Didier Houssin named President of the AERES.

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Didier Houssin [1], 61, was named as President of the French Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education (AERES) on 13 May 2011.

Professor of surgery at Paris Descartes University since 1988, he returns to the field of research and higher education after many years of working in the public health sector.

A specialist in surgery and liver transplantation, in particular in children, he served as Executive Director of the Établissement français des Greffes (French Institution for Transplantation) from 1994 to 2003, as Chief of Surgery at Cochin Hospital, Paris, from 1998 to 2003, as Director of Public Assistance Medical Policy for APHP (Hospitals of Paris) from 2003 to 2005, and became Executive Director for public Health in March 2005, a position he held until May 2011.

He has wide ranging experience in the field of research and higher education. As Researcher at Inserm (the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research) (1982-1988), then a university surgeon leading a surgical research laboratory (1985-1996), he is the author of over 300 original scientific publications.

In the field of education, he directed French national doctoral training in surgical sciences (1991-1995) and coordinated teaching of social and human sciences for first year medical students. As part of his work for Inserm and the French Universities Board, he has contributed to the evaluation of researchers, professors and research units and, as Executive Director for Health, contributed to the organisation of the evaluation of diverse public policies.

Lastly, in the field of governance, he served as Vice-President (Scientific Advisory Board) at the Paris Descartes University from 2001 to 2004, under the then President Pierre Daumard.

He succeeds Jean-Marc Monteil and Jean-François Dhainaut. He was appointed by the President of France, after proposal by Valérie Pécresse, the Minister for Higher Education and Research, and after a unanimous vote of approval by the relevant committees of the French National Assembly and Senate [2] who had interviewed him.

During these interviews, Didier Houssin paid tribute to the work carried out by his predecessors and their teams at the AERES, emphasizing:

- the AERES' missions to be accomplished or improved, such as the validation of evaluation procedures for higher education and research institution staff and the development of more contrasted, and thus more meaningful, evaluations;

- the identification of the expectations of all members of the AERES' public, whether students, researchers, academic staff, institution leaders or elected representatives, in order to respond to them as best as possible;

- support for evaluation that favours the promotion or highlighting of evaluated organisations.

[1] Photo available on request from the Delegation for External Communications.

[2] The National Assembly's Committee for Cultural Affairs and Education and the Senate's Committee for Culture, Education and Communications.