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CENTER FOR RESEARCH AND INTERDISCIPLINARITY

An exceptionally rich interdisciplinary framework for training, research and the invention of open science

"None of us is as smart as all of us". Supported by the Fondation since its creation, the Center for Rensearch and Interdisciplinarity offers to students an exceptionally rich interdisciplinary framework for training, research and the invention of open science more and more useful of the world of tomorrow.

 

A PLACE FOR LEARNING TO ASK QUESTIONS

It all started with two freethinking, creative minds: François Taddei, a graduate of École Polytechnique, research biologist and winner of the 2003 Liliane Bettencourt Prize for Life Sciences, and Ariel Lindner, who holds a degree in immunology from the Weizmann Institute of Science. Both are researchers at Inserm. Since the mid-2000s, they have been breaking free of the usual constraints of biological research and higher education, freeing up students’ ideas about the life sciences, creating a curriculum that is unique in France and developing a center for innovation with boundless productivity.

Undergraduates and postgraduates alike learn to be daring as a prerequisite for progress in science. But first, they learn to ask questions without worrying about the boundaries between fields. History’s great scientists invented new models, launched scientific revolutions and opened the way to modernity by challenging accepted wisdom. The students, who have varied backgrounds – medicine, biology, physics, chemistry, engineering sciences, computer science or philosophy – learn interdisciplinarity through their contact with each other.

 

By 2020, 50% of science will be interdisciplinary.

Alan Leshner, CEO Emeritus of AAAS, former publisher of Science magazine

 

Since the mid-2000s, the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation has made a strong commitment to the work of François Taddei and Ariel Lindner, convinced of the innovative potential of a project impactings life science research, the mechanisms of knowledge production, researcher training, education, the mobilization of collective intelligence and society's capacity to mobilize its resources to face challenges. For 10 years now, the Foundation has been supporting developments at the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity, starting with the launch of its BMD (Bachelor-Master-Doctorate) curriculum.

 

BACHELOR-MASTER-DOCTORATE: RESEARCH & SOCIAL INVOLVEMENT

It all began in 2003 with an informal interdisciplinary student seminar, which led a year later to the creation of the "Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Sciences" Master 2 degree. The enthusiasm of the first students in this master’s program and the research professors who accompanied them led to the creation of the "Frontières du Vivant" (FdV) interdisciplinary doctoral program at the end of 2006, co-hosted by the Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot universities.
With 25 to 30 students per class since 2007, FdV differs from other French doctoral programs in several ways:

  • The field of study has no limits. Thesis projects, written by the candidates and evaluated by an international scientific board, are not restricted to a single field. The topics covered range from molecular interactions to ecology, social science and cognition;
  • The students come from a variety of countries and fields, and are encouraged to interact regularly. Each thesis is followed by researchers from different disciplines;
  • The involvement of students in the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity reaches far beyond their thesis. A true hub of scientific exchange, the graduate school received the highest rating (A+) from the French Evaluation Agency for Research and Higher Education in 2013.

The success of the graduate program has led to its expansion with support from the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. In 2009, a Master 1 degree was introduced. In the fall of 2011, FdV's bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary science welcomed students who had just received their baccalaureate.

The same selection criteria – excellence, openness and eclecticism – are applied at all stages of the BMD curriculum. At the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity, students of all levels, through conferences and projects they often have initiated themselves, benefit from this diversity to continually raise more questions and in the process invent tomorrow’s biology, a branch of science that is increasingly open to the world.

With the solid foundation of its BMD curriculum, the Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity has become an open platform for innovation and creativity. Recognized by leading world centers, it is strongly committed to an open, responsible and generous form of science aimed at collectively meeting the challenges of our generations.

Center for Research and Interdiciplinarity
Doctoral Program
AIV (Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Science) master’s degree 
Frontières du Vivant bachelor’s degree
iGEM
François Taddei
Ariel Lindner
 
 
 
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