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The French Connection

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Published on 17 July 2018

Senior lecturer Kathy Clawson (centre) with exchange students from the IUT University of Bordeaux
Senior lecturer Kathy Clawson (centre) with exchange students from the IUT University of Bordeaux

From Bordeaux to Sunderland, these French students have travelled hundreds of miles to be at the cutting edge of technology.

The group of six, from the IUT University of Bordeaux, have been at the University of Sunderland working on some unique tech projects.

From examining artwork in a 3D version of the Sistine Chapel, to an app which promotes and predicts positive emotions, the students have travelled to the University to develop pioneering software technology in the Faculty of Computer Science.

And in between their work, the group have had the chance to explore the North East which has been their home for six weeks.

Gabriel Benit, 20, and Nicolas Deguillaume, 19, have created a 3D Sistine Chapel which people will be able to explore.

Gabriel, from Bordeaux, said: “The idea is that people can interact with what is inside the chapel. We have been working on the Michaelangelo ceiling within the 3D image.”

Nicolas added: “It has been good fun working on the different artworks within the chapel as we bring this to life.”

Julien Andral, 19, is developing a mobile affective technology to help promote individual happiness through smiling, with the ultimate aim of enhancing people’s well being.  This project constitutes a cross-faculty endeavour between the Faculty of Computer Science and the Faculty of Health Sciences and Wellbeing.

Julien said: “I’ve liked staying in Sunderland, the facilities that have been available to us at the University are the reason why we have come over here to work.”


While Julien Trijean, 20, has been working on an “extra-smart” Sat Nav system which helps people get where they’re going in a quicker, and more intelligent way.

He said: “While we’ve been staying in Sunderland, we’ve visited Newcastle, Edinburgh, Durham and we’re hoping to go to York.”

The University has been working with the French students as part of a programme which has seen Dr Kathy Clawson, Senior Lecturer for Software Development, visit Bordeaux to teach for a week.

Dr Clawson said the Faculty’s relationship with IUT Bordeaux has been going from strength to strength since it was first established in 2016.

She said: “As part of this, we have seen groups of students visit Sunderland and, more recently, had opportunities for staff to participate in teaching and learning sessions at IUT.

“This year our exchange students have been outstanding, having immersed themselves in their projects with enthusiasm and commitment.”

Another of the students, Aurelien Satger, 20, said: “I have been working on a physical activity app and the mobile technology that is available here at the University has really helped a lot.”

Nathan Precigout, 19, added: “Sunderland has been great fun and we’ve enjoyed every minute. It’s also given us a chance to see other parts of the North East which has been great. I really liked Edinburgh.”

Ian Moody, Deputy Director of International at the University of Sunderland said: “Our collaboration with IUT has provided a number of unique opportunities in terms of developing technology and promoting Sunderland as a destination that is at the forefront of making technological advancements.”