Jean-Marc Bonnisseau, president of Campus Condorcet, answers our questions on the new Cité des Humanités et des Sciences Sociales (Humanities and social sciences research and teaching hub), where INED will move in 2019. The Campus will accommodate nearly 18,000 people—researchers, teachers and students—and 100 research teams on two sites: Porte de la Chapelle in Paris and Aubervilliers.
(Interview conducted in November 2017)
What does the name Cité des Humanités et des Sciences Sociales refer to?
First, Campus Condorcet will occupy a physical chunk of the city; it will constitute a real “cité” in the heart of the Plaine Commune intermunicipal area directly north of Paris. In addition to buildings for social and human science research, Campus Condorcet will offer spaces for student activities, restaurants, and a vast, comprehensive library and documentation facility. The term “cité” was also chosen to emphasize the material aspect of Campus Condorcet, a place dedicated to exchanges between researchers, students and the lay public, a place open to its immediate environment and the world at large.
What is at stake in the future Campus Condorcet and what are the main ambitions?
One of the main issues, a particularly important one in the humanities and social sciences, is to bring together a critical mass of scientific institutions, researchers, and doctoral students on a single site, and so to counter current dispersion of disciplines and the research teams working in them. Campus Condorcet will enable the humanities and social science research community to organize major events, create new types of interaction; and it will stand out as a hub of research activity at the international level—a field of attraction. However, Campus missions extend beyond the physical area it will occupy. They are national in scope, as the aim is to work for the advancement of French humanities and social sciences.
What can researchers and students expect to find at Campus Condorcet?
In addition to the combined research services and library resources of the founding institutions—which will be of great use in developing digital humanities and data science generally—much emphasis will be put on training at both the Master’s and PhD levels. The Porte de la Chapelle site in Paris will be for undergraduate studies in humanities and social sciences but students at Campus Condorcet will be able to earn degrees at all levels. They will come in contact with the world of research very early on and be able to benefit from the dynamism of the place.
How will Campus Condorcet fit into EU and international research arrangements?
Thanks to its structures, Campus Condorcet will be in a position to host considerable numbers of guest researchers and provide them direct access to high-level information and digital services. These resources will be a considerable asset in obtaining grants and setting up international crosscutting research programmes. In the coming years, we hope to develop an institutionalized policy for hosting international research teams on three-to-five-year projects. The French state certified Campus Condorcet in 2009, which means that it already enjoys considerable international visibility and regularly receives requests from Laboratories of Excellence and other entities to set up on Campus premises. And Campus Condorcet founding institutions work to increase Campus visibility and renown via their own international partnership networks. The buildings don’t even exist yet and we are already fine-tuning the services to be offered at the future documentation resources centre, finishing the programme for the upcoming Campus Condorcet public lecture series. All this, together with the increased work pace of the joint institutional taskforces, are clear indications of the dynamism that will characterize the Cité des Humanité and des Sciences Sociales, which opens its doors in 2019.