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Chairs and partners

The ENS Foundation manages several research chairs funded by companies

Learning through research constitutes the very essence of the school: it constitutes its identity and its reputation. Research, training and innovation, intrinsically linked, are destined to gain momentum in the years to come, and for the Foundation, it is a question of ensuring their sustainability. As such, funding from private companies is essential to supplement that already received by the school through its calls for various projects, both public and private.

Space Chair

This chair is placed under the scientific direction of Stéphanie Ruphy, philosopher of science. The Space chair, by approaching space through the prism of the human and social sciences, is fully in line with the transdisciplinary and innovative approach to research at the ENS. Its areas of research are: the uses and representations of Space through the ages, Space as a common good and an issue of sovereignty and the sustainable uses of space.

It aspires to open up still unexplored fields of knowledge, by exploring perspectives in economics, history, geopolitics, political science, philosophy, law, cybersecurity, geosciences and climate and environmental sciences, sciences of the Universe. Stéphanie Ruphy, whose academic and intellectual career, emblematic of the ENS, fuses astrophysics and philosophy of science, embodies the transdisciplinarity which will be at the heart of the research of the Space chair, which will radiate across a very wide field of disciplines.

Inaugurated on February 1, 2024, this chair is possible thanks to patrons: GIFAS (Groupement des Industries Françaises Aéronautiques et Spatiales), Airbus, Air Liquide, ArianeGroup, CNES, Eutelsat Group, Safran, Sodern and Thales Alenia Space.

Find more information on the dedicated website:

Casino Chair: Algorithmics and Machine Learning

To support the talents of the ENS, both researchers and students, in this research theme and to offer fields of application for fundamental work, the Casino group, the ENS and the Foundation signed, on December 7 2021, a 5-year sponsorship agreement.

This new chair is placed under the scientific direction of Pierre Aboulker, lecturer in the computer science department of the ENS.
For Marc Mézard, former director of the ENS, “it is a great development opportunity for a very dynamic young team in the computer science department, on particularly important themes”.

For Jean-Charles Naouri, Chairman and CEO of the Casino group, “AI and machine learning represent an exciting and central field. For the Casino group, this is one of the priorities for the next two or three years.

Abeona/ENS Artificial Intelligence and Justice Chair

On September 18, 2019, the ENS and the ENS Foundation inaugurated a Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Justice in partnership with the Abeona Foundation, for a period of three years.

The Chair is held by Gabriel Peyré (Scientific Director), CNRS researcher in the Department of Mathematics of the ENS. Its aim is to invite to the ENS each year an expert personality in fields linked to artificial intelligence and its sociological, ethical and scientific impacts. Research activities focus specifically on justice, bias and fairness in artificial intelligence and give rise to series of seminars intended for researchers as well as students and external personalities. The chair also supports the actions of the DHAI “Digital Humanities Meet Artificial Intelligence” group, which develops activities at the interface between digital humanities and artificial intelligence, within the ENS and more broadly PSL. This group is led by Léa Saint-Raymond. Among other things, it organizes seminars as well as a week of intensive courses as part of the PSL transversal program.

The first guest personality of the Chair is Kate Crawford, co-founder of the AI Now Institute, professor at NYU, researcher at Microsoft. For the second year of the chair, Karine Gentelet, associate professor of sociology in the department of social sciences at the University of Quebec en Outaouais, holds the chair. His research interests and publications focus on the recognition of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, the uses of digital technology and AI in the service of social justice, the ethics of research in an Indigenous context and the social responsibility of researchers. . Karine Gentelet’s inaugural conference is available on Savoirs de l’ENS.

Axa Geopolitics of Risk Chair

The Chair on the Geopolitics of Risk results from a partnership signed in December 2016, for a period of 10 years, between the ENS, the ENS Foundation and the Axa Research Fund which partly finances it, up to of one million euros.

The research program, led by J. Peter Burgess, Professor of the AXA Geopolitics of Risk, is structured around 6 themes (human geography, religion, theory and ethics of uncertainty, media, international law and decision-making). decision), and develops new methodologies for understanding and assessing risks.

Be Ys Chair in Data Sciences and IT Security

The aim of this multidisciplinary scientific sponsorship chair relating to “Data sciences and IT security”, concluded in 2016 for a period of five years, is to promote research work in order to create a scientific community in this field at the ENS. The chair aims to be a platform for scientific and technical exchanges allowing the development of collaborations and joint projects (oriented towards IT security). The scientific head of this chair is David Naccache.

Chanel Chair: CO2 capture in the oceans

ENS and Chanel are joining forces to conduct research on the role of the oceans in the fight against climate change, more precisely on their capacity to regulate the climate through the absorption of CO2. More broadly, the chair, headed by Laurent Bopp, studies how the oceans and their resources contribute to the sustainable development objectives defined by the UN. Research areas include: oceans as a carbon sink, marine biodiversity, oceans as a sustainable source of food for communities living near the coast, knowledge of the oceans (educational area), women and the oceans.

