- Guillaume Lachenal, University Professor who joins the médialab ©Alexis Lecomte
This year, 16 new permanent faculty members have joined Sciences Po. Discover their research and specialisations.
Meet our new faculty
Sciences Po's academic community
Sciences Po's academic community consists of approximately 230 researchers and 350 doctoral students across 11 research centres or departments and a doctoral school. Their work mainly lies in one of Sciences Po's five major disciplines: law, economics, history, political science and sociology.
The development of our academic community is one of Sciences Po’s priority objectives, with a strong focus on the internationalisation of profiles and the place of women.
- J.P. Fitoussi, J. Stiglitz, V. Zelizer and J. Lazarus ©Alexis Lecomte
During a moving ceremony on 13 November 2019, Sciences Po awarded the sociologist Viviana Zelizer and the economist Joseph Stiglitz the titles of Docteur honoris causa. This distinction was given to Dr. Zelizer for her work as the founder of a new school of economic sociology, and to Dr. Stiglitz as the figure of the new Keynesian economy. The invaluable contributions made to their respective disciplines were highlighted in the praises of Jeanne Lazarus and Jean-Paul Fitoussi, respectively.
Created in 1918, the title of Doctor honoris causa is one of the most prestigious distinctions awarded by French higher education institutions to honour "people of foreign nationalities because of outstanding services to science, literature or the arts, to France or to the higher education institution that awards the title."
Source: Sorbonne Université
- An online consultation is open from 4 to 15 November 2019
How can Sciences Po become a more sustainable university and workplace? An online consultation, "Sustainable Campus", is open now until 15 November in order to gather your ideas, proposals and votes to help us become a more ecologically responsible university. This consultation is one of the pillars of our Climate Action: Make it Work initiative and concerns all of the Sciences Po campuses.
To participate, visit the Climate Action: Make It Work collaborative platform and log in using your Sciences Po address.
You can suggest one or more ideas and/or vote on other ideas amongst any of the six themes of the consultation:
- Waste Management
- Transport & Food
- Suppliers & Partners
- Energy Consumption
- Green Spaces
- Events & Debates
Following the consultation, the ideas with the most votes under each theme will be subject to a comprehensive review. These ideas along with a summary of all contributions will be presented to the governing entities of Sciences Po. This consultation will nourish the institutional action plan on sustainability and our ecological transition, which will be presented early 2020 by our sustainability officer.
We're counting on you !
- Guillaume Plantin, Vice President for Research at Sciences Po ©Alexis Lecomte
Guillaume Plantin, Vice President for Research and professor at the department of economics, worked abroad for many years before joining Sciences Po. This experience was conducive to his understanding of research in a global context: global in terms of the issues to explore – environment, digital technology, populism – and global in terms of the global competition in which science is evolving. He believes that research at Sciences Po has a solid record and has demonstrated the necessary creativity to meet these challenges – in its own way. He explains in this interview.
What are the particularities of research at Sciences Po?
I would say that Sciences Po’s research has four key features. First, our research is dominated by political science. It’s a hallmark since this discipline was born within our walls in France, over a century ago. Law, economics, history, and sociology then gradually developed. This focus on a limited number of disciplines is a second feature. It is one of our strengths because it allows us to work collegially by adopting multidisciplinary approaches, i.e. when a “subject” is separately studied by several disciplines, and interdisciplinary research, i.e. when disciplines jointly approach a same subject. This is the third pillar. The fourth dimension, which is just as important, is our faculty’s involvement in public debate. Since its creation, Sciences Po has assigned itself the mission of using the products of its research to engage with society beyond academia. Finally, our research faithfully reflects Sciences Po’s pedagogical goal, for which it is also a resource.
What are current areas of focus?
We are already tackling increasingly pressing issues: the environment, digital technology, territories, gender, populism, and economic and financial instabilities. We are now launching new interdisciplinary groups, like the one seeking to bring together law and economics to address common themes. There is much to do in this area. For example, what economic tools are used in the legal process and the development of its rulings? We also make our researchers communicate about their methods. It is necessary and conducive to new ideas and practices. The medialab is a major asset in this regard, and is unique in the French academic landscape. It has fostered the development of cutting-edge methods, such as ones to harvest and analyse big data. Many researchers use these new tools. The medialab and participating researchers from all backgrounds also created a working group on digital transitions. Finally, we will start exploring subjects that are usually confined to the so-called “hard” sciences. An example is biotechnology, which is raising ethical, political, and social questions that the social sciences must consider.
Aren’t there older and more persistent subjects like inequalities that are and will always be worth studying?
