Social and Urban Innovation in Paris: Discover our Summer School The Biopolis

  • © Adam Tanaka - CRI© Adam Tanaka - CRI

For the 3rd year in a row, Harvard, CRI and the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs will bring together 50 students to participate in the Summer School "The Biopolis", with the goal of rethinking social and urban innovation in the city of Paris. For 2 months (June and July), 12 international and inter-university groups will imagine the city of tomorrow and will present their final projects at the end of July on their concrete solutions to improve social and urban life in Paris.


The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) defined by the United Nations, provide the general framework for the Summer School, setting the priority issues and the most urgent global challenges.

This year, the main themes of the Summer School "The Biopolis" are health and employment. These projects seek to enhance both the city's infrastructure and the socio-intellectual capital of its residents.


The notion of collective contribution to improve a living environment corresponds to the evolution of a population, such as bacteria in a colony, cells of a tissue, or the animals in an ecosystem.


The city can be compared to a living system where the students build biological metaphors to help develop their projects. They explore the links between biology, engineering, design and social sciences with the aim of developing concrete and innovative solutions to the major challenges facing the city of Paris. The goal ? Put more than 3 billion years of biological evolution toward the benefit of innovative projects.

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CORE: A different way to study economics

A new manual to better understand the world we live in
  • Yann Algan presenting CORE ©Sciences PoYann Algan presenting CORE ©Sciences Po

In recent years, students and teachers alike have come to realize that there is an insufficient culture and knowledge of economics in our society. The study of economics and the reality of how our world operates differ enormously. This realization led to the creation of CORE, a new course and manual developed by professors of economics from around the world, including Yann Algan at Sciences Po. The goal of this course: to show that economic tools, often considered too abstract and theoretical, can help solve real-world problems and crises.

"What is the most urgent issue that economists should address?" - "Inequalities!" shout students all around the world when prompted. But there is also climate change, financial instability, unemployment. Faced with these expectations, economics courses disappoint or even divert students from the subject.

"During the 2008 crisis,” explains Wendy Carlin, Professor of Economics and Macroeconomics at UCL and co-author of CORE, “economics students were embarrassed: they went home to celebrate the holidays and when their families asked them for explanations, they were unable to give them any answers."

Too theoretical, too far removed from contemporary issues

It is from this observation that the CORE project was created in 2016 (CORE: Curriculum Open Access Resources in Economics): if citizens of the world are so critical vis-à-vis the economy, it is undoubtedly that the way it is being taught is partially responsible. "The teaching of economics is strongly questioned around the world, and particularly in France, because it is considered too theoretical, too far removed from major contemporary issues, and too reductive on human behavior", explains Yann Algan, Economist and Professor at Sciences Po and one of the authors of the project. CORE, “an open-access platform for anyone who wants to understand the economics of innovation, inequality, environmental sustainability, and more”, is led by a team of researchers and teachers from around the world, and already used in over a hundred universities in the world.

"The greatest resistance to change,” continues Yann Algan, “is the lack of alternatives. To make concrete changes, we needed a tool that could be immediately implemented in the classroom.” That is the objective of the CORE ebook, The Economy, a completely free online manual. The French version has just been published online; students from Sciences Po and the Toulouse School of Economics have been using it since last September.

Teach the economy as if the last 30 years had taken place

To better meet the expectations of students, this new method of teaching economics takes the opposite route of conventional textbooks, based on a simple idea: to study reality. First and foremost, the reality of human beings, who are able to both think of their own self-interest, but also capable of cooperating, and being generous. Oddly enough, this has little or nothing to do with the abstract homo economicus depicted in traditional textbooks. The reality of today's world, which takes into account recent discoveries from economics research, addresses issues related to the environment, economic instability, and inequality. The reality of human and social science is not an isolated object but one that is enriched by the contributions of law, history, sociology. "We cannot understand a company if we ignore the power, politics or social law," notes Samuel Bowles, Arthur Spiegel Research Professor and Director of Behavioral Sciences Program at the Santa Fe Institute, and co-founder and author of CORE. “We have made fundamental changes in how we represent individuals, and how we represent our interactions.”

