PUF was established in May 2007 under the auspices of the FACE Foundation in New York City.

Thanks to the generosity of private American donors and contributions from the French government, PUF launched its first call for projects in September 2007 with the objective of supporting innovative and sustainable partnerships between French and US institutions of research and higher education. With close to 70 applications representing more than 130 French and American universities and research institutes, the results of the first call for projects confirmed both the readiness of institutions on both sides of the Atlantic to build a new generation of academic partnerships, and the fit of PUF has an innovative means for achieving this goal. Between then and now, applications have risen 30% with requests from 180 American and French universities and research institutes received. This response underscores both the need and readiness of institutions on both sides of the Atlantic to build the next generation of novel collaborations to produce the necessary knowledge and talents to keep France and the US at the forefront of invention. PUF has awarded 66 three-year grants over fivefunding cycles (2008-12) in the broadly defined categories of Business & Law, Culture & the Humanities, Earth Sciences, Energy & Materials Science and the Life Sciences. The modalities of transatlantic collaboration range from joint research and publications to the development of shared curricula and the creation of joint and dual degrees. They can naturally include various forms of mobility for students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty and researchers. PUF’s unique characteristic is to offer a single funding tool to support complex, multifaceted projects whereas many funding agencies or foundations offer specialized instruments that make it more difficult to realize the complementarities between the different components of a partnership (Joint research, mobility of professors, students, post docs, shared curricula).

Subject to an annual review, PUF can co-finance a developing partnership for up to three consecutive years, up to $80,000 per year per project. This substantial level of funding needs to be matched by the partners as PUF only funds up to 30% of the cost of a long-term program, the rest being raised in kind or in cash by the partner universities themselves in order to ensure the sustainability of the partnerships.

Since 2010, Culture & Humanities projects have been eligible to receive a higher level of support. Thanks to a leadership gift from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, PUF will funds up to 60% of the total cost of selected partnerships in the Culture & Humanities field to a limit of $160,000 annually. The PUF Team is headquartered in New York at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy and is led by a director who also serves as Attaché for Higher Education. PUF 2013 Call for proposals is now closed.