Academic partnerships

France 2030: launch of the "Future of Digital Collaboration" research programme

Changed on 22/02/2024
CNRS, Inria, the University of Grenoble Alpes and the University of Paris-Saclay organised a morning event to launch the “Future of Digital Collaboration” research programme, known as "eNSEMBLE". Funded as part of the France 2030 investment plan and operated on behalf of the French government by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), this multi-disciplinary programme involving a hundred teams of computer scientists and human and social science specialists from more than fifty French laboratories sets out to invent the digital collaborative tools of the future.
Photo PEPR Ensemble
© Thierry Morturier/UGA


Whether for the purpose of reducing the number of journeys we have to make, improving territorial networking or tackling the problems and transformations of the coming decades, our digital collaboration needs, which peaked during the pandemic, will continue to grow on an unprecedented scale, requiring greater fluidity.

A paradigm shift in the design of collaborative systems is needed, comparable to that seen at the advent of personal computing: collaboration and sharing must become native features of digital systems, in the same way as files, applications, or the copy-and-paste functionality. To this end, shared digital spaces that do not simply replicate the physical world in virtual environments must be developed, with geographically dispersed communities given the opportunity to organise their own spaces as they see fit.

The scientific focuses of the eNSEMBLE "Future of Digital Collaboration" research programme cover:

  • the design of collaborative environments and innovative conceptual models;
  • the combination of human and artificial intelligence in collaborative configurations;
  • the facilitation of fluid collaborative experiences that promote interoperability;
  • the provision of support for the creation of healthy and sustainable, energy-efficient groups;
  • the specification of socio-technical standards with legal/regulatory frameworks.

The activities carried out will be multidisciplinary (computer science, ergonomics, cognitive psychology, sociology, design, law, economics) and both theoretical and empirical in nature. Beyond these technological challenges, the eNSEMBLE project also has a societal dimension by making these services more accessible to a wider population and thereby helping to reduce the digital divide. These advances will impact many sectors of society – education, health, industry, science, services, public life, leisure – by improving productivity, learning, care and well-being, and participative democracy. Furthermore, by promoting remote activities, they will help to reduce our mobility and the associated environmental footprint.

The French state is devoting €3 billion to research, funded by the France 2030 plan, via ambitious "priority research programmes and infrastructure" (Programmes et équipements prioritaires de recherche – PEPR) projects led by research institutions with a view to consolidating French leadership in key areas linked, or likely to be linked, to a technological, economic, societal, health or environmental transformation, and which are considered priorities at national or European level.

Finally, the eNSEMBLE programme addresses the issue of sovereignty by enabling new players to offer solutions tailored to the needs and contexts of use.

This programme will also help to position French players in the telecoms, cloud and digital services sectors in a market destined for strong growth, by capitalising on the vision and technical advances of the research programme, but also by providing upstream support for the regulation of the sector to ensure the preservation of our values and sovereignty.

Programme launch of the eNSEMBLE "Future of Digital Collaboration" research programme

Held at the University of Grenoble Alpes, the morning launch of this research programme began with a speech by François Germinet, Director of the Knowledge Unit at the General Secretariat for Investment (Secrétariat Général pour l'Investissement – SGPI), outlining the role of this research programme in the France 2030 plan, followed by a presentation of the scientific challenges by the four programme directors, Gilles Bailly, Research Director at the CNRS; Michel Beaudouin-Lafon, Professor at the University of Paris-Saclay; Stéphane Huot, Senior Researcher at Inria; and Laurence Nigay, Professor at the University of Grenoble Alpes. This was followed by a series of presentations on the industrial and societal challenges of the programme and on the future of digital collaboration. The morning session continued with a round-table discussion featuring Yassine Lakhnech, President of Université Grenoble Alpes, Estelle Iacona, President of Université Paris-Saclay, Adeline Nazarenko, Director of the CNRS Institute for Information Science and Technologies (INS2I), Bruno Sportisse, CEO of Inria, and Samy Sisaid, Assistant Prefect of Isère and the contact person for France 2030.

Discussion topics: the challenges of the France 2030 programme and the contribution of universities and national research bodies.

To conclude the event, a demonstration of remote collaboration between several laboratories in Grenoble and Saclay on the performance of medical diagnoses using 3D brain models was presented to provide a concrete illustration of the topic covered by the research programme.

Photo above (from left to right): Bruno SPORTISSE, Chairman and CEO of Inria; Estelle IACONA, President of Université Paris-Saclay; Yassine LAKHNECH, President of Université Grenoble Alpes; Pierre BENECH, General Administrator of Grenoble INP - UGA; Gabriel FIONI, Recteur délégué ESR pour la Région académique Auvergne Rhône-Alpes; Samy SISAID, Sous-Préfet de l'Isère référent France 2030, representing the Préfet de l'Isère; Stéphane HUOT, Research Director, Inria; Laurence NIGAY, Professor, Université Grenoble Alpes; Adeline NAZARENKO, Director, Institut des sciences de l'information et de leurs interactions, CNRS; Gilles BAILLY, Research Director, CNRS; Michel BEAUDOUIN-LAFON, Professor, Université Paris-Saclay.

Download the press release (in French)