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4 | 2008-2009
The Letter
Academic year 2008-2009
Institutional news

Hosting PhD and post-doctoral researchers at the Collège de France

p. 62

Notes de la rédaction

On 9 December 2008 a reception was held for PhD and post-doctoral researchers at the Collège de France. Professor Pierre Corvol, administrator, presented the Collège’s policy in this respect. Professor Serge Haroche handed the Collège de France Hugo Foundation prize for 2008 to Igor Dotsenko.

The Collège de France’s mission is to teach the professors’ own original research. Lectures open to the public and available free-of-charge on Internet are one way of doing so. Another way is by involving PhD students and post-doctoral fellows in the research projects of the Chairs, laboratories and hosted teams. In 2009 the Collège de France has close to 250 advanced PhD and post-doctoral researchers, including a large proportion of foreigners.

The Collège de France would like to develop this aspect of its activity and to make it more visible, especially abroad. For this purpose a steering committee has been set up for the Collège’s PhD and post-doctoral programme. The members are: Profs John Scheid (Religion, Institutions and Society in Ancient Rome), Alain Prochiantz (Morphogenetic Processes) and Jean-Christophe Yoccoz (Differential Equations and Dynamic Systems), assisted by Olivier Guillaume, Head of International Relations.

Various initiatives have been taken to build more cohesion between researchers hosted at the Collège de France, to nurture their feeling of belonging to the institution, and to structure and animate a network of alumni. The reception on 9 December afforded an opportunity for them to meet. On this occasion Igor Dotsenko, a Ukranian PhD student in Prof Serge Haroche’s laboratory (quantum physics), received the Collège de France Hugot Foundation prize, awarded annually to a particularly promising researcher. A special Day to be organized next spring will be a new opportunity for PhDs and post-docs to meet and to interact. Finally, an e-newsletter addressed to the network of PhDs and post-docs who are currently at the Collège de France or were hosted there in the past is to be launched shortly.

Extensions have recently been made to the Collège de France premises with a view to accommodating more researchers. New laboratories (16,000m² devoted to physics, chemistry and biology) have been built, some of which will soon be inaugurated on the institution’s historical site, and the Marcelin-Berthelot residence has been opened in Meudon, near Paris. Management of the rental of the 58¤one-roomed flats in this residence has been entrusted to the non-profit organization ARPEJ (www.univercity.fr). Finally, one of the missions of the newly-created Collège de France Foundation will be to look for partnerships with enterprise, so that positions can be created to host PhDs and post-doctoral researchers. These positions could be allocated either to a specific discipline, or to a foreign country or region.

In 2009, to accompany this growth of the PhD and post-doctoral programme, the Collège de France will set up a procedure for recruiting foreign post-doctoral fellows that will be advertised widely abroad.

The Collège de France is thus actively involved in training tomorrow’s scientific elite.