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“Ma thèse en 180 secondes”: Pierre-Damien Fougou wins the “Prix des lycéens”

07 Junio 2022 Negocios
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Pierre-Damien Fougou, an alumni of Togolese origin and doctoral student from the University of Bordeaux won the “Prix des Lycéennes et des Lycéens” during the national final of “Ma Thèse en 180 secondes”

The contest “Ma Thèse en 180 secondes” (My thesis in 180 seconds) is a competition of science popularization in French, organised in France since 2014 in which national or international doctoral students present their thesis subject before a jury and a highly diverse audience in 3 minutes tops. Participants must explain their research subject in French and in simple words, in a brief, convincing and fun tone. And doctoral students usually don’t forget their sense of humour in the process! 


Results create bonds between French universities


After months of regional final and a national semi-final, 16 female and male doctoral students were still competing. They competed on May 13 in Lyon during the French final of the contest in which five of them were rewarded by the jury and classes of French lycées for their presentation of their research subject in less than 3 minutes (and not one more).

And it was all of France that was represented in the final scoring, with universities from everywhere in the country. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd Prize of the Jury went to Alphanie Midelet from the University of Grenoble Alpes, Oscar Cosserat from La Rochelle University and Maxime Robic from the University of Rennes 1, respectively. Anaïs Perrichet from the University of Burgundy Franche-Comté won the Prize of the Public, and Pierre-Damien Fougou, from the University of Bordeaux, won the Prize of Lycée students.





Much more than a thesis about African challenges


Pierre-Damien Fougou is a jurist of Togolese origin, doctoral student in law from the Research Institute in Corporate and Heritage Law from the University of Bordeaux. He arrived from Togo in September 2018 to attend a Master’s course in Corporate Law. His thesis, La monnaie électronique dans les espaces bancaires européen, sous régionaux africains et OHADA (Digital currency in European banknig areas, African sub-regional areas and OHADA) targets the status and use of digital currency in European banking areas, but also mostly in African areas.

He explains: “I wanted a subject about Africa, but not only, a subject more in line with the current times than an historic one, with more impact, and maybe also solutions. Why is there no African Central Bank, just as there is a European Central Bank? Why is there no common African currency?”, asks the doctoral student.


A doctoral student who was pushed upwards


“It’s nice to feel that younger people like what I do! But I’d also like to stress that in this experience, we all pushed each other upwards.” This is what Pierre-Damien Fougou said after his presentation during the reception of his Prize of Female and Male Lycée Students awarded by two students from the Academy of Lyon.

On the website of his host university (the University of Bordeaux), a very nice portrait presents Pierre-Damien Fougou as a “fan of law and eloquence, who is simple and basic” and wants to become a lawyer. But the University website also precises that “this doctoral student always faces all aspects of his life with great simplicity and humility”. So he “naturally” chose to “continue his studies straight to the highest degree in this field: a thesis”. The young doctoral student doesn’t dismiss “other opportunities, such as passing the bar and/or start a career in teaching and research, or specialise in international law”, etc.

And “eloquence is another one of his assets” says the University of Bordeaux. In Togo, Pierre-Damien Fougou participated in a battle of words in French, and he is a member of a “student association fostering the freedom of speech through writing, eloquence and debate” in the University of Bordeaux. He won this year thanks to all these cards, and it’s no surprise since he had already reached the regional final last year! So he may be a simple and basic doctoral student, but he is still a persistent one!


Finals in 33 countries and an international final in Québec


Beyond France, since the “Ma thèse en 180 secondescompetition is in French, the Francophonie University Association (AUF in French) coorganises national finals of the competition in 33 countries. 

After these finals, 13 laureates will be selected to go to Montreal for the big international final that will be held on 6 October 2022. There, they will meet finalists from France (represented by the 1st national Prize Alphanie Midelet), but also from Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Switzerland, Ireland and the Consortium of Central Europe. A challenging organisation according to the AUF, but also “a moment of meetings and sharing for young female and male researchers from all over the world”.


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Photo credit: © MT180 France Universités-CNRS – David Pell


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