Discovering "Deep Tech"

Every year, the Sciences Po Centre for Entrepreneurship funds a Learning Expedition. This immersive trip allows students to discover the very best of technological innovation and entrepreneurship - a truly educational visit! This year the 2018-2019 Learning Expedition took place in Boston, where all 12 students delved into “Deep Tech” with M.I.T. researchers, Harvard students, investors, and more. Anthony and Aminata were on this trip; they told us all about the experience.

This year the main focus of the learning expedition was “Deep Tech”. What is it? 

Aminata Kone: “Deep Tech” denotes technological inventions born from fundamental scientific research. These inventions try to resolve the challenges of today, namely climate change, urban planning, data protection etc. During the Learning Expedition we tackled biotech inventions, blockchain, wireless technologies, artificial intelligence, amongst other domains…

Anthony Tastet: “Deep Tech” is a real glimpse into the future! The most amazing methods are used in their research, things which go far beyond our wildest dreams, for example: life in space, a self-charging pacemaker etc.

Why was the trip interesting for you? What did you draw from it?

AT: Innovation is at the very core of my studies. In parallel with my Master’s degree in Finance and Strategy at Sciences Po, I am also studying for a qualification in IT and Development at the Ecole 42. I did an internship as a Business Analyst at Stootie and at Venture Capital, BpiFrance. Going to Boston was a unique opportunity to gain knowledge and to be inspired by the very best in this field. We visited places at the forefront of innovation: M.I.T.’s MediaLab, the Martin Trust Center, Senseable City Lab… After the trip we came back with lots of ideas! At each and every meeting we were filled with the desire to start new projects, to create, and to resolve issues. 

AK: I already had a strong interest in everything surrounding Deep Tech, and so I found the Learning Expedition to be a highly attractive prospect. Meeting with and talking freely with researchers, entrepreneurs, and investors who are immersed in technology on a daily basis provided unique insights. Also, there were some areas - for example, space exploration and biotech - which I knew nothing about before and I thought were far removed from my studies. In Boston, I really enjoyed how we were introduced to the scientific subjects, but most of all, how the discussions related to society, ethics, and policy. The trip really confirmed how important it is to talk about Deep Tech with people who have similar but also very different perspectives. 

Where do you see yourself in the future? Where would you like to be in the next 2, 5, or 10 years?

AT: I am currently doing an internship at Bpifrance in an investment fund (Large Venture) which invests in digital startups, greentech, and biotech. In the near future, I would like to work in the financial sector, probably for Venture Capital. I consider these experiences to be very useful steps that will allow me in the medium term to launch my own project. The Learning Expedition confirmed my interest in Deep Tech; the people we met really transmitted their passion and desire to make change via entrepreneurship, whether it be academic or private. 
 
AK: I am pursuing a Master’s at the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA) at Sciences Po, in International Security, but I am really interested in the energy sector which is one of my focuses. I am really passionate about the reform of the electricity market in the context of decarbonisation, decentralisation, and digitalisation of the sector. In a few years time, I hope to be working on these issues, with the key focus being energy transition.

What would you say to people hoping to go on the 2020 Learning Expedition?

AK: Even if you don’t have any technological expertise, do not think twice - just apply! Being open-minded and wanting to use your skills in a friendly context of learning is enough. It’s also great if you want to quiz experts without being afraid to challenge their points of view!

AT: Go for it! The Learning Expedition is a unique opportunity to meet people, to get ideas, and to gain an understanding of how a city or a region can become an innovation hub.

Applications for the next Learning Expedition (financed by the Centre for Entrepreneurship) are open until 18 April. The destination: Tel Aviv!  

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