Presentation

A SUCCESSFUL ECOLOGICAL AND ENERGY TRANSITION That is the aspiration of research at École des Ponts ParisTech, which seeks both to advance the progress of knowledge and to support economic development.

KEY FIGURES 2015

  • 12 research laboratories, including 6 UMR CNRS (National Research Center units)
  • 379 researchers and academics
  • 532 PhD candidates and postdoctoral fellows, 8 doctoral schools affiliated to laboratories
  • 632 rank A publications, including 35% with a foreign partner
  • €8 million in revenues from research partnerships, including 42% direct company partnerships.

IN 2015, RESEARCH WAS SHAPED BY THREE PRIORITIES

  • Research strategy: developed within the framework of the School’s 2025 strategic plan and its 2015-2019 performance contract
  • Scientific management: renewed governance in the Scientific Council and in the structure of the Research Directorate; ISO 9001 education for research partnership policy
  • Project dynamics: industrial scale, research partnerships, and involvement in COP21 for solutions to the challenges of climate change.

RESEARCH STRATEGY: A SUCCESSFUL ECOLOGICAL AND ENERGY TRANSITION

The purpose of the strategy, jointly developed with the laboratories and coordinated by the Research Directorate, is to structure interdisciplinary research by tackling four socio-economic challenges identified as strategic for Research at the School:

  • City and mobility systems: in order to position the School in the dynamics of the sustainable city, through research that combines the sciences of spatial management, engineering, the living world, and society.
  • Management of risks, resources, and milieus: to tackle the challenges of climate, energy, environmental, and financial risks, the School brings the interdisciplinary resources of its laboratories to bear on the whole value chain.
  • Industry of the future: to meet the needs of companies in terms of (i) sustainable production, (ii) workforce organization, well-being, and commitment, (iii) high performance and capacity for change, the School’s research develops physical, mathematical, and behavioral models and simulations, together with sociological studies.
  • Economy, practices, and society: to combine approaches to homo oeconomicus with the tensions between growth, development, and environment, and with the impacts of societal inequalities, researchers contribute to evaluations of public policies and formulate recommendations.

The associated action plan seeks to tackle these priorities with academic research and research partnerships, knowledge transfer to support business competitiveness and the effectiveness of public policies. The key axes identified are:

  • Strengthening scientific policy for research that is legible, visible, and sustainable, by fostering fundamental and applied research, focusing on innovation, structured into spheres of expertise, sectors, and socio-economic priorities.
  • Developing partnership-based research policy, by supporting major interdisciplinary projects at local, national, and international scale, and by constructing a Co-Innovation Lab endowed with technological platforms of the highest international standards.

To attract talent, campaigns will be conducted to recruit targeted researchers and PhD candidates. The aim is, on the one hand, to achieve critical masses of research consistent with the School’s positioning on the four socio-economic priorities identified, and on the other hand to intensify education for and through research.

SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENT: RENEWED GOVERNANCE FOR SYNERGY BETWEEN STRUCTURES

  • The Scientific Council (CS) guides the School in its scientific and innovation policy. It plays a role as expert and consultant to the School Council.

Since its renewal in 2015, it has since been chaired by Didier Roux, Director of Research and Innovation at Saint-Gobain, member of the Academy of Sciences and of the Academy of Technologies. With 20 members, the CS has 70% of new entrants from the academic, institutional, and economic worlds, seven foreign members, and operates in complete parity.
In 2015, the CS analyzed the reports on research activities in relation to (i) the big national and European priorities, (ii) a sustainable growth model, and (iii) a methodology for managing this from a perspective of innovation and competitiveness.

In order to maximize closeness to researchers, the experts on the CS, distributed across the four priority domains, work directly with them in themed seminars. The method has been implemented for City and Mobility Systems and Economy, Practices, and Society. The synergy between CS, the Research Directorate, and laboratory researchers, is appreciated for the stimulation it brings, the sharing of visions, and the prospects it offers.

  • The Research Directorate (DR) draws up and oversees the implementation of the School’s scientific and research policy.

It encompasses 12 laboratories, most of them operating in partnership with other academic or economic actors. These agile and responsive structures possess the autonomy and responsibility to develop research, consistently with the School’s guideline policies.

All the laboratories, with the exception of the two that conduct precompetitive research, are members of LabEx (Laboratoires d’Excellence). The School contributes to 6 LabEx which form scientific communities around structuring themes that reinforce its model of open codevelopment. Managed as large-scale ANR (National Research Agency) projects, the LabEx were evaluated in 2015 for the mid-term report. All them were given the go-ahead to continue developing and to pursue their ripple effect.

Through the monthly meetings of the Laboratories Council, the DR fosters discussions on future scientific developments within the School, encourages the sharing of key features of the laboratories, their communities, or their affiliates.

The Research Directorate’s Central Department  (DR-Center) supports the laboratories in their research activities. In this role, it provides skills and expertise in the negotiation, legal protection, and management of public and private contracts, in the exploitation of the results of research partnerships through patents or software licensing, and in the recruitment of scientific personnel. In 2015, the Legal Protection and Valorization section was created, and a manager recruited.

THE INDUSTRIAL CHAIRS: LONG-TERM PARTNERSHIPS

For more than 10 years, the School has been developing a policy of long-term partnerships with companies through industrial chairs. Structured around themes that are strategic for the School, they aim to create scientific and educational value for the School, and competitive innovation for the company. The 14 chairs active in 2015, 9 of them in sole partnerships with the School, are associated with 10 major French companies 1 major foreign company, 2 intermediate sized companies, 1 public industrial and commercial institution, 3 Agencies and 3 Foundations. In 2015, two chairs were extended, one by Saint-Gobain, the other by EDF.