structuring of veterinary research
With the aim of building a research project in line with veterinary training and within a more general framework in line with the agricultural identity of the establishment, a benchmark of scientific projects of different European veterinary schools has been carried out. It shows how important the field of investigation is and how diverse the themes are.
Overall, it is possible to classify the projects into three categories:
- The understanding of cellular mechanisms of animal pathologies (immunity transmitted to the newborn by maternal milk; embryonic/fetal mortality in cows; bovine viral diarrhea virus; pathogenesis and mycoplasma infection...) ;
- Diagnostic methods and epidemiological approaches (landscapes and tick-borne diseases; diagnosis of bovine brucellosis, bovine tuberculosis surveillance system,...);
- Animal husbandry systems and animal health (managerial, organizational and technical innovations to develop animal product chains; immunity and alternatives to antibiotics, animal husbandry and health risks, etc.).
In this context, UniLaSalle, for its veterinary school, plans to position itself in a field that could be described as agrohealth applied to livestock systems, which covers a vast field of questions upstream and downstream of the production and processing sectors.
This field would allow the expression of skills currently present within the units in physiology, microbiology, animal production, nutrition, health, and human sciences, likely to constitute a scientific base to begin structuring research activities.
Academic and support staff
The recruitment of academic and veterinary staff is one of the key success factors of the project.
Recruitment will be done:
- In strict compliance with the AEEEV's recommended staffing ratios;
- In a concern of academic / practitioner / professional balance;
- On the basis of skills, of course, but also and above all on the basis of their state of mind (concern for accompanying students, specific skills/expertise in research, spirit of innovation, entrepreneurship, interest/proximity to the professional world);
- With, of course, a concern for parity between men and women, both in recruitment and in governance.
For information, UniLaSalle has obtained an exceptional score of 98 out of 100 in the gender equality index, and this since its creation in 2018 (French average for companies with more than 250 employees: 70% in 2021).
In the long term, it is planned to recruit 75 veterinary professors, for a total of 90 professors (all specialties combined) and 150 employees.
These teacher-researchers may be either veterinarians or holders of a doctorate. They may also hold a title or a diploma in veterinary specialization, or even a habilitation to direct research (HDR). At UniLaSalle, the rate of teacher-researchers holding an HDR is comparable to that of certain ENVs.
UniLaSalle has chosen to establish its veterinary school in Rouen - Mont-Saint-Aignan.
In order to guarantee the quality of training, and in addition to the already existing academic buildings, UniLaSalle will invest in:
- A hospital as defined by the ministerial decree of March 13, 2015 on the categories of veterinary care establishments and the specifications of the National Council of the Veterinary Order
- An autopsy room and an anatomopathology laboratory.
These infrastructures will strictly meet the requirements of the AEEEV, particularly in terms of biosafety related to a veterinary teaching establishment.
In addition to these investments, a strategic partnership with veterinary clinics is envisaged in order to complete the clinical training of students (a semi-distributive model already practiced by veterinary faculties, which is highly appreciated by the students and the associated veterinary clinics).
Finally, UniLaSalle also intends to use its 2 experimental farms in Beauvais (dairy cattle workshop, poultry workshop (chickens), FabLab new technologies for agriculture and agri-food processing, hunting area (30 ha of woodland + 200 ha of farmland)) and Maurepas (beef cattle workshop, 150 ha of land and pasture) in the context of the breeding modules in particular
Budgetary principle for training
In order to finance the operation of the veterinary school, UniLaSalle is willing to direct part of the subsidy it receives from the Ministry of Agriculture to the veterinary school project.
In constructing the budget, the following objectives have been sought:
- Acceptability of tuition levels:
- Compared to European veterinary education offerings (Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Poland).
The full cost of veterinary studies in European public faculties varies between 30,000 and 60,000 € per student per year, which currently makes it one of the most expensive courses in higher education. The practical nature of veterinary training, requiring a high staffing level, with high-level scientific and hospital facilities and equipment, justify this high cost. Because of its greater financial agility, UniLaSalle estimates that it can achieve a complete cost of training of around €25,000 per student per year. By directing part of its "Agronomy and Agro-Industries engineer" grant to veterinary training and with the help of investment grants, the school can achieve average tuition fees over 6 years of €15,500 per student per year.
- Compared to French tuition fees in other schools of higher education (notably business schools)
It should be noted that the 6-year scheme will allow graduates to earn one year's salary upon graduation, which lowers the total cost compared to other veterinary training programs.
- Compared to European veterinary education offerings (Ireland, Spain, Hungary, Poland).
- Redistribution of 5% of the tuition fees so that the school is accessible to students in fragile economic situations: In addition to the state scholarship system (not accessible to students leaving to study abroad), a system of scholarships is planned via UniLaSalle (redistribution of 5% of the tuition fees, scholarships, honorary loans...).
- Support from local authorities :
- For investments,
- For the operation in the launching phase,
- For the financial support of students within the framework of the DDADUE law (cf. Admission of students - social opening).