Of course, but these issues are evolving. Inequalities are a case in point: the transformation of economic, financial, and technological systems are deeply changing them. It behoves us to understand why, how, and what are the social and political effects it entails. We must also help imagine public policies and societal changes to stem inequalities deemed out of control in many countries. One of our laboratories – MaxPo, the product of an alliance with the prestigious Max Planck Institute – focuses on this. Another example is research pursued within the Laboratory for interdisciplinary study of public policies (the LIEPP). Its research addresses the longstanding need to measure the effectiveness of public policy. But by combining an interdisciplinary approach, scientific rigor, and a desire to make proposals understandable to a broad audience, it reinvents this type of study.
What challenges should the institution and its researchers address?
It is essential that we continue to pair disciplines and be open to society. This objective may seem self-evident but it is not easy to reach. We were able, in several years, to lift ourselves to the rank of a world-class research university, and we must now continue growing in an extremely competitive global environment. It is therefore key that our faculty members conduct advanced research in their disciplines and publish in the best international journals. Besides the pursuit of this classical academic excellence, we ask that they dialogue with other disciplines and reach out to the general public. The vast majority of our researchers appreciates the need for this multi-pronged effort, and it is our duty to help them by allowing them, among other things, to manage their time, and by providing them with solid administrative support.
What are the major institutional developments?
First, we are mindful of applying to ourselves our research findings on gender equality, for example. While much progress remains to be made, we are on the right path. Another challenge is to continue to internationalise. We have very satisfactorily succeeded in combining these objectives. Over the past years we have recruited many researchers from abroad who are studying key issues. The idea is to strengthen cooperation, like the Alliance program connecting us to Columbia, our joint PhDs, and our partnerships with universities located in countries that are crucibles of globalisation, such as China and Brazil. Finally, we would like to emphasise our efforts to integrate foreign academics visiting Sciences Po. Over a hundred of them come every year. It is a wonderful means for us to open ourselves to other ways of thinking and to different perspectives on questions that affect all societies. Another objective is to not rest on our laurels. Hence, our faculty’s activities are regularly assessed internally and externally. There are obviously quantitative indicators, but we are especially committed to a qualitative analysis of the research and its long-term impact.
All this requires significant resources…
Indeed! Sciences Po devotes around a third of its own resources to research. A significant part of this effort focuses on the next generation – our PhD students – who must be able to pursue their research in the best conditions. We also secure public funding on the basis of highly competitive calls for proposals, especially those of the European Research Council, and of the National Agency for Research. Finally, we deploy private funding, without ever compromising on the most precious good: academic independence and freedom.
- The Reims campus library, renamed in honor of Peter J. Awn ©Martin Argyroglo
Energetic. Supportive. Eccentric. Intellectual. Non-traditional. Witty. Brilliant. Passionate. When colleagues and alumni are asked to describe the late Dean Emeritus Peter J. Awn of the Columbia University School of General Studies, adjectives begin to flow. As of September 2019, his name will adorn the state-of-the-art library of our Reims campus.
On September 4th, 2019, current Dean of General Studies of Columbia University, Lisa Rosen-Metsch, the President of Sciences Po, Frédéric Mion, former Vice-President of International Affairs, Francis Verillaud, the Dean of the Undergraduate College, Stéphanie Balme, campus director, Tilman Turpin, family, friends, alumni and current students, gathered on the Reims campus for a dedication ceremony that would name the campus library after the late Dean Awn.
Dean of the School of General Studies from 1997 to 2017, Peter Awn, together with Francis Verrillaud, was the co-founder of the dual BA program between Columbia University and Sciences Po. Their shared vision of a world-class, international and multicultural education resulted in the creation of a program that would allow students to study two years at Sciences Po (in Reims, Le Havre or Menton), and two years at Columbia University in the city of New York.
According to students and colleagues, both past and present, Peter J. Awn was more than just a professor or a Dean - he was an inimitable institution of the Morningside campus. His fame was not limited to Columbia, however, as he was well-loved and respected by all who had the privilege of meeting him. He possessed an inexhaustible desire to improve the lives of students, and it was this shared desire that helped Columbia University and Sciences Po make the dual BA program between Columbia University and Sciences Po the success it is today. But his role did not end there: Dean Awn visited the three participating campuses twice a year, meeting students from the incoming cohorts and ensuring that they already felt part of Columbia University. President Mion described him as a francophile, and Vice-Dean Curtis Rodgers recounted how much he cherished meeting students during his bi-annual visits to France.
Dean Awn was part of the School of General Studies for four decades, and it is not difficult to understand why he became almost synonymous with the institution. “GS” (as it is informally known) was created in 1947 with the purpose of allowing WWII veterans to return to university and rebuild their lives. A former Jesuit priest-turned-scholar of Islam, Dean Awn believed in second chances, and so he took this vision and expanded it to all 'non-traditional' students (be it veterans, performers, entrepreneurs, career-changers, or clergymen) who had had to interrupt their higher education or start at a later age due to various circumstances. The dual BA, launched in 2010, was perhaps the most innovative extension of these values.
