Research Vocation at the École Centrale
Five main reasons led the École Centrale Paris to set up a strong research centre totally integrated into the educational program of the school :
- To ensure study-through-research not only for students of the École Centrale but also for engineering students: the latter are in contact with the research laboratories from their first year and throughout the duration of their studies. Each year the Doctoral School of the École Centrale Paris receives DEA (Diplôme d'Études Approfondies) and doctoral students for doctoral studies,
- Enrich the training of the student-engineers by giving them access to inductive pedagogies in the labs and by enabling those who start their career in R&D to prepare for their future work,
- Provide a basic research of good quality, following the mission of the school,
- Open the school to the outside world and participate in its national and international recognition through the relationships and collaborations with the scientific community and enterprises,
- Contribute to social progress by producing knowledge and by education engineers and doctors mainly for the benefit of enterprises and society.
The research laboratories of the school gather together about 380 people. Each year, around sixty students pass their Doctorate degree in these laboratories.
The research laboratories of the school have the principal vocation of transferring basic knowledge to the professional sectors in order to permit or facilitate the solving of concrete, and usually industrial, problems.
This transfer vocation has a double implication for the laboratories:
- Participate, in their field, in the advance of general knowledge, which principally shows in collaborations with the major public research entities (CNRS, CEA, INRIA, ONERA, etc) and numerous foreign academic laboratories as well as French ones,
- Use this scientific knowledge for operational uses, which shows in the signature of many industrial contracts with major companies, as well as with small and medium ones, principally in the context of European contracts.
CRSA (Centrale Recherche SA), an École Centrale Paris subsidiary, plays an important role at this stage.
The essential activities of the school are split into 7 major fields:
- Thermo physics and combustion,
- Soil, structure and material mechanics,
- Physical chemistry of solids,
- Chemistry and chemical engineering,
- Industrial engineering,
- Applied mathematics and computer science,
- Business economy.
Several laboratories may be concerned by a given industrial problem, so that each of them may operate in many economic sectors. In practice, the laboratories collaborate with almost all the partners in the economy including service industries.
Moreover the École has works in new sectors, which employ more and more engineers, like health and biotechnologies.
Since 1990, the implementation of the Écoles Centrales group has reinforced the presence of the four schools in the research sector. Each one has a strong research centre and, of course, close collaborations are maintained between the schools concerning research fields, to which each laboratory brings its own skills.