PSL Research University
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|Type||Research and Higher Education Institution|
|Endowment||€ 750 millions|
N 48°51′16.784", E 2°20′16.128"
|Campus||Quartier latin, Campus Condorcet, Jourdan, Porte Dauphine, Meudon|
Université PSL (officially Université de recherche Paris Sciences et Lettres in French and Paris Sciences & Lettres Research University in English) is a French decentralized collegiate university, currently organized as a ComUE (university community). PSL was formed in 2010 and is made up of 9 members. It has 10 associates and receives support from 3 national research entities. PSL is located in Paris, with its main sites in the Latin Quarter, at the Jourdan campus, at Porte Dauphine, in northern Paris, and at Carré Richelieu.
PSL awards Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD diplomas for its member schools & institutes. It offers an education based on research and interdisciplinary instruction, and its 20,000 students have access to a broad range of disciplines in science, engineering, humanities and social science, and the arts. Three of PSL University’s programs, from Bachelor's through PhD level, include CPES multidisciplinary undergraduate degree, ICFP-ENS, and SACRe doctoral program.
PSL has 181 laboratories and 101 ERC grants, and runs cross-cutting flagship programs such as the Scripta Interdisciplinary and Strategic Research Initiative (IRIS), the PSL Mathematics program, and the Q-Life Institut.
PSL students and researchers have access to 92 specialized and general libraries, archives, and photo libraries as well as online databases and journals. PSL has framework agreements with the University of Cambridge, UCL, EPFL, New York University, Columbia, Beijing University, Tsinghua University, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
- 1 History
- 2 Members, associates, and entities
- 3 Organization
- 4 Training at PSL
- 5 Research at PSL
- 5.1 PSL Labex
- 5.2 PSL Equipex
- 6 Campus life
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Founding of PSL University
In the early 2000s, after the Shanghai rankings were published in 2003 and the French secretary of state for science research and development took stock of the state of research in France. In 2004, institutions in the Latin Quarter began thinking of how to join forces to boost their international visibility. The French law on research enacted in 2006, which encouraged the formation of research networks (in various forms including PRES and RTRA), paved the way for new projects such as Paris Universitas, PRES ParisTech and an early version of the PSL project. This new organization combined five institutions of higher education in the Latin Quarter: Chimie ParisTech, Collège de France, École normale supérieure (Paris), École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la ville de Paris, and the Observatoire de Paris. Together, they adopted the status of a scientific cooperation foundation (FCS) (fr). The new entity, called “Paris Sciences et Lettres - Quartier Latin,” was initially conceived as a scientific alliance. In 2011, the five institutions submitted a joint application for the Initiatives for Excellence (IDEX) as part of France’s Investments for the Future program (PIA), causing the project to evolve into a new form of French university. This university would have 70% of its students at the Master’s and PhD level and offer a Bachelor's program, with an emphasis on equal opportunity students (40% scholarship students in the CPES multidisciplinary preparatory class).
In 2011, the five institutions submitted a joint application for a government funding opportunity among higher education institutions.
Between 2011 and 2012, ten new institutions joined the foundation: Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, La Fémis, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Foundation for Research, Institut Curie, Institut Louis-Bachelier, MINES ParisTech and Université Paris-Dauphine ·  · .
Their arrival reinforced PSL’s scientific potential in the fields of engineering, biology, the arts, and management. In 2014, another four institutions specializing in humanities and social science joined the association: École Française d'Extrême-Orient, École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), École Nationale des Chartes, and École Pratique des Hautes Etudes (EPHE).
In 2015, PSL organized itself into a university community (ComUE: PSL Research University). PSL began awarding PhDs at that point.
