Interdisciplinarity is an essential tool to address today’s big social issues.

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by Eric Humler, Head of research

Research has changed dramatically in recent years, and the need to address today’s big social issues is a strategic focus for universities, government, research councils, business and industry. Interdisciplinarity is an essential tool to address today's big social issues. the Ecole des Mines de Nantes will launch an interdisciplinary program devoted to support this type of synergy (the so-called interD-MN project).

In order to tackle today’s big societal issues, we must develop innovative approaches that bridge conventional boundaries between research disciplines and create innovative solutions to these global dilemmas. The Ecole des Mines de Nantes (MN) wants to respond to this challenge by identifying themes that build on our current areas of expertise across the Ecole’s five departments and open to cooperation with other national and/or international laboratories.  By joining up our exciting and diverse areas of research and by partnering with external organizations, our interdisciplinary research will make a significant contribution towards understanding and alleviating some of society’s major challenges.

The call will be open to all areas of Science, Technology and Humanities. We favor a bottom-up identification of potential strategic research areas in which the Ecole des Mines de Nantes and its partners can invest to develop solutions for the future.

The Interdisciplinary Committee will be in charge of the evaluation of the proposals.  It is composed of five scientists covering various areas of activities (intelligent control of complex systems, biology, electronics and digital communications, physics and mathematics..) and are international expert on interdisciplinary studies (Information theory and the brain, Sociophysics and Modeling of Psycho-political phenomena..). They are all widely renowned experts with distinguished academic credentials. In addition, they have professional experience as members of EU expert networks and relevant institutions (including for instance the Collège de France, the French Academy of Sciences, l’Institut Mines Telecom, Sciences Politiques de Paris..etc).

The principal investigators (PIs) submit 5 pages white paper proposals. The Interdisciplinary Committee reviews and shortlists suitable submissions for a one year financial support which is aimed to complete the project (that is the start-up funds period). At the end of the so-called start-up funds period, PIs will organize a symposium that will provide an opportunity to make an inventory of the strengths of the team on the subject, to show how the subject is comtemporary and fertile, and why our community is well organized to produce revelant research, and thus be financially supported for a further two years. The selected projects will receive a financial support of about 150-200 keuros per year.

The MN endowment funds will launch an online crowdfunding platform aimed at providing critical fundraising support for the InterD-MN program. The plateform will utilize social media to connect donors, introducing them to the broad scope of research and programmatic activities on campus. Our public and industrial financial partners will be solicited to built the InterD-MN project.

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