Research chairs

Seven research chairs have been created yet at the École normale supérieure. With the perspectives of partnerships and funding, around twenty chairs could be created in the coming years

The ENS hosts 2 kinds of chairs: the chairs established at the ENS, with a chair holder recruited according to a recruitment process identical to the one for recruiting professors, and chairs whose holder has been selected by a foundation, while the ENS supervised the process. Indeed, some chairs deal with subjects interesting some ENS researchers, while some other chairs deal with external research programmes implying some partners.

These chairs are approved by the Scientific board of the ENS and benefit from a real independence, which implies freedom in the scientific approach of the treated subjects, liberty of results dissemination and a thorough evaluation that is subject to a report to the Scientific board and the involved partners.

Chaire invitée Abeona-ENS : Intelligence Artificielle et Justice

L’ENS et la Fondation de l’ENS inaugurent en septembre 2019 une nouvelle Chaire de recherche en Intelligence Artificielle pour une durée de trois ans, en partenariat avec la Fondation Abeona.
La Chaire est portée par Gabriel Peyré (Directeur scientifique de la Chaire), chercheur CNRS au Département de mathématiques de l’ENS. Elle est hébergée dans le nouveau Centre Sciences de Données de l’ENS et a pour vocation d’inviter à l’ENS chaque année une personnalité experte dans des domaines liés à l’intelligence artificielle et ses impacts sociologiques, éthiques et scientifiques. Les activités de recherche portent spécifiquement sur les biais et l’équité en intelligence artificielle et donnent lieu à des séries de séminaires destinés aux chercheurs comme aux étudiants et personnalités extérieures.

En septembre 2020, Karine Gentelet succède à Kate Crawford de AI Now Institute, à New York et devient la nouvelle titulaire de la Chaire Abeona, en partenariat cette année avec l'Observatoire international sur les impacts sociétaux de l’IA et du numérique (OBVIA).
Professeure agrégée de sociologie au département de sciences sociales à l’Université du  Québec en Outaouais et sera professeure invitée à l’Université Laval. Ses   intérêts de recherche et ses publications portent sur la reconnaissance des droits des peuples autochtones, l’usage de la technologie numérique et l’intelligence artificielle au service de la  justice sociale, l’éthique de la recherche en contexte autochtone et la responsabilité sociale des chercheurs.

CEDRE Chair (Centre Européen des Études Républicaines – European Center for Republican Studies)

Chair held by Olivier Christin, Director of studies at the École Pratique des Hautes Études, professor at the University of Neuchâtel.

The CEDRE Chair, created by PSL and hosted at the ENS (on the Jourdan campus), aims at leading, supporting and coordinating research on the theories of Republic, history of ideas and republican doctrines, the political practices specific to republican systems, history of republican political experiences, in a long-term and international perspective.

For Olivier Christin, Director of the Chair, the objective of this Chair is to “rediscover the significance and topicality of the republican ideals, and see how they look to the future of our political systems; identify the issues of these political, social and ethical aspirations and understand their expression in France and abroad; restore their meaning to words and ideas we meet every day and talk about the issues that concern us all, such as public interest, the citizens’ commitment and involvement in the functioning of institutions, the construction of a fair society, in which inequality should not hinder the freedom everybody should equally enjoy.”

Energy and Prosperity Chair

The Energy and Prosperity Chair was created in 2015 by Gaël Giraud and Jean-Pierre Ponssard, to inform decisions of public and private actors in managing the energy transition, which is a major issue for the 21st century.

This Chair is supported by 7 institutions: ADEME, Air Liquide, the French Development Agency, the Caisse des Dépôts, Mirova, Schneider Electric and SNCF, and has 3 academic partners: the École normale supérieure, École polytechnique and ENSAE Paris Tech.

The purpose of this Chair is to lead collaborative academic research in order to bring powerful insights on innovative funding schemes dedicated to the energy transition (financial engineering and regulatory issues) as well as to provide relevant tools to assess associated performances.