In 2010, the French government launched a call for proposals to boost higher education : the Investing for the Future program (also called the grand emprunt). PSL has successfully responded to several calls for proposals. In 2011, with the Initiatives for Excellence call for proposals, PSL was one of the first three projects selected, along with Université de Bordeaux and Université de Strasbourg. Although the project’s diverse participants have sometimes been cited as a weakness, PSL’s proponents emphasize the complementary nature of its institutions and the potential for collaboration. This funding has supported the creation of 11 Laboratories of excellence (Labex) within PSL: CelTisPhyBio, DCBIOL, DEEP, DYNAMO, ENS-ICFP, ESEP, IEC, IPGG, MemoLife, TransferS, and WIFI. In 2014, the Corail, HaStec, and TEPSIS Labex laboratories joined the list with EHESS and EPHE becoming members of PSL. Also in 2011, PSL’s institutions presented projects under the "Equipped with excellence" (Equipex) program. Of the 10 initial submissions, they were granted 8 Equipex facilities: BEDOFIH, D-FIH, Equip@Meso, ICGex, IPGG, Paris-en-Resonnance, Planaqua, Ultrabrain. These projects received funding in amounts ranging from €2 to €10 million. In 2017, PSL was awarded label and funding for two university research schools (EUR : TransLitterae and Front-Cog).
The target University in 2018
In 2017, after a detailed process of consideration, 9 institutions agreed to set up an integrated budget and a multi-year strategy for academic recruitment, as well as to create a number of shared platforms and services. Chimie ParisTech, École Nationale des Chartes, École Normale Supérieure, École Pratique des Hautes Etudes, ESPCI Paris, Institut Curie, Observatoire de Paris, MINES ParisTech, Université Paris-Dauphine decided to jointly form PSL University with a unified strategy, integrated budget, and coordinated human resources policy. The agreement approved by their respective boards calls for the schools and institutions that form the university to adopt a unified strategy, submit to the budgetary authority of the university president, jointly plan their recruitment, and transfer all of their diplomas to PSL. Beaux-Arts de Paris, Collège de France, Conservatoire National Supérieur d’Art Dramatique, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, École Française d’Extrême-Orient, École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, La Fémis, Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique and Institut Louis Bachelier are recognized as associates of the university pending later integration. Three research entities - CNRS, INRIA, and Inserm - provide strategic and financial support to the university and participate in the Board of Directors. The first recognition of PSL’s existence as an integrated university came in 2017, when it appeared on the Times Higher Education ranking in 72rd place globally and 1st place in France, and 41th place globally in 2018  ·  · .
Chronology of presidents
PSL has had three presidents in 2018. The current president is Alain Fuchs. He took over the position from Thierry Coulhon, who was appointed advisor to the French President in charge of Education, Higher Education, and Research. Fuchs’ current priorities are: adoption of the university’s new statutes by the government; final recognition of the status by the Investment for the Future jury; and gradual insertion of PSL in the international rankings.
- 2012-2014: Monique Canto-Sperber, previously director of ENS, founder and first president of PSL
- September 2014 – February 2015 (acting) Romain Soubeyran, director of MINES ParisTech
- 2014-2017: Thierry Coulhon, previously director of the Mathematical Sciences Institute at Australian National University in Canberra
- June – October 2017 (acting) Marc Mézard, director of ENS
- 2017 – to present: Alain Fuchs, previously president of CNRS]
Members, associates, and entities
PSL is a mid-size university (20,000 students). Its scope includes 9 member institutions as of 2018, with plans to gradually expand to include some or all of the 10 associate members, recognized as “founding associates.” The research entities (CNRS, INSERM, INRIA) are involved in governance and help define PSL’s strategy, with which they coordinate their own strategies.
|Members||Founding associates||Research centers|
|Chimie ParisTech||Collège de France||CNRS|
|École nationale des chartes||Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris||Inria|
|École normale supérieure||Conservatoire national supérieur d'art dramatique||Inserm|
|École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE)||École française d'Etrême-Orient (EFEO)|
|ESPCI ParisTech||École Pratique des Hautes Études (EHESS)|
|Curie Institute (Paris)||École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs|
|MINES ParisTech||Beaux-Arts de Paris|
|Observatoire de Paris||La Fémis|
|Université Paris-Dauphine||Institut de Biologie Physico-Chimique (IBPC)|
|Institut Louis Bachelier|
PSL is administered by a Board of Directors, which is chaired by the PSL president. It relies on the recommendations of an Academic Council and a Strategic Steering Committee. The executive organ of the university is the Executive Committee (the president, vice-presidents, and deans), supported by the Council of Members.
