Creation of the MΞDISIM project team
On 1 June 2016, the MΞDISIM team became a joint project team in partnership with researchers from the French École Polytechnique Solid Mechanics Laboratory (LMS). Team manager Dominique Chapelle looks back over the process of creating the project team from the end of 2012 following the close-out of the MACS project team.
From the outset, Inria's activities have been organised around an original research model built on a basic structural element, the Project Team. Project teams have well-defined life cycles, as can be seen in the creation of MΞDISIM.
In the beginning
A team comes into existence initially as a group of individuals working together around a research topic. A team may be created to pursue the work of an existing team that is due to close out, or when the members decide to follow a new scientific path. Researchers can also submit new ideas to an Inria Centre that correspond to the scientific themes and priorities of the centre.
The MACS project team joined the Inria Saclay – Île-de-France Research Centre in 2012, just a few months ahead of the end of its life cycle (12 years), after which the local MΞDISIM team was set up. The research themes of the team had changed over the years, becoming increasingly focused on modelling for medicine, which in turn had opened up interesting perspectives for the creation of a future team working on this topic. Additionally, the Paris-Saclay venture was starting, offering new opportunities and providing a scientific environment that was favourable to new partnerships and a student campus that would facilitate recruitment.
To become a project team, a local team has to follow an institutionally documented inquiry procedure. Initial discussions were held with the management of the centre and the scientific management at HQ to decide whether to create an in-house team or rather a joint team with partners from across the centre’s ecosystem. To create a joint team, the resources committed by each of the supervising bodies must be properly balanced.
After a consultation phase with local stakeholders and discussions between the different supervising bodies, MΞDISIM and LMS agreed to apply for permission to go ahead from the scientific management at HQ.
To obtain the green light from the scientific management, the team had to present its goals in a short 5-page document. After approval, the inquiry procedure required us to draw up a detailed proposal developing the initial presentation and to submit this proposal to a working group set up by Inria. The aim was to produce a finalised proposal that was coherent and consistent with what Inria expects of a project team. The proposal set out the research goals concerning the topic, any outside partnerships envisaged by the members of the project team (e.g. participation in European projects), the software development policy of the team and its positioning relative to the scientific environment (research within Inria, within the ecosystem of the Research Centre and at national and international levels). This inquiry phase lasted a year for MΞDISIM. The joint project team was officially created in June 2016 after three years of existence as a local team.
An in-house team that becomes a project team enters a certain phase of stability, without a break. But the creation of a joint project team means that the members of the team can be brought together physically. Since June 2016, MΞDISIM, which is still housed at the Inria Saclay – Île-de-France Centre, has been able to welcome new members to premises in the Alan Turing building: we have 3 permanent researchers (including 1 part-time), 2 PhD students and 1 post-doc. “It’s changed our daily lives. This phase has really accelerated our research”, says Dominique Chapelle.
From now on MΞDISIM’s goals will be assessed every 4 years, along with the other teams working on the same scientific themes.