See also: 

Website of the Energy and Prosperity Chair


Chair of Geopolitics of risk

Chair held by Professor J.Peter Burgess and created in 2016.

This chair is the result of a partnership with the Axa Research Fund, which partly funds it by subsidising it for 10 years. The Chair has also been approved by the Scientific board of the ENS, and is held by Professor J.Peter Burgess, a philosopher and specialist in political science and geopolitics.

This Chair aims at fundamentally renewing an issue that is now more crucial than ever: the risk issue. Prof. Burgess believes that traditional approaches to risk analysis overlook fundamental aspects of what it means to be human in the face of uncertainty. “My hypothesis is that risk needs to be seen as more of a cultural, social and even moral matter,” Prof. J. Peter Burgess explains.

Find the first conference of the Chair of Geopolitics of risk on Savoirs-ENS website:

La gouvernementalité algorithmique ou l’art de ne pas changer le monde par Antoinette Rouvroy / lundi 17 octobre 2016 



Chairs in mathematics and physics

Chairs held by Dimitry Chelkak in mathematics and Vyacheslav Rychkov in physics (High-energy physics).

In 2016, thanks to the patronage of MHI France, the Fondation de l’École normale supérieure has recruited two world-renowned scientists on two ENS-MHIF chairs: Dimitry Chelkak in mathematics (analysis, probabilities and dynamic systems) and Vyacheslav Rychkov in physics (High-energy physics) 

Appointed September 2016 by the Scientific board of the ENS for a five-year term, these two researchers are acknowledged as world-class researchers.

Dimitry Chelkak (analysis, probabilities and dynamic systems): born in 1970, comes from the St-Petersburg Steklov Institute. He has received in 2014 the Raphaël Salem prize. He works at the interface of mathematics and physics, in particular on the conformal invariance of the Ising model, with several co-workers such as Stanislav Smirnov (2010 Fields medal). 

Vyacheslav Rychkov (High-energy physics): born in 1975, he is a teacher-researcher at the UPMC and at the CERN. He has received in 2014 the New Horizons in Physics Prize for his works on conformal bootstraps. This prize is awarded each year to promising young researchers who have already produced decisive and unexpected works.

Thanks to these two chairs, both ENS and MHIF wish to combine research activities at the highest level and dissemination of knowledge towards students. MHIF is a world-class company which develops high technology activities in particular in areas like energy, aircraft, spatial sector. It has to face difficult issues in mathematics and in physics. MHIF wants to contribute to the development of theoretical foundations of both mathematics and physics and accordingly start a scientific partnership with the ENS. 

“Modèles et Sciences des Données” Chair

This Chair, launched in 2016, is held by Florent Krzakala from the Department of physics of the ENS and Stéphane Mallat from the Department of computer science of the ENS, and financed by CFM (Capital Fund Management).

An issue of modern society lies in modelling complex systems including a huge amount of non-homogenous variables (thousands or millions of variables). Turbulent flows, predictive maintenance of larger systems, picture classification, genetics as well as social networks analysis are some typical examples.

The first original research line for this chair is to closely connect complex systems models, developed in each discipline,  with mathematical models coming from data analysis. The ENS-CFM Modèles et Sciences des Données Chair is thus a multidisciplinary chair, operated collaboratively by the departments of biology, economics, computer science, geophysics, mathematics, physics, cognitive sciences, as well as some departments in humanities and social sciences.

The second research line aims at a detailed understanding of the algorithms used in data science. Given the huge impact of these algorithms on the entire range of sciences, the economic world and, more broadly, on society as a whole, it is fundamental to understand and control them.

The Modèles et Sciences des Données Chair give thus the opportunity for an interdisciplinary approach of these issues, through various actions, such as organising a data challenge, recruiting post-doctoral researchers, inviting foreign professors, and launching training actions.

