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COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way we live, work and interact. International collaborations and exchanges are amongst the areas which are the most affected by the pandemic due to restrictions in travel and borders closure. The impact is even stronger when it involves partners located in different regions since several factors have to be taken into consideration (situation of the pandemic, national policies, impossibility to travel, time zones, etc.).

France and Singapore have been collaborating for many years and many academic and scientific activities had to be paused in 2020. How do we pursue an international research collaboration in the “new normal”? What are the strategies taken by Singapore-based French companies to continue their R&D activities? What are the options for students to get international exposure?

This webinar took part of the Voilah! France Singapore Festival 2020 and was the opportunity to learn about the strategies taken by different sectors (academic and corporate research labs, higher education institutions) to cope with this unprecedented situation.


Mariana Losada, Regional Director of Université de Paris, Inalco and Sciences Po in Southeast Asia.

She holds a PhD in Political Science from Sciences Po where she specialized in the internationalization of Higher Education and Research. During her doctoral studies, she was Visiting Fellow at the University of Oxford and the University of Chicago. Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, she has been studying and working abroad half of her life. Over her career, she has held different roles in the field of Higher Education in institutions such as the Fulbright Commission in Argentina, UNESCO, UNICEF, Amue (a French public university consortium), AEF (a press agency specialized in Higher Education) and Sciences Po where she was in charge of all the partnerships with Southeast Asia. Her experience in the public and private sector has spanned across areas such as internationalization strategies of universities, how technology changes education and strengthening synergies between universities and business.

In her current role, Mariana facilitates and manages the research and teaching collaborations between Université de Paris, Inalco, Sciences Po and the National University of Singapore. She is also in charge of representing these universities in Southeast Asia, identifying opportunities for them and developing new partnerships and collaborations with other institutions in the region.


  • Alexandra Roos, Vice-President R&D, Centre for Innovation & Technologies AMERA & China, Essilor.

Alexandra Roos joined Essilor Research & Development teams in 2003 after completing a PhD in Material Science from Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris. She held different research positions in France and in Singapore and, in 2017, took the leadership of the Center for Innovations & Technologies in Singapore, housing 50 researchers. The Center hosts a pole on vision sciences, focused on children myopia; another one on consumer knowledge, leveraging consumer observation and engagement; and an agile prototyping platform. In 2019, she also kick-started a new research Center in Shanghai, China.

  • Thomas Lautier, Visiting Scientist, A*Star.

Thomas Lautier is a French CNRS researcher in the field of biotechnology. After a PhD in microbial ecology in Lyon, France, he joined the Toulouse Biotechnology Institute for a postdoc in protein engineering and then orientated his research toward synthetic biology. He is currently a visiting scientist in SIFBI A-Star, dealing with enzymes and synthetic biology to produce high valued molecules through microorganisms engineering. Understanding how Nature can handle thousands of chemical reactions in one cell in order to write new roads for biochemical synthesis is fascinating and forces us to develop some humility when observing the Nature multilevel gear boxes.

  • Lindsay Allen, Senior Associate Director, International Programmes, Yale-NUS College.

Lindsay Allen is the inaugural head of exchange and study abroad at Yale-NUS College, Singapore’s first liberal arts college founded in 2011 through a partnership between Yale University and the National University of Singapore. She holds a BA in Asian Studies from the University of Michigan, an MA in Translation from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, and is pursuing a second MA in International Education from SIT Graduate Institute. She has presented at global conferences including APAIE, EAIE, and NAFSA on topics including large-scale global partnerships, connections between study abroad and careers, and faculty engagement in study abroad.

  • Charles-Edouard Levillain, Vice-President, International Strategy, Université de Paris.

Charles-Edouard Levillain is a Professor of British history and currently vice-president International of the Université de Paris. He specializes in the history of Britain and the Low Countries in the seventeenth century, with a particular interest in Anglo-Dutch relations. He is the author of several books on the struggle against Louis XIV in Europe. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2016. He was Chair of the department of Anglo-American studies in 2018-2019 before taking up his new position as VP International.

If you missed it, you will be able to watch the recording here below: