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12/06/2008 - Colloque Paris D’Avenir – Betting on the future of education ( Administrator)

Colloque Paris D’Avenir – Betting on the future of education 

Science Académie Session 


How to create undergraduate studies with project based learning 



Most French students discover research at late stages, rarely before their master 

degrees. Some highly motivated and creative young student are even sometimes briddled by 

the traditional and very formal way of teaching sciences in France. If they find ways to 

express their creativity it is usually nearby their programs and not among it. Broader-minded 

programs already exist, for example in Peking University, Oxford, Cambridge, ETHZ, 

Princeton, AIMS… They have demonstrated their efficiency. Innovative programs in high- 

schools can have an important impact on individuals and at a broader level. Going further by 

introducing research experience in the first years of university or proposing innovative, 

interdisciplinary courses at the frontier of knowledge can have a broad impact to raise 

creativity in our societies. 



Paris-Montagne organization is now working  

to create such an undergraduate program. 



Throughout the year, Paris-Montagne runs an outreach program in all the Parisian suburbs.  


This program, named “ Science Académie ”, targets high-school students interested in 

science but not confident enough to enroll in scientific undergraduate studies, due to 

social and cultural hindrances. It offers personal tutoring and the possibility to discover the 

world of research through meetings with researchers in various fields. It also gives its 

members the opportunity to carry out their own research in real laboratories during holidays 

(130 participants in April 2008). Students are selected on motivation only and spend a week 

in a lab. They discover there how science works but also all the jobs available in science, 

from researcher to technician and engineer, who all contribute to the excellence in 

research and in the advancement of science. The most dedicated participants are offered 

the chance to take part in a summer camp, hosted by Ecole normale supérieure just before 

the Paris-Montagne Science Festival. ( 


These high-school students are also trained to transfer the scientific procedures to 

other fields. We invite them to question, dialogue, think critically, and try to reach excellence 

in understanding the natural world studied by science but also to understand how their 

communities, their cities evolve, how can they contribute to reduce violence, discrimination, 

isolation, etc. 


Association Paris-Montagne, Ecole normale supérieure, 45 rue d’Ulm – 75005 Paris 

Tél. : 01 44 32 28 84 – E-mail : 



We need to create undergraduate programs including research training, innovative 

courses, support for personal project to maintain the enthusiasm of these young high- 

school students, their enthusiasm for research, for creating projects to change the world they 

live in. 



We will propose a two days (14th & 15th of July) discussion about the opportunity 

to launch such a program in France. Student and teachers from similar programs abroad 

will be invited to offer their insight and share their experience (PKU, Oxford, Cambridge, 

ETHZ, Princeton, AIMS). Students involved in creating educational content in universities 

(EAGER) and researchers working in place renowned for their creativity such as EMBL will 

also be invited  


Those who will attend these discussions will be then invited to interact with mentors and 

students during the Science Académie week that will follow this meeting (from 16th to 21st of 

July) and to the Paris-Montagne Science Festival (23rd to 26th of July). 


A feedback discussion will be held on the 22nd, at the end of the Science Academy week. 


Everything will be located at Ecole normale supérieure in Paris. 


Proposal of themes for the discussions 


? Experiences abroad (one day) 

? Proposal for France 

? How to build an international network ? 


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