Training at PSL
Thanks to its member institutions, PSL offers a complete education cycle, from undergraduate to doctoral level, across all academic disciplines, including life sciences, physical sciences, humanities and social sciences, creative arts, economics, administration and management.
All of PSL's institutions have adopted a model of education through research.
PSL and the Lycée Henri IV, along with Mines ParisTech, ESPCI ParisTech, Paris Dauphine University, Paris Observatory, Ecole normale supérieure and Lycée Louis-le-Grand have implemented a three-year undergraduate program : CPES Multidisciplinary undergraduate course. The course combines:
- low teacher-student ratio and close supervision, typically in use in French preparatory classes;
- emphasis on independent learning and the introduction to the processes of research.
The multidisciplinary program allows students to increase their specialization during the three years of their training cycle, within one of three academic fields (humanities, social sciences or science). The admissions procedure actively seeks to encourage candidates from a variety of backgrounds and academic profiles, as well as to promote social diversity. Alongside practical art courses and teaching in the history of art, the undergraduate program aims to give all students access to as broad a culture as possible. This undergraduate program aims to brings together universities and preparatory classes (CPGE) : it is not designed to replace preparatory classes.
In Paris-Dauphine University
At Université Paris-Dauphine / Université PSL, bachelor's degrees are available for students in the following fields : management, economics & finance, accounting, applied mathematics, computing, journalism (IPJ-Dauphine).
Université PSL offers training programs for graduate students through Université Paris-Dauphine and several Grandes écoles in a broad array of disciplines : engineering, fine and applied arts, management, economics, biology, humanities and social sciences, astronomy...
Institute for technology and Innovation (PSL-ITI)
PSL-ITI was conceived by four PSL institutes : three elite engineering schools (Chimie ParisTech, ESPCI ParisTech, Mines ParisTech) and the Ecole normale supérieure. PSL-ITI also relies on the Paris Dauphine University, Paris Observatory, Curie Institute, Paris Observatory, Collège de France, and École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs. It enjoys an active partnership with the École des ponts ParisTech. PSL-ITI is a four-year doctoral program that includes : - Preparation for the doctorate One year is dedicated to preparation for the doctorate andcompletely focused on training at cross-disciplinary interfaces and courses in innovation and entrepreneurship. Students apply what they learn during this year to transform their academic work into a genuine force for industrial innovation. The diploma (Higher Diploma in Research and Innovation) issued by PSL-ITI on completion of this pre-doctoral year is equivalent to an advanced master's degree and provides access for a PSL-ITI doctorate. - A doctoral program focused on innovation within a doctoral institute. The program includes thesis development conducted in partnership with one of PSL's laboratories, guaranteeing high-quality and original research.
SACRe Doctoral program
The “Science Art Creation Research” (SACRe) doctoral program aims at developing new fields of research by exploring the interfaces between the arts, and between arts and science (hard sciences as well as the humanities and social sciences). The program implements a new kind of PhD in Art strongly articulating practice and theoretical thinking. It brings together, along with the Ecole normale supérieure, five French schools of creative and performing arts : CNSAD (French professional acting school), Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (dance, music and sound design), École nationale supérieure des arts décoratifs, École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts, La Fémis.
Research at PSL
PSL has more than 181 laboratories, 4,500 research and teaching staff, a large student community at Master's and PhD level. Research at PSL covers all academic fields.
