History of Pierre Sebba, the first rector of USTH

Doctor of Natural Sciences, Professor Pierre Sebban, the first rector of Hanoi University of Science and Technology, led a busy scientific career as research director and laboratory director at CNRS (France), and then as university professor at Paris-Saclay University.

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Professor Pierre Sebban. Photo: USTH/CVN

Professor Pierre Sebban was scientific adviser to the Higher Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (Hcéres), vice-president for international relations at the University of Paris-Sud. He is currently an expert of AFD, World Bank and other international agencies.

Pierre Sebban has always worked “at the international level” due to his background, interests and passions. He completed his post-doctoral studies in the United States and developed scientific cooperation with Europe, Australia and the United States. … but there were no signs at the start of his candidacy for USTH chancellor. Not even for him!

The urgent need has doubled

with a little courage

In March 2010, Paris-Sud University’s vice-president for international relations, Pierre Sebban, participated in the creation of the USTH project through the inter-ministerial steering committee created on this occasion. The University of Paris-Sud and the University of Toulouse were the two carriers of this project on the French side.

On the morning of the closing day for applications for the post of chancellor, Pierre Sebban does not see himself as a candidate, but an inexplicable force prompts him to apply and is finally selected on the French side. He must then inform President Guy Couarraze that he will have to resign from his position as vice president for international relations at the University of Paris-Sud (assigned three months ago) to become USTH chancellor.

Pierre Sebban still remembers Guy Couarraze’s elegant response today: “We cannot wish for the autonomy of universities without wishing for the autonomy of the men and women who work there! Keep it up Pierre. Good luck”. The start of the adventure in Vietnam and this project to create a university will be as rewarding as it is challenging.

From the Big Bang to the shining star

Astronomy and astrophysics enthusiast Pierre Sebban compares this period to the Big Bang: “In the summer of 2010, we started to build some initial buildings without workers, students and staff, starting from the dust of the work on one floor of the building given to us by the Vietnam Academy of Sciences. ‘USTH is recognized or even recognized in Vietnamese society’.

The first emergencies happened

building structures

The structuring and building of the bachelor’s degree, which is very important for Vietnam, was also a decisive step for this university. Pierre Sebban wanted to create a general and multidisciplinary first year in which all USTH students would be “engaged”.general knowledge”, before majoring in the second and third years. Since the French side is more involved in the creation of Masters, the Bachelor had to be established locally thanks to the application of networks, knowledge and the call to good scientists all over the world.

This 4-year mandate has been intense, challenging and exciting: “We have fought everywhere to turn this Big Bang into the beginning of a bright star… recognition is coming, the number of students is increasing significantly, confirmation of our approach and efforts, especially with a very positive result, in 2012 the Research and Higher Education Evaluation Agency ( AERES) made us stronger and more confident every day.”

According to Pierre Sebba, this project should have been successful “co-construction” In favor of the Vietnamese. Every day a small stone was added to the edifice of human relations and another culture, which always pleased him; understanding each other, communicating with the team and students was one of his favorite things. When he spoke to them, Pierre Sebban knew “why he was the rector.

It also evokes the hard work and intelligence of women at USTH, a reflection of Vietnamese society. He cites their remarkable efficiency, dedication, relevance in academic and administrative services, and recognition of USTH in the Vietnamese higher education landscape.

He talks about the successes of his tenure, including the approval of the bachelor’s degree in 3 years and the difficult acceptance of the LMD, which made USTH the first university in Asia to adopt the European ECTS system. The challenge here was to offer a course that could provide the country with quality senior technicians after graduation, but also lead students to graduate degrees and, if they so desired, a longer career.

among the elements “pride“We will record a significant increase in the number of students from 17 first students to 900 after 4 years, after many marketing operations and visits in Vietnam, as well as choosing English as the language of instruction with the commitment to take courses and exams. French…

Today Pierre Sebban is finishing a book about USTH and “his Vietnam era” he has a lot to talk about, both personally and professionally. And like every Vietnamese, he likes to go to cafes to watch people and life.


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