Dassault Systèmes – Interdisciplinary program: theoretical foundations of biology

Molecular biology has provided a very fruitful framework for the empirical exploration of life, but its results have also and at the same time undermined its conceptual framework. To go beyond this framework, a certain number of authors underline the theoretical challenges involved in understanding living beings in their historicity and organicity. If we must understand living beings as biological organizations, how can we not get lost in their complexity? And if their regularities are the result of a history and continue to change, to produce a history, how can we objectify them? These questions are, we believe, essential to respond to the challenges of this century concerning health and biodiversity and also intersect with the question of the theoretical framework of the use of new technologies in scientific work.

In this context, the approach of the interdisciplinary program: theoretical foundations of biology (inaugurated in 2023) consists of addressing theoretical questions based on philosophy, in particular epistemology as well as comparison with innovations but also constraints theories from other disciplines, notably physics. By relying on this reflexivity, it is a question of both reinterpreting existing practices and developing new practices and methods. The program is under the direction of Maël Montévil, research fellow at the CNRS and attached to the Cavaillès République des Savoirs Center.

Louis Vuitton/ENS Chair in Artificial Intelligence

The Louis Vuitton – École normale supérieure scientific chair in Artificial Intelligence created in 2017 and inaugurated on April 12, 2018 by the Director of the ENS, Marc Mézard and the Chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton Michael Burke, was renewed in 2021. The objective of this chair is to establish close collaboration between Louis Vuitton and the ENS in the field of artificial intelligence, particularly in data processing using statistical learning and artificial vision methods.

MHI Chair: quantum information theory

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries has chosen to renew its partnership with the ENS and its Foundation from 2021. A new chair in quantum information theory has thus been created with an effective start of research work planned for the first half of 2022, under the direction scientist by Christina Psaroudaki. Based on the interactions established between the ENS and MHI over the last five years, we consider that this new research program, with its strong entanglement between abstract mathematical research and experimental research on new experimental devices for the implementation of Q-bits, both high-level, forms the basis of an extremely fruitful collaboration between MHI and ENS in the coming years.

Notre Europe Chair: European Anthropology

This chair aims to structure a network of anthropology researchers around attitudes towards animals. The objective is to understand how the management of diseases of animal origin has reconfigured relationships between humans and animals in Europe, by revealing in contrast with other regions of the world the forms of attachment and distance that are built around risks of infection and contagion at species boundaries.

A monthly seminar and a study day were organized in 2021-2022 to present this research to the ENS public. The project will benefit from interaction with research carried out at the ENS on the history of the notion of nature in Europe and on the philosophy of animality since Antiquity.

MHI/ENS Chairs in mathematics and physics

The École normale supérieure and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have combined research activities at the highest level of excellence and the dissemination of knowledge to students. Thanks to the sponsorship of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, two chairs were created in 2016 over a period of five years: one in mathematics in the field of analysis, probability or dynamic systems, led by Dmitry Chelkak, who received the Prize Raphael Salem in 2014; the other in the field of high energy physics and cosmology led by Vyacheslav Rychkov.

Excellence scholarships in computer science and artificial intelligence

Excellence scholarships are awarded over 3 years to normalien scholarship students who do not benefit from the treatment of a normalien student. A scholarship represents €1000 per month over 12 months.

Currently, the School recruits around fifteen computer science students per year who, once graduated, are among the best in Europe. The ENS training is in fact recognized as one of the most advanced and sought-after in all professions linked to data sciences, artificial intelligence and machine learning, as well as security and operational reliability.

With a view to training more students both for research and to meet the skills needs of the economic and industrial sectors, the ENS wishes to increase recruitment to 30 students per year in computer science (a number which allows the School to provide individualized training of excellence).

Huawei was sensitive to this issue and made a donation aimed at financing five excellence scholarships over three years in 2019.
In 2021, David Durrleman, co-creator of Shift Technology, one of the 4 unicorns of which a normalien is a founder, is committed to the program of excellence scholarships in computer science and artificial intelligence over 5 years, alongside of the ENS and its Foundation.

Other projects supported by companies

The Airbus endowment currently funds the Rhadia Cousot scientific prize. This prize is awarded each year by the president of the program committee of the SAS Conference (Static Analysis Symposium) for the best article describing the work of a student or young researcher; it is called the “Rhadia Cousot best young researcher paper award”.

As part of its program to support academic excellence, Google, through this donation, contributes to the Department of Computer Science’s machine learning project, which aims to develop optimization algorithms for statistical learning.

Support the chairs at the ENS

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