Awn, who had since retired from the position of Dean but continued to teach at Columbia University, kept a close relationship with students and alumni of the dual BA until his death in February 2019. Sciences Po chose to honour its colleague and friend through the naming of the recently created Reims campus library, a place of intellectual reflection and curiosity.
The dedication ceremony was conducted in the former refectory, where campus director Tilman Turpin, President Mion, Vice-Dean Curtis Rodgers, Francis Verillaud, Dean Rosen-Metsch, Elif Naz Coker, an alumna of the program, as well as Norman Laurila, a lifelong friend of Dean Awn, addressed the gathering. In a poignant series of tributes, speakers recounted memories, told anecdotes, and paid their respects to a figure who dedicated his life to the pursuit of excellence in education, but most importantly, to education that is accessible to all. To close the ceremony, President Mion and Dean Rosen-Metsch unveiled the plaque honouring Dean Awn that will henceforth adorn the entrance of the bibliothèque, a sacred space that symbolizes knowledge and education and where students spend countless hours during their studies.
- "Sciences Po Dedicates Reims Campus Library to Late Dean Emeritus Peter J. Awn", Columbia School of General Studies
- U7 Alliance Summit at Sciences Po in July 2019 ©Sciences Po
Under the high patronage of the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, the first annual U7+ Alliance Summit took place at Sciences Po on July 9 & 10, 2019, with 47 university leaders from 18 countries. The purpose of the summit was to formalise and vote on a series of founding principles for the U7+ Alliance, and for universities to commit to associated concrete actions to tackle global issues, within their own communities, in the context of the upcoming G7 Summit in Biarritz in August 2019.
Weigh in on the Multilateral Agenda
The U7+ Alliance is an international alliance of university leaders, from G7 countries and beyond, who are committed to academic freedom and scholarly values and convinced of the key role of universities as global actors, to engage in discussions leading to concrete action to address pressing global challenges. It is the very first alliance of university leaders aimed at structuring and advancing their role as global actors across the multilateral agenda.
French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, opened the inaugural summit with a powerful message: "The U7+ summit that is about to open will be a unique space for debate on the global roles of universities beyond academia." Frédéric Mion, President of Sciences Po, addressed the conference room stating, "This meeting is not yet another academic symposium, nor is it a place for us to advocate for increased support. This summit is a circle for group reflection and action on the future and development of higher education in the world, and our role as global players."
At the July 9 & 10 Summit, the U7+ Alliance members voted and adopted 6 principles to address 5 major challenges of the multilateral agenda:
- Universities as key actors in a global world
- Climate and energy transition
- Inequality and polarized societies
- Technological transformation
- Community engagement and impact
Six Principles Voted; 247 Individual Commitments to Action Made
Associated with the 6 adopted principles, 247 individual commitments to action were made by U7+ Alliance universities.
- Principle 1. We recognize that the U7+ embodies our common will to identify and address the global challenges our contemporary societies face in order to accelerate the development of solutions. We commit to pursuing joint action through the U7+, including meeting each year in the context of the G7 process, so that our actions can weigh in the discussions and contribute to making positive change a reality.
- Principle 2. We recognize that our universities have a distinctive responsibility to train and nurture responsible and active citizens who will contribute to society, from the local to the global level.
- Principle 3. We recognize that our universities have a major role to play in addressing the environmental issues and challenges to sustainability such as climate change, biodiversity and energy transition. This should include leading by example on our own campuses.
- Principle 4. We recognize that universities have a distinctive and major responsibility in widening access to education and promoting inclusion and opportunity. We will also foster respectful and evidence-based public debate, in order to combat polarization in our society.
- Principle 5. To engage with stakeholders and solve complex issues of global relevance we recognize that universities must promote interdisciplinary research and learning, in particular bridging in our research and teaching between social sciences, humanities, the life sciences and STEM disciplines.
- Principle 6. We recognize that the U7+ has the power to serve as a lab to consolidate best practices that can be shared both within our network and more broadly with universities and similar institutions worldwide for inspiration.
- Delphine Grouès ©Sciences Po
This June 2019, Sciences Po hosted the second annual Teaching and Learning Workshop with our global university partners to discuss, debate and share research and methods on the latest innovations in education. This year, the focus was "Blended Learning and Educational Impact," with participants from Harvard University, the National University of Singapore, the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne, LSE, King's College London, the African Leadership University, and more.
- Anne Boring ©Sciences Po
Whether setting up a new business, negotiating a pay rise or taking on more responsibility in the workplace, women can be supported in reaching leadership positions. As of 2018, Sciences Po's Women in Business Chair aims to improve understanding of the obstacles women face and spearhead action to remove them. Interview with Anne Boring, researcher in charge of the Chair. Anne’s work focuses on the analysis of gender inequalities in the professional world.
Anne Boring, the idea for this chair began with an observation: that fewer female students at Sciences Po are involved in creating start-ups than their male counterparts...
Yes, the idea was sparked three years ago when I was doing research for PRESAGE, Sciences Po's Gender Research and Academic Programme. Maxime Marzin, Director of the Sciences Po Business Incubator, told me about a phenomenon she had observed: that female students at Sciences Po are less involved in the creation of start-ups than their male counterparts. This is despite the fact that 50% of the two to three hundred students attending the introductory course in entrepreneurship each year are women, whose results are good and on par with those of the men. This phenomenon can also be observed outside of Sciences Po. For example, only 26% of the beneficiaries of National Student Entrepreneur Status (figures 2015-2016) are women. Our interest in this anomaly led us to travel to Stanford, USA, to study best practices in Silicon Valley. We returned to Sciences Po with the idea of creating a Chair, whose aim would be to lift the barriers to the development of women's entrepreneurial and professional ambitions.
Have you identified any of the specific barriers that hold women back from starting up a business?
Along with Alessandra Cocito, who founded a start-up and teaches at the Centre for Entrepreneurship, I’ve been interviewing female Sciences Po students to find out what prevents them from taking the plunge. The main obstacles that we’ve identified are a lack of self-confidence, an absence of belief in their own credibility, difficulty managing risks, less appetite for competition, scarcity of female role models, qualms about public speaking, and a sense of isolation when operating in an environment where women are very much the minority. More broadly speaking, these are also the barriers to women taking up leadership positions within companies.
How will the Chair be linked to teaching at Sciences Po?
The Chair is intended to work with the different Sciences Po entities: the Undergraduate College; the various Masters programmes; PRESAGE and the Careers Service. In particular, the Chair is intended to develop a better understanding of which competencies female students need to develop to prepare female students for the obstacles they are likely to come up against. Research shows that women tend not to develop as many of the core skills in the workplace as men, including some soft skills. To give an example that might seem a bit caricatured but is described in the research, let’s consider the so-called ‘good female student’. During her studies she’ll keep a relatively low profile, she won’t speak up a lot in class and is unlikely to advertise or promote her abilities. Social norms and conventions often value modesty among women. However, once women enter the job market, making their skills and competencies known becomes essential to progressing in their careers. Women find themselves at a disadvantage to men who are more used to speaking up, making their voices heard, and putting themselves forward.
How will your work have an impact?
Our work will have an impact through research, training, and improved dissemination of good practices. On the research side, the objective is to forge collaborations with researchers in the areas of economics, sociology and psychology, to create new teaching strategies and workshops designed to empower women. The Chair will also inform the wider public about effective ways of fostering entrepreneurship and promoting women's leadership. It is this combination that makes the programme particularly innovative: offering new teaching based upon the research and becoming a resource for all institutions wishing to establish teaching programmes. Our effectiveness in this area will have been proven by a scientific approach.
You have previously said that institutions are often misguided in their attempts to facilitate women’s access to positions of responsibility and that the effect of some initiatives is actually counterproductive.
Companies understand that it is in their interest to have more women in positions of responsibility. Their intentions are generally well-meaning and some companies go as far as establishing specific initiatives. However, the research shows that some of these initiatives can be counterproductive; they may even contribute to strained working relations between women and men, and in some cases reduce promotion opportunities for women. Furthermore, there is a notable lack of communication between researchers studying these issues and the companies themselves. This Chair is also intended to improve the information companies receive about initiatives whose impact has been evaluated scientifically.
Does the Chair aim to bring about lasting changes in attitudes?
As an economist, I don’t necessarily seek to change attitudes, but I do want to inform decision-making, for example by improving understanding of how women's career choices are shaped. Research shows that women tend to choose studies that lead to careers that are less well-paid and have inferior career development prospects. These choices are largely influenced by gender stereotypes and a lack of information. If women better understood how these stereotypes influence their choices, and if they were better informed about the consequences of their choices, they might make career decisions that are better aligned with their true ambitions. My objective is the following: to help women achieve their own individual ambitions.
The Women in Business Chair was created at the initiative of the Sciences Po Centre for Entrepreneurship, in partnership with the Sciences Po Interdisciplinary Laboratory for the Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP) and the Gender Research and Academic Programme (PRESAGE). It is supported by the CHANEL Foundation and Goldman Sachs.
Anne Boring is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at Erasmus University Rotterdam and associate researcher at LIEPP and PRESAGE. Her work has a particular focus on econometric analyses of gender inequalities in higher education and the world of work.