Jean Chambaz, president of Sorbonne University, and Bruno Sportisse, president and CEO of Inria, signed a strategic partnership agreement on Thursday, July 1, 2021, at the Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI), to strengthen their leadership in the digital domain.
Consolidating the long-standing cooperation between the two institutions, this signature, which took place in the presence of Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, marks the beginning of a cycle of strategic partnerships between Inria and major world-class research universities, through the creation of "Inria University Centers."
Through this partnership, Sorbonne University intends to focus its long-term strategy on the digital revolution, data, intelligence and open science, and to fully play its role as a research operator. By placing its expertise in research and technological innovation at the service of Sorbonne University, through the "Inria Center of Sorbonne University", Inria (the National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology) plans to accelerate the construction of a French scientific, technological and industrial leadership in and through digital technology.
For Jean Chambaz, president of Sorbonne University, "Inria’s development of real strategic agreements with the most prominent research universities is an example of a desire to go beyond the current limits of the system we know in France, by combining the potential of university and non-university research operators for the benefit of the country's development."
By combining their scientific excellence and digital expertise, Sorbonne University and Inria aim to strengthen the disciplines at the heart of digital sciences (computer science, mathematics) and their intersections with other disciplines. The co-construction of interdisciplinary research in the fields of health, digital humanities, quantum information and artificial intelligence should promote disruptive research to meet major societal challenges and increase France's economic impact and international attractiveness.
The framework agreement identifies major areas of collaboration on future research topics, based on existing strengths, distributed in current joint project teams or those to be created between Sorbonne University and Inria. Several stages of action should encourage synergies around digital research, training and innovation: the involvement of Inria researchers in the education of Sorbonne University students; the creation of joint project teams with industry actors; the development of innovation facilities such as the Inria Startup Studio and Paris Parc, Sorbonne University's future innovation and entrepreneurship center; and continuing education in the digital field for local SMEs.
This partnership will also be embodied by the location of joint activities carried out by Sorbonne University's Inria Center on the new Censier campus, shared with the University of Paris 2 Panthéon-Assas. This interdisciplinary center will make it possible to build new synergies between the social sciences, digital sciences and technologies, and artificial intelligence research.
For Bruno Sportisse, CEO of Inria, "The signature of this strategic partnership with Sorbonne University, a world-class university, is in line with Inria's proactive site policy, which is designed to support the development of major research universities. Sorbonne University and Inria have been working closely together for many years through their joint project teams, often with other academic partners, and the implementation of large-scale projects such as SCAI. The "Sorbonne University Inria Center", established within the Inria Center in Paris, embodies our common ambition for education, research and innovation in digital technology, and carries a shared set of operational devices for greater impact."
This article was first published on July 7 by Sorbonne University.