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About the FIRE PhD Program

The “Frontières de l’Innovation en Recherche et Éducation” (FIRE) PhD program, established in 2006, is part of the “Programme Bettencourt” created and funded by the Bettencourt-Schueller Foundation to help creative and talented students develop their PhD in an environment as enriching as those of the best graduate programs in the world. It is one of the 32 doctoral schools hosted at the University of Paris (Université de Paris, UdP). The disciplines covered by the doctoral school are broad and include natural sciences, engineering and technology, medical and health sciences, and social sciences.

The aim of this interdisciplinary doctoral school is to promote ambitious research projects involving interactions between a wide range of academic disciplines in the pursuit of understanding living systems, education, and discovery. Thus, the FIRE graduate school recruits students trained in various disciplines (e.g. biology, physics, medicine, economy, linguistics) from around the world.

A number of research aims are associated to the FIRE doctoral school due the interdisciplinary nature of the program. They can be broadly categorized into two main tracks: Life Sciences (“Frontières du Vivant” – FdV) and Learning and Digital Sciences (“Frontières de l’Apprendre et du Numérique” – FAN).

The FIRE 2018-2019 Program Handbook contains all of the important information students will need. Please refer to the booklet and sections below for questions related to the program, requirements, procedures, etc.


Frontiers in Learning and Digital Sciences – FAN

Starting in 2014, the FIRE PhD program began hosting projects at the frontiers of learning and discovery. FAN PhD projects aim to expand collective intelligence and contribute to the solutions to global challenges through original research investigations. These projects often sit at the interface of art & design, digital technology, education, and science, however this is not strictly mandatory. For example, past projects have involved learning with games, teaching through research, communication technologies, participatory science, art/design as a means to communicate science, etc.


Frontiers in Life Sciences (FdV)

Since the creation of the FIRE doctoral school in 2006, the aims were focused on life sciences. Traditionally, students have pursued interdisciplinary research projects in natural sciences, engineering and technology, medical and health sciences. Recently, projects in the life sciences have incorporated approaches and/or applications from other disciplines including the social sciences and humanities, however the focus of the work is on advancement of knowledge in life science. As of December 2015, over 110 PhDs have been granted to FIRE fellows studying topics at the frontiers of life science, and over 120 are currently in pursuit of their degree.