Faced with the bifurcation of young graduates, the Ecole des Mines is reviewing its program from a climate perspective

To avoid the “bifurcation” phenomenon launched by young graduates from the AgroParisTech engineering school, the Ecole des Mines has taken the lead. It has completely revised its educational program to address climate change from all angles: industrial, environmental, economic and social. A transformation that aims to meet a growing demand from students.

Exit Mines ParisTech, welcome to Mines Paris – PSL. Behind this change of name, which shows the rapprochement of the engineering school with the University of Paris Sciences and Letters, lies an even deeper change. That of the urgent ecological transition, an objective reaffirmed through the educational program of the engineering cycle. The overhaul started at the start of the 2019 school year for 1st year students will come to an end in the summer of 2022 for the last year of study. A small revolution in the famous engineering school, which responds to strong demand from students.

The recent bursts of students from AgroParisTech, ENS and Polytechnique underline the growing quest for meaning on the part of new generations. “Climate change is a major teaching subject”, says Vincent Laflèche, the director of the École des Mines, who claims to understand the concerns of his students. The description of the first year courses thus recalls nothing less than “the urgent and vital nature, for humanity, of limiting global warming” and the need for a “major disruption of all industrial and economic activity”.

“Students are actors of this evolution”

A committed position that aims to encourage student support. The success of the student collective For an ecological awakening, created in 2018 and which recently displayed the IPCC in the metro, is also cited as an example in the course brochure to recognize the importance of their mobilization. “Students are actors in this evolution”, indicates the director of the establishment. A educational hackathoni.e. an event allowing students to get involved in the redesign of the program, was organized in January 2019 precisely to involve them.

Concretely, the students enter the heart of the climate from the start of the training. In the first semester, 84 hours of lessons gathered in the Teaching Unit (UE) “Earth and society” are devoted to the energy transition. Jean-Marc Jancovici, founding member of Carbone 4 and president of the Shift Project, opens the dance with the course “Energy and climate change”. The gaze then widens with the deepening of the mechanisms of the climate and the keys to sociological reading for “understand that the solutions are not only technological”, specifies Vincent Laflèche, the director of the establishment. The second and third years are intended to be more modular and offer new options, such as hydrogen, energy efficiency, data science or even sustainable logistics. “A student can spend their entire second year on climate change issues, if they wish”enthuses Vincent Laflèche, director of the establishment.

Take a step back from your role in society

Biodiversity is also in the spotlight with the new “Blue Engineering” course in Nice, in partnership with the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), which allows you to study corals, or even life science courses in PSL University open to engineering students. In the third year, with more maturity, future graduates take a step back from their role in society by studying the status of a company with a mission and bringing their own thoughts to an “engineer in transition” seminar.

In this desire to be open to different societal issues, hybrid paths are appearing such as that of doctor-engineer, architect-engineer, or even researcher-engineer. It also becomes possible to join Mines Paris-PSL after a BCPST preparatory class, specializing in life sciences, or the multidisciplinary CPES course at PSL University. Finally, “The Transition Institute 1.5°” was created to carry out research projects aimed at the IPCC’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5°C, by combining engineering sciences and economic and social sciences. .

Fanny Breuneval

Faced with the bifurcation of young graduates, the Ecole des Mines is reviewing its program from a climate perspective