Within the Physics department of the Ecole normale supérieure, the International Centre for Fundamental Physics is a world leading centre of research and training in fundamental physics. It addresses three main needs :
- a Junior Research Chair program,
- a master/graduate school of Physics which provides an international program for teaching Fundamental Physics,
- a valorization project to significantly change the approach to dissemination and exploitation of results.
The ESEP laboratory (Space Exploration and Planetary Environments) brings together nine laboratories in a partnership that pools their resources, their experience in the field of planetary environments and their technical expertise in space equipment.
ESEP is involved in three domains:
- The study of Sun-Earth relationships and the meteorology of space
- Planetary exploration in the Solar System
- The observation of extrasolar planets
Over a ten-year period, ESEP undertakes a wide range of activities in research and technology and teaching, with the aim of overseeing technological advances in space equipment for use by a new generation of students, engineers and researchers. At the same time, a focus will be placed on communicating and disseminating knowledge through events to present space exploration to the public.
ESEP approaches astronomy as an experimental science, exploring the Solar System in situ, while also using the knowledge gained from such research to enhance its long-distance observation of exoplanets.
Based in Paris, the "Finance and Sustainable Growth" laboratory focuses on four main themes of research and teaching :
- Sustainable Development Finance;
- Demographic and Economic Transition Finance;
- Risks and Regulation;
- Behavioral Finance.
Each of themes is supervized by academic teams who have already earned their spurs. FCD is a global and European research center dedicated to finance. Led by the Institut Louis Bachelier, it brings together research teams in mathematics, economics and management, applied to finance, in a group of thirty partner units composed of chairs and research initiatives affiliated to the Fondation du Risque, the Institut Europlace de Finance and the Fondation Dauphine.
The Laboratory CelTisPhyBio (from cells to tissues: where physics meets biology) includes teams working on Cell Biology (UMR 144, 12 teams) and Physics (UMR 168, 11 teams) within the Curie Institute, as well as researchers from Université PSL. The laboratory also comprises a group of clinicians from the Department of Tumor Biology of the Curie Hospital. Based upon this partnership, the project builds an interface between Physics and Biology. The research will cover biophysics aspects at three different levels :
- Intracellular level: by using simplified reconstituted systems in which the external parameters can be controlled and in vivo experiments, we obtain quantitative descriptions of the cellular properties. Emphasis is put on studying membrane remodeling.
- Cellular level: describe how geometrical, biochemical or mechanical cues can be integrated at the cellular level to influence essential cellular functions, namely cell division, migration, and mechano-sensing. These experiments rely on physical approaches to change and control the cell microenvironment in a precise and refined manner.
- Tissue level: the behavior of a cell is not an intrinsic property ; in a tissue, it strongly depends on its interactions with neighboring cells. It is thus essential to find the right level of description of the collective cell behavior for understanding tissue development. The work on tissues is strongly motivated by its applications to the understanding of the mechanisms of tumor growth and metastasis.
A central feature of CelTisPhyBio is the cross-disciplinary study between physics and biology within the laboratory and with parthers from Université PSL. National and international seminars, as well as public lectures, take place to highlight the mutual benefits of physics and biology.
DEEP (Development, Epigenesis, Epigenetics and Potential)
This laboratory uses an integrated strategy to allow for a better understanding of the link between genotype and phenotype. The research brings together teams who explore the concepts of epigenesis and epigenetics across a range of different biological systems, from yeast to mammalian models. The laboratory works alongside collaborators, notably specialists in bioinformatics, modeling and image analysis, from both the Curie Institute(Paris) and Université PSL.
The DEEP Labex implements a teaching course and a career development program for students and young researchers.
The research program spans three scientific sections:
- Epigenesis: understanding how complexity emerges during development;
- Epigenetics: understanding how changes in expression and gene function can become hereditary, without changes to DNA sequence;
- Potential: understanding how certain cells (stem cells) continue to be able to produce a variety of tissues.
