PARIS — Several U.S.-based climate scientists are about to hit the jackpot, as French President Emmanuel Macron prepares to award them multi-year, all-expenses-paid grants to relocate to France.
The "Make Our Planet Great Again" grants are part of Macron's efforts to counter U.S. President Donald Trump on the climate change front. Macron announced a competition for the projects in June, hours after Trump declared he would withdraw the U.S. from the global accord reached in Paris in 2015 to reduce climate-damaging emissions.
Macron is unveiling the first winners Monday evening at a startup incubator in Paris called Station F, where Microsoft and smaller tech companies are announcing projects to finance activities aimed at reducing emissions.
Monday's event is a prelude to a bigger climate summit Tuesday aimed at giving new impetus to the Paris accord and finding new funding to help governments and businesses meet its goals.
More than 50 world leaders are expected in Paris for the "One Planet Summit," co-hosted by the U.N. and the World Bank. Trump was not invited.
Initially aimed at American researchers, the research grants were expanded to other non-French climate scientists, according to organizers. Candidates need to be known for working on climate issues, have completed a thesis and propose a project that would take between three to five years.
The time frame would cover Trump's current presidential term.
The applicant list was whittled down to 90 finalists in September, the majority of them Americans or based in the U.S., according to French national research agency CNRS.
About 50 projects will be chosen overall, and funded with 60 million euros ($70 million) from the state and French research institutes.
Some French researchers have complained that Macron is showering money on foreign scientists at a time when they have been pleading for more support for domestic higher education.