Five scientific priorities
By opening up the communication between disciplines, we are at the heart of a process of ongoing innovation. We cultivate knowledge and invest in research to understand the complexity of contemporary societal issues and create new solutions. Together, we have five challenges.
Building the Connected City
Amal El Fallah Seghrouchni, professor at Sorbonne University, researcher in artificial intelligence at the Laboratoire d'Informatique de Paris 6 (LIP6).
"A connected city is a city that relies on information and communication technologies to provide high value-added urban services. Digitisation, with Artificial Intelligence at the fore, connected objects and new deployment and storage infrastructures enable citizens to access services and data without the constraints of time, space or devices (anywhere, anytime, any device).
Through the continuous connection and access to real-time data, it becomes possible to intelligently manage a city and optimise the use of its resources (e.g. to improve traffic flow, facilitate parking, collect data and analyse the frequentation of an urban area to light the streets).
These connected cities, which will be home to 60% of the population in 2030, must nevertheless guarantee reliability, efficiency, safety, transparency and ethics (e.g. data protection, privacy, scam and hacking prevention) as issues to be regulated by laws. Compliance with these requirements is all the more crucial as new technologies and digital services address almost all sectors of urban activity and transform them in depth: democracy, the economy, education, employment, infrastructure, transport, housing, energy, the environment, security and quality of life...".
Developing artificial intelligence
Today, artificial intelligence (AI) is everywhere. It is already transforming society and having an impact on our lives.
Thanks to its faculties of Humanities, Medicine, and Science and Engineering, Sorbonne University, has considerable strengths in the fundamental aspects of AI (in mathematics, computer science and robotics), its applications (in health, the environment and artistic creation) and in digital humanities. Sorbonne University created the Sorbonne Center for Artificial Intelligence (SCAI) in June 2019.
Gérard Biau, Professor at the Probability, Statistics and Modelling Laboratory and Director of SCAI:
"Thought as a "house of AI" in the heart of Paris, the centre aims to motivate, organise and improve the visibility of multidisciplinary research in AI through the setting up of chairs of excellence, the support and hosting of interdisciplinary projects, concerted responses to calls for tenders, the creation of task forces and the implementation of doctoral programs...".
Inventing tomorrow's health
Progress in health engineering and the development of the medical humanities are leading to new medical approaches, both in terms of the responses and the understanding of patients and their freedom.
Alexandre Carpentier, neurosurgeon, professor at Sorbonne University, Faculty of Medicine, founder of CarThera.
"I have two challenges: to make surgery less invasive, more effective and less expensive, and to optimise treatments by promoting the penetration of drugs into the brain. We are the first in the world to develop a technology that has revolutionised chemotherapy for brain tumours and will have applications for other conditions such as Alzheimer's disease or multiple sclerosis. Working in a multidisciplinary universitý, with top-level researchers in all fields, has allowed me to approach the disease in a totally innovative way.”
Pierre-Henry Tavoillot, philosopher, HDR academic professor at the Sorbonne Universitéy, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Philosophy, chairs the College of Philosophy. Member of the society’s Analysis Council from 2004 to 2013.
"Health has become a major issue that now dictates behaviour, imposes rites and determines behaviour. It serves as a guide for life, from the cradle to the grave, and with profound changes: what will childhood be like when parents can decide on the characteristics of their offspring? What will old age mean when the transhumanist promises of its abolition come to fruition? What will youth mean when all ages can claim to preserve it? As for adulthood: will it still exist? The medicine of the future, preventive, predictive, personalised and participatory, holds fabulous prospects, but will also bring about a transformation of our lives. Our researchers are helping to research these matters without excessive caution or blind confidence.”
Ensuring THE environmental transition
In the face of climate change, it is essential and urgent to find concrete solutions for everyday life.
Laurence Eymard, Professor Emeritus at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, Sorbonne University
"The Paris Agreement of 4 November 2016 gives a new responsibility to every stakeholder in each country to strongly engage in the environmental transition: mitigation and adaptation to climate change, fair management of resources, preservation of the biodiversitý and ecosystem services.
Sorbonne University's skills are many and varied in all these areas, and can and must be mobilised to ensure that the transition is completed for the benefit of society.”
Sylvie Brunel, after 17 years in humanitarian work, professor in geography at Sorbonne University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Geography and Planning, author of numerous books, winner of the Edouard Bonnefous Grand Prix of the Académie des Sciences morales et politiques in 2016.
"Because environmental transition is at the heart of territorial change and requires the adaptation of agricultural production systems, Sorbonne University is combining its expertise in geography, biology, regional planning and climatology to provide local authorities and as major public and private stakeholders with a coherent and global framework for thinking about changes in the rural world. Putting the agricultural producer back at the heart of the production of landscapes and nourishing biodiversity and restoring a rural approach so that territories remain alive, contributes to the intelligence of agrarian societies and helps the land to remain habitable, attractive and sustainable!”
Preserving and passing on heritage for the future
Philippe Walter, chemist, specialist in artistic practices, research director at CNRS, director of the Laboratory of Molecular and Structural Archaeology, Sorbonne University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Chemistry and co-director of the Heritage Intelligence Unit of Sorbonne University.
"Tangible or intangible, cultural or natural, all heritage objects have a common definition: they are collective goods inherited over time, with an imperative need to be passed on to future generations and requiring protection.
The concept of heritage is at the centre of growing social issues: communities are claiming their own heritage to assert their identity, to boost a political struggle, to develop tourism and their economy.
By developing interdisciplinary programmes and due to an exceptional range of technical resources designed for this research, Sorbonne University participates in this transformation of issues by deciphering the origins and uses of heritage objects and by contributing to their conservation and enhancement. All disciplines are involved: from the digital humanities to neuroscience and the science of materials.”