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Science & innovation

Céline Acharian - 25/05/2010

An alliance for digital sciences

On 17 December 2009, an alliance was established for digital sciences and technologies. It is called Allistene, and it brings together the major French domestic players in the field, namely Inria, the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), France’s Conference of University Chairmen (CPU), the French Telecoms Institute and the Conference of the Heads of French Engineering Schools (CDEFI), with the role of coordinating and planning public research in this area. Claude Labit, Inria research director and chairman of the Board enlightens us about his role and work.

Could you describe the alliance’s role in the new research landscape?

Like all other research alliances, the Alliance ALLISTENE has an essential mission: to define and stimulate the collective actions of all its founding members and research actors on a given scientific perimeter, in this case the digital sciences. In a context of digitisation of all socio-economic and cultural sectors, ALLISTENE's place and its responsibility to act collectively are all the more important. In this respect, the ambition to foster interdisciplinary partnerships with other research alliances, similar to what could be done with the ANCRE Alliance on the link between digital and energy, is to be developed, particularly in areas as strategic as health, the environment, security and protection of privacy, transport, education, etc., in order to promote interdisciplinary partnerships.

What will these groups’ initial work involve?

The Alliance ALLISTENE organizes its actions around permanent commissions and project groups, i. e. working groups with fixed missions and duration. One of ALLISTENE's most active commissions is the Commission de réflexion sur l' éthique de la recherche en sciences et technologies du numérique (CERNA). It brings a digital point of view to a universal theme. In addition, the ALLISTENE working groups currently active concern cybersecurity, research infrastructures, European partnerships and relations with the ANR. The ALLISTENE Alliance plans to launch other project groups around new themes such as scientific publishing, open science and research data in the digital sciences, participatory sciences, etc. The ALLISTENE Alliance plans to launch other project groups around new themes such as scientific publishing, open science and research data in the digital sciences, participatory sciences, etc..

What organization is in place to drive these actions?

The ALLISTENE alliance is governed by a Coordination Committee (Cocor) which meets monthly to define the general strategy and monitor the actions carried out. This committee brings together representatives of all the Alliance's founding conferences or establishments (CDEFI, CPU, CEA, CNRS, INRIA, Institut Mines-Telecom). The latter entrusts the Chief Executive Officer with the task of coordinating the actions defined. Through a voluntarily flexible structural organisation, ALLISTENE must be a source of proposals to strengthen the collective research dynamic and thus play its role of accompanying societal economic developments that will increasingly rely on digital technology.

Keywords: CDEFI Institut Télécom CPU Allistène Sciences and technologies CNRS CEA Digital technology Michel Cosnard ANR

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