The IRIS-E project aims at boosting the academic, socio-economic and international impact of the University of Rennes on the environmental transition. It will strive to develop innovative solutions shifting the balance between our production activities and our environment to new equilibria in order to contribute to the sustainability of resources, the protection of ecosystems and the preservation of human health. It will leverage the unprecedented availability of data, the rapid development of model capacities and the evolving expectations of society to visualize the human-nature interdependence, to co-construct innovative production methods (agroecology, eco-conception of materials) and to propose relevant action articulating public policies, legal norms, economic incentives and participatory approaches.
Such an ambition calls for a wide-ranging transformation of academic practices centered on participatory and interdisciplinary science. Contributing to the environmental transition indeed requires both moving past disciplinary boundaries and developing research, training and innovation practices carried out in close cooperation with socio-economic actors, public institutions and citizens. In this respect, the IRIS-E project will draw on our distinctive strengths and interdisciplinary achievements in coupling digital, environmental, health and social sciences. It will also capitalize on our well-established experience and know-how in bringing together a wide range of stakeholders with diverging interests to implement co-constructed projects on experimental territories.
3 complementary schemes to provide responses to societal and environmental issues
The IRIS-E work packages have been designed as catalysts for the integration and development of the University of Rennes. Created in January 2023, this EPE will bring together UR1 and 4 leading grandes écoles (ENS, ENSCR, Sciences Po, EHESP) together with its associated institutions (UR2, Institut Agro, CHU, INSA, ENSAI, ANSES) and national research organizations (Inrae, Inria, CNRS and Inserm).
- The IRIS-E Participatory Sciences Hub (WP1) will be a keystone for the whole project.
Located at the heart of Rennes and in direct connection with our campuses, this innovative third place will organize a wide range of events and trainings bringing together academic and non-academic actors to build and disseminate participatory methods and skills.
- The IRIS-E Research and Innovation Program (WP2) will support transformative projects combining interdisciplinary, participatory and public-private approaches to build concrete solutions to environmental challenges.
It will rely on Interdisciplinary and Co-constructed Projects, International Chairs and Open Innovation Chairs.
- The IRIS-E Transformation Training Program (WP3) will drive a comprehensive renewal of our undergraduate and graduate curricula around the core tenets of interdisciplinarity, engagement with civil society and internationalization.
Project-based and hybrid training methods will also help students acquire the culture and skills necessary to address key environmental challenges.
The IRIS-E ambition will be reached when interdisciplinary and participatory approaches to the environmental transition become a distinctive component of the University of Rennes’ identity on the world stage. Deeply ingrained in our research and innovation practices, they will help develop our university as an inspiring interface between science and society and a melting pot for innovative solutions. They will also boost our international collaborations with key partner institutions, especially within our EDUC European alliance, and propel Brittany as a European laboratory of reference for sustainable resources. IRIS-E will moreover be a success when our university is considered a landmark for students in France and abroad to develop the skills and knowledge required to become effective change makers for an inclusive and sustainable environmental transition.