Y. Palau (IEP of Fontainebleau): ‘This new Sciences po will offer a degree integrating scientific issues’

A new IEP was created within the Paris-Est Créteil University by decree. What is this institute?



This 11th Sciences po, baptized IEP of Fontainebleau, is created through the transformation of an existing structure of UPEC: the International School of Political Studies. The IEP has therefore the status of institute internal to the university, within the meaning of 2° of article L. 713-1 of the education codelike that of Strasbourg. It retains the school’s national diplomas, that is to say our bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

Beyond these formal aspects, the most important concerns the creation in September 2023 of an IEP diploma in addition to bachelor’s and master’s courses. Discussions are underway with the Ministry of Higher Education to confer the master’s degree on him.

This five-year post-baccalaureate diploma is innovative compared to those of other IEPs, because it will integrate knowledge in exact and experimental sciences into political studies. These courses will be adapted to our curriculum. The idea is to start from concrete cases to provide solid knowledge in three areas: health, environmental and digital because they are the subject of increasing politicization.

Why did you choose to articulate political science and science?

There is a certain lack of knowledge on the part of decision makers which can prevent them from making informed decisions, whether in matters of public policy or for the strategies of private companies or associations. It seems essential to us that our students have solid scientific knowledge.

This five-year post-baccalaureate diploma is innovative compared to those of other IEPs, because it will integrate knowledge in exact and experimental sciences into political studies.

We will not train scientists: two-thirds of the course will be dedicated to political science and human and social sciences. But they will have the tools to understand, for example, the scientific mechanisms of the greenhouse effect.

The objective is that our students do not depend, for the decisions they will have to make, on the point of view of scientific experts but that they can be their interlocutor. Recent events have shown that this is a major democratic issue.

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Will other IEPs open the same type of training?

Our diploma makes it possible to fill a gap in the IEP landscape for high school students who have kept two types of specialty in science and in human and social sciences. It completes the training offer of the other Sciences Po, in particular their dual degrees.

We will see later if our diploma interests colleagues. But there is room for all courses. And we need to build our relationship with other IEPs. We are volunteers to integrate common actions carried out by the various Sciences po.

How do you construct this training?

We propose bridges with scientific disciplines for three years, such as our degree in political science, with a healthy option, which works well.

Our diploma makes it possible to fill a gap in the IEP landscape for high school students who have kept two types of specialty in science and in human and social sciences.

By working with the university’s science and technology department, we have taken a step forward: we found that this cooperation was necessary and feasible and that it met with real enthusiasm on the part of our colleagues.

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Why choose to create an IEP to support this project?

Establishing a political science center for the east of the Ile-de-France region has been a wish expressed for quite a long time by several players in higher education and research.

The IEP will give us more visibility. Moreover, the project was very well received by local elected officials and the ministry. Backed by the rectorate of Créteil, it will be located in Fontainebleau, in Seine-et-Marnewhich is one of the departments with the least ESR in Ile-de-France.

So the IEP of Fontainebleau will open at the start of the 2022 school year?

Our licenses and masters have already moved to Fontainebleau – except for L3 students who stay another year in Créteil. L1, L2, M1 and M2 are in temporary premises until the end of 2022.

In January 2023, we will take possession of our premises in the city center, in the Damesme barracks, currently being renovated. Another building is under construction, as part of the CPER, for delivery by 2026. It is only in September 2023 that the IEP diploma will open, for 70 post-baccalaureate students. Recruitment at the start of the 3rd year is planned for cohorts of 20 students.

The institute will have 450 registered in our diploma and 670 registered in the national diplomas, that is 1,100 students. We leave each other small room for improvement to reach 1,200 students.

What profile are you looking for for the IEP diploma and how will the selection take place?

We will recruit good students. As mentioned, they will have to have kept in terminal a specialty in the humanities and social sciences or letters and another in exact and experimental sciences.

Our selection will be specific, since we are looking for different profiles from the Sciences po gathered in the common competition. Candidates must apply on Parcoursup. Depending on the marks obtained in the common core subjects and in their specialties, they will be eligible or not. Shortlisted candidates will then take an admission oral.

Our selection will be specific, since we are looking for different profiles from the Sciences po gathered in the common competition.

Regarding scholarship students, we will establish a quota. As for the geographical origin, the recruitment will be national but we will be careful that there are students from the department.

Do you plan to open other training courses later?

We focus on opening our degree. For the future, we are thinking strongly about creating dual degrees with engineering schools. We would also like to build some with the faculties of economics, law as well as the IAE of the university. Our status as an internal institute facilitates links.

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How will governance be organized within the IEP of Fontainebleau?

Director of the International School of Political Studies, I was appointed provisional administrator of the institute. We must write and adopt the statutes and proceed to board elections. Governance needs to be built. I hope these steps will be taken this fall. We have benchmarks to move forward, since other IEPs share the same status.

What resources do you rely on?

We have a dozen statutory teacher-researchers and seven administrative staff and we want to reach about twenty teacher-researchers and as many administrators. This corresponds to the number of holders of young IEPs.

The building and recruitment are supported by the university, of which we are a component. We keep our endowment, to which will be added the registration fees for the IEP diploma.

An International School of Political Studies opened in 2019

The university’s International School of Political Studies was created in the fall of 2019. In addition to bachelor’s and master’s degrees, it offers doctorates and continuing education programs “valuing interdisciplinarity, the professionalization of courses and the international openness”, indicates the UPEC.
The university wants to develop synergies with ESR players in the areasuch as Insead, the branch of Mines ParisTech and the François 1er international high school.

Y. Palau (IEP of Fontainebleau): ‘This new Sciences po will offer a degree integrating scientific issues’