Classic and innovative approaches are integrated in the study of these three areas, with a research platform employing advanced technologies:
- NanoString: The only technology that allows for the detection and quantification of individual molecules without amplification. The technology makes possible the profiling of hundreds of transcriptions and of miRNA and the study of chromatin modifications and the methylation of DNA.
- SGA: Synthetic Genetic Array platform. A powerful tool which analyzes the interactions between genes to allow for a greater understanding of the genetic links that regulate meiotic and mitotic heritability.
- Microscopy: The DEEP laboratory depends greatly on optical imaging and image analysis to measure the dynamics of cellular components, cells, and tissue. The research program is granted new equipments and updated the microscopes that are already in use.
The Institute of Cognitive Studies (IEC) is a transdisciplinary center for research and advanced courses in Cognitive Sciences. It develops the study of superior mental functions such as perception, memory, thinking, language, and action. It also offers a unique program of Cognitive Science advanced courses of Master's and Doctorate level as well as intensive classes of cognitive engineering for industrial and professional partners. The IEC is coordinated by the Department of Cognitive Studies of the Ecole normale supérieure. It involves French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), EHESS, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Université Paris-Descartes, Université Paris-Est Créteil, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, ESPCI ParisTech, Curie Institute (Paris), and Chimie ParisTech.
The Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Institute for Microfluidics (IPGGM) aims at creating a new Institute dedicated to fundamental research in microfluidics and "lab-on-chip" applications. This Institute is home to over a hundred researchers and a dozen labs. Microfluidics is the key technology to develop labs on chips, which integrate multiple operations that are required for chemical, physical or biological processes. IPGGM is coordinated by Fondation Pierre-Gilles de Gennes pour la recherche and involves ESPCI ParisTech, Chimie ParisTech, Ecole normale supérieure, and Curie Institute (Paris).
Memolife’s objective is to foster and develop the interactions between scientists working at different levels of the living: mathematicians, chemists, physicists, and biologists. The staff deals with all aspects related to the integrated concept of memory in living systems. The scientific axes range from genome structures, receptors at the synapses to cell biology, development and plasticity. This interdisciplinary work will lead to a better understanding of physiological processes and shed light on the etiology of several pathologies. MemoLife is coordinated by the Institute of Biology of the Ecole normale supérieure in collaboration with the Centre Interdisciplinaire de Recherche en Biologie of the Collège de France and laboratories of ESPCI ParisTech. Its also involves French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) and Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS).
The TransferS laboratory studies how cultural transfers have been shaping societies and cultures from Antiquity to the Present Day. In a transdisciplinary mode, TransferS works out new fields and objects of study in human sciences. It promotes the use of digital data in the humanities, and explores methodological and conceptual synergies between up to now unrelated disciplines. The concepts of Cultural Transfers at the frontiers of various disciplines are at the core of the project and matches the heuristic devices that enable to approach the question of globalization. The cultural transfers theory was first elaborated by the project leader, Michel Espagne. Cultural transfers promote transnational studies, focused on circulations between cultural or political communities. The cultural transfers theory challenges the existence of nations, ethnic groups, civilizations, languages or national cultures. Translations, circulations, hybridizations are considered elements intrinsic to any culture. In a similar fashion, the idea of interfaces is a challenge to the traditional understanding knowledge and underlines the habit science has to develop at the crossroads between established disciplines.
WIFI (Waves and Imaging from Fundamentals to Innovation)
The WIFI Laloratory (“Waves and Imaging from Fundamentals to Innovation”) from the Langevin Institute aims at becoming a world reference in the field of wave physics and imaging through a multidisciplinary approach uniting fundamental research, applied research, business creation and education of students. Numerous fields benefit from such research : Medicine (imaging and therapy), Defence, Biology, Acoustic Touch Technology, Geophysics, and Communications.