See also: 

Website of the “Modèles et Sciences des Données” Chair


MOM Chair - Chaire Moyen Orient Méditerranée

The MOM Chair has been created by PSL Research University at the ENS in February 2016, for an initial period of 3 years, and financed by the French Ministry of Higher education and Research and the Ministry of Interior. This chair is directed by Professor Gilles Kepel, university professor in political science, Arabist, author of around fifteen books on the contemporary Middle East and on Islam in France.

The MOM Chair aims at restructuring the field of Middle East and Mediterranean studies, in diachronic and synchronic perspectives.

On September 2016, the first Ph.D. students associated with this chair have joined the ENS/PSL doctoral school. A new master programme, specialised and cross-disciplinary to all the fields taught at PSL, focuses on “the Middle East and the Mediterranean Sea” and should be submitted to the approval of the Ministry of Higher education, with a launch date on September 2017.

Chaire Savoir-prévoir-pouvoir • ENS/ENA

La Chaire est portée par Perrine Simon-Nahum, enseignante-chercheure au département de philosophie de l'ENS, directrice de recherches CNRS.

Conscients de la coupure actuelle entre le monde de la haute administration et celui de la recherche en sciences humaines et sociales, ainsi que des difficultés que pose l’irruption de nouvelles thématiques sociales et technologiques aux décideurs publics et aux chercheurs pour combiner leurs savoirs et besoins, l’ENA et l’ENS-Paris ont décidé mars 2017 de créer une Chaire partenariale sur le thème de "Savoir – Prévoir – Pouvoir".

La Chaire a vocation à être un lieu de circulation des connaissances et un espace d’analyse et d’échanges d’expérience entre le monde de la recherche et la sphère de la décision publique.

Ce travail de partage s’appuie sur trois piliers :
1.    Une réflexion menée en commun par des jeunes chercheurs de l’ENS et des élèves de l’ENA sur l’état des lieux et les besoins existant en matière de circulation des savoirs entre le monde de la recherche et les responsables du pilotage de l’action publique
2.    Un travail de sensibilisation et d’intermédiation entre chercheurs et hauts-fonctionnaires à travers des ateliers et séminaires
3.    La conduite de recherches-actions sur des thématiques et selon des modalités définies en commun

Un premier colloque autour du thème "Gouverner en connaissance de cause : comprendre, pouvoir, décider" s’est tenu à l’ENA-Paris le 6 mars 2017 en présence de Thierry Mandon, Secrétaire d’état chargé de l’enseignement supérieur et de la recherche. Il a réuni des spécialistes – décideurs publics ou chercheurs – autour de questions aussi centrales que le rôle et la place de l’expert dans la décision publique, ou la situation particulière des chercheurs "embarqués".
Le colloque a également permis d’évoquer les attentes émanant des pouvoirs publics en matière de production et d’utilisation de savoirs dans l’action publique.


Chaire de recherche LV/ ENS « Intelligence artificielle » • ENS/Louis Vuitton

L’ENS a inauguré le 12 avril 2018 une nouvelle Chaire de recherche  en « Intelligence Artificielle : apprentissage statistique et vision »  en partenariat avec Louis Vuitton pour une durée de trois ans.

La recherche de l’excellence et de l’innovation sont au coeur de la stratégie de l’École normale supérieure et de Louis Vuitton. Les grands changements dans les usages, les bouleversements du digital conduisent aujourd’hui l’ENS et Louis Vuitton à collaborer ensemble sur le traitement des données offert par les progrès scientifiques récents en intelligence artificielle.

 Dans ce contexte, l’ENS et Louis Vuitton ont choisi de créer une Chaire LV/ENS en intelligence artificielle dans les domaines suivants : apprentissage statistique et vision/intelligence artificielle.

La Chaire sera portée par Ivan Laptev (Directeur scientifique de la Chaire), chercheur au Département d’informatique de l’ENS et à l’INRIA.

Communiqué de presse - Chaire de recherche LV/ENS « Intelligence artificielle »

Lancement de la Chaire LV/ENS  « Intelligence Artificielle » - 12 avril 2018

Mis à jour le 23/10/2018