On Monday, the office of French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the government will award multi-year grants to several U.S.-based scientists to relocate France.
The statement came on the eve of the One Planet Summit in Paris, which is co-hosted by the United Nations and the World Bank and scheduled to be attended by about 50 world leaders.
The Elysee Palace said 13 of the initial 18 grants will be awarded to scientists based in the United States. “The selected projects are of very high standards and deal with issues that are particularly important,” the jury statement said.
American universities – including Princeton, Stanford and Harvard – were among those from which the winning researchers were selected, while others hailed from Canada, India, Italy, Poland and Spain.
“You will now settle in, develop projects, enrich French, European research, because we’ve decided to give even bigger resources and to fully recognize what you are doing,” Macron, who repeatedly failed in his bid to persuade Trump to reverse the decision, addressed grant winners.
“We have to react and do something, because it’s impossible to leave this all to – a sort of dismantling of the Paris agreement,” he said, of the United States' decision to quit the Paris accord, during a CBS News interview.
The French head of state unveiled the “Make our Planet Great Again” grants in June following U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 climate pact – the international accord aims to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.
Macron called the withdrawal “extremely aggressive” and said the United States' offer to renegotiate was not on the table.
“I‘m not ready to renegotiate, but I‘m ready to welcome him if he decides to come back,” Macron said, adding: “I‘m pretty sure that my friend President Trump will change his mind in the coming months or years.”
Almost 2,000 grant applications were received, more than half of which were from the United States.
The selection jury said a second-round of laureates will be announced, “during the course of the spring of 2018.”
A total of 50 grants will be awarded lasting a minimum of three years and valued between €1 million and €1.5 million each.
The topics include: how global warming impacts natural catastrophes like hurricanes, the health implications of climate change and how a warmer planet can affect the circular economy.