WIFI is coordinated by Université PSL and involves ESPCI ParisTech, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), Paris Diderot University, Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University (University of Paris 6), and French Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM).
The Financial Historical Data project (D-FIH) is a research project aimed at setting up a historical financial database for Europe. The need for such a database has been felt for a long time, and the latest financial crisis has once again highlighted the weak empirical foundations of the economic and financial analytical models. This project is designed to develop a comprehensive database on the French stock markets since 1800, and to be extended to further European countries in a second phase already in preparation. The research project is driven by a partnership between the Paris School of Economics (PSE), the Institut Louis Bachelier (ILB), the Quetelet Scientific Interest Group (SIG), and the Finance-Innovation Paris Financial Services Cluster. The Paris School of Economics, which scientific expertise on the articulations of economics, science and history is unique, acts as project coordinator and the Institut Louis Bachelier (ILB) is project manager.
Equip@meso is a project supported by PSL and nine other research institutions. It creates a network of supercomputers, which will be used to solve highly calculation-intensive tasks. The numerical simulation capacity produced by this network is put to use in several fields : biology, nanotechnologies, medical research may use it in order to solve complex problems. The equipment may also be used to simulate environmental situations and help develop appropriate answers to crisis situations. Companies and SMEs can use it as a way to reduce costs, for example by shifting from real to virtual prototypes.
ICGex is a cancer research program. It is designed to integrate genomic data into the curative process. Genomic data is collected, automatedly treated and sequenced, so as to provide medical staff with a genomic map of each tumor. This genomic mapping is considerably helpful for curing tumors and fighting cancer. ICGex is a joint project of Curie Institute (Paris) and French Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm). It also associates other research organisations and universities in Paris.
Paris-en-Résonance establishes a new nuclear magnetic resonance platform in Paris. Based in the chemistry department of the Ecole normale supérieure, Paris-en-Résonance is supported by Curie Institute, Collège de France and other research institutions. The equipment includes a dynamic nuclear polarisation mechanism, which increases its sensitivity. Paris-en-Résonance opens up new prospects in biomolecular and matter research.
The Ultrabrain projet relies upon an innovation in physics: the ability to cure nervous tissue by ultrasounds. It enables to cure numerous nervous dysfunctions without resorting to surgery. A success in this undertaking is both a scientific and curative progress. As a consequence, patient comfort improves and medical facilities experiment a qualitative leap forward. Ultrabrain will allow :
- A non-invasive therapy of brain pathologies thanks to locally concentrated ultrasounds.
- A non-invasive and high-precision neurostimulation through locally concentrated ultrasounds.
- An exploration of innovative medical imaging procedures through ultrasounds.
Planaqua is a project to build an experimental platform for aquatic ecology, with water volumes varying from microcosms (a thousand cubic centimetres) to mesocosms (a few cubic metres) and macrocosms (artificial lake). This facility allows comprehensive inquiries into the consequences of human activity upon natural environments and biodiversity. Planaqua elaborates synthetical and mathematical models to evaluate this interaction, with concrete uses in the fields of environment protection, public policy and green technologies. Planaqua is supported by the Ecole normale supérieure, Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), and university and research institutions in Paris area.
Run by Eurofidai, the BEDOFIH project creates a high-frequency European financial database, allowing for the precise analysis of the increasingly dynamic workings of European financial markets. Current research on European financial markets is held back by the lack of available data. The BEDOFIH project allows researchers to exploit high-frequency European data histories and thus work towards building more reliable financial models and new forms of financial regulation. In light of the implications of this research, the Financial Markets Authority (Autorité des Marchés Financiers) and the Directorate General of the Treasury (Direction Générale du Trésor) in France have supported the project.
PSL Symphonic Orchestra and Choir
The PSL Orchestra and Choir is a choral symphonic ensemble open to all members of the Université PSL community. PSL Orchestra and Choir's musical season consists of five different programs and incorporates contemporary work from different countries.
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