The Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity (Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires – CRI) in Paris was founded in 2005 as a convivial place at the crossroad of life sciences and exact, natural, cognitive, and social sciences.
Today, the CRI offers three degree programs integrated in the Bettencourt curriculum: an undergraduate program (Licence Frontières du Vivant, FdV, Paris-Descartes University), a masters program (Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life Sciences, AIV Master, Paris-Descartes University, Paris-Diderot University), and a doctoral program (Frontiers of Life, Ecole doctorale 474 Frontières du Vivant, FdV).
The CRI’s dedicated facilities host visiting professors, a variety of courses, and many student clubs.
The CRI’s main role is to promote new educational techniques and strategies to empower the students to take initiative and develop their own research projects. Mentors, research institutions, private companies, and foundations, such as the Bettencourt Foundation, provide the support for the student-created research projects and activities.
The aforementioned activities range from the first French synthetic biology team (iGEM Paris Bettencourt, for the MIT-sponsored iGEM (international genetically engineered machine) competition) to the Paris-Montagne Science Festival, and the Science Académie, an outreach program that allows high schools students from underprivileged neighborhoods to discover their creativity in science.
During 2012 and 2013, the CRI activities have expanded with the following new projects:
- The new Institute for Learning Through Research (Institut Innovant de Formation par la Recherche – IIFR Paris Descartes / PRES Sorbonne Paris Cité) was inaugurated in March 2012 by the International Scientific Committee of the National Innovative Training Program (IDEFI) of the French Ministry of Research. The IIFR organizes different workshops, PhD courses, an executive program and it will launch a new Master Program in September 2014. In September 2013, the IIFR activities were awarded an UNESCO Chair for “Learning science”.
- The Citizen Cyberlab European Consortium (citizen science) was launched in September 2012 with funding from the EU 7th Framework.
- Knowledge adventures for kids / Savanturiers : these scientific workshops in parisian primary schools (children 9-10 years old) began in September 2013, in partnership with the City of Paris.
- In July 2013, the CRI was also selected by the City of Paris to design and develop an innovative MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses) that will launch its first projects in 2014.