Thus reinvented, the study of economics turns to search for resolutions of the current problems we face. It does not limit itself to opposing the thinking and theories of the great economists, deemed forever irreconcilable: "We don’t want to juxtapose and compare economists’ views," explains Samuel Bowles. "We do pluralism by integration. We borrow heavily from great economists and create new paradigms."

About CORE: Curriculum Open-access Resources in Economics

CORE-based courses have already been taught as a general introduction to economics in more than 100 universities around the world. Since its launch in 2016, more than 60,500 users in 186 countries and more than 6,100 teachers in 131 countries have used CORE. The paper version of the English eBook has already been reissued six times to reflect demand. Translations into Farsi, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, as well as an adaptation for Southeast Asia are in preparation. An enriched website was launched in September 2017 and a new project adapted to an audience of non-specialists in economics was recently developed by 20 universities.

More information

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SIPA hosts SDG Accelerator Workshop

May 2018
  • © SIPA - City Hall in New York© SIPA - City Hall in New York

In 2017 the Global Public Policy Network  created the first academic program to train emerging leaders to create solutions for the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals : The SDG Certificate*.


The one-year program includes a leadership module (at Sciences Po School of Public Affairs), a skills module (at Columbia SIPA in New York), SDG-oriented courses (at participants’ home schools), and presentation of an SDG final project and graduation from the program (at GPPN’s Annual Global Conference).


One the week of May, 25th 2018, SIPA hosted its unit of the program, known as the SDG Accelerator Workshop, welcoming four student teams comprising 18 students from Sciences Po, the Hertie School of Governance, the Lee Kwan Yew School of Public Policy, and SIPA. Over the course of five days, attendees assessed their progress since the Paris unit and worked to move their projects from thematic concepts to operational plans.


Program highlights included skills workshops (devoted to stakeholder analysis and partnership building, logical framework analysis and monitoring and evaluation, and resource mobilization including business modeling and pitching), consultation with the UN and New York City government agencies, an introduction to financing for sustainable development.


* SIPA’s participants are designed as fellows in the GPPN SDG program

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Sustainable Development Goals Certificate: a Global Joint Programme

  • An SDG certificate studentAn SDG certificate student

Last week, the first cohort of students of the Sustainable Development Goals Professional Certificate programme met together for the first time to take part in the SDGs Leadership Seminar, organised by the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs.

As a member of the Global Public Policy Network (GPPN), the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs offers the SDG Professional Certificate, a global joint programme providing innovative training and international collaboration on how to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Throughout the week, all 18 students met with public policy actors, international organizations, local associations and private sector representatives to gain a better understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals. To help them develop their own entrepreneurial projects related to the SDGs, they participated in design-thinking workshops, SDG Master Classes, and field work activities.

This international programme is composed of four member universities of the GPPN, in association with partners from the public and private sector as well as members from civil society:

  • Columbia SIPA, New York
  • Hertie School of Governance, Berlin
  • LKY School of Public Policy at the National University of Singapore, Singapore
  • Sciences Po School of Public Affairs, Paris

The SDG Professional Certificate allows students to develop entrepreneurial skills and to work with public policy students from participating GPPN universities. It provides an opportunity for students to develop concrete projects rooted in their local environments, and to showcase them to an international audience of academics, practitioners and policymakers specializing in the SDGs.

As part of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda, having specialized knowledge and hands-on experience on how to meet the SDGs is in high demand from government agencies, international organizations, private companies and social sector at every scale.

See the full week programme (PDF, 1.2 Mo).

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Discover the first edition of the Sciences Po Review of Public Affairs!

  • © AEAP© AEAP

The School of Public Affairs has the great pleasure to announce the release of the first edition of the Sciences Po Review of Public Affairs!

The review is conceived as a multidisciplinary and resolutely bilingual projects, two traits inherent to our School.  The editorial committee, composed of Sciences Po students, seeks to assemble in this review a sampling of works concerning public affairs produced by Sciences Po students. These articles deal with law, economics, cultural policies, social policies, health policies, political philosophy and many more. 

The project is an initiative of the School of Public Affairs Association (AEAP). 

Although it is a project highlighting the work of students, in order to function successfully, it will also ensure high quality submissions. 

To accomplish this, the editorial committee collects and pre-selects the articles. They are then submitted to the scientific committee, composed of academics and representatives related to public affairs, which decides which submissions will be published.  

To read the first edition of the Review of Public Affairs, please click here.


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