Previous Fora / 2011

TADDEI, Francois

Research Scientist and Founder of Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity, France

François Taddei heads the Evolutionary Systems Biology team at a unit of the French National Institute of Health & Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris-Descartes University’s Medical School. After a generalist scientific education, with majors in physics and biology at the École Polytechnique, he became a tenured higher civil servant at the French Ministry of Agriculture,
before earning a PhD in genetics, studying the molecular causes and evolutionary consequences of changes in the mutation rate with Miroslav Radman. After postdoctoral training with John Maynard-Smith where he modeled the evolution of mutation rate, for the last 12 years, his research team has been studying the evolution and molecular mechanisms of cooperation, genetic changes, errors in gene expression, pathogenicity, antibiotic resistance and aging in E. coli. He pioneered the study of aging in this model bacteria and is trying to unravel its mechanisms using microfluidics and systems biology approaches. This work has produced many publications in generalist scientific journals, and has been recognized by several awards, (the European Young Investigator award, the Human Frontier Science Program award, the INSERM Award for Fundamental Research, and the Liliane Bettencourt Life Science Award).

Passionated by education, over the last seven years, he has created the CRI (Center for Research and Interdisciplinary dedicated to foster the new generation of scientists working at the interfaces) in the heart of Paris, which offers 3 programs integrated in the Liliane Bettencourt curriculum:
- a new undergrad program allowing training through research as early as the first year of university
(which was not possible so far in France).
- a Master’s degree (Interdisciplinary Approaches to Life sciences, AIV), where students have to do 3
rotations in 3 labs of different disciplines.
- a doctoral school (Frontiers of Life, FdV, and supervised by an international scientific council that
selects bright international students that want to explore the frontiers between disciplines)

CRI‘s dedicated facilities host visiting professors, a wide choice of courses and several student discussion clubs, which meet biweekly. It organizes international workshops and conferences such as the first workshop on scientific discovery games, and hands-on research school that will take place in the CRI in July 2011. CRI’s main role is to promote new pedagogies to help creative students take initiatives and develop their research projects, with the help of mentors, research institutions, private companies (FT was recipient of research chairs funded by Orange and Axa), and foundations, such as the Bettencourt Foundation, which has supported many student-created activities. These activities range from the first French synthetic biology team (which won 3 awards in 4 participations in the MIT-sponsored iGEM competition) to the "Paris-Montagne" science festival and the "Science Académie," an outreach program that allows high schools students from disfavored neighborhoods to discover the creativity of science while spending their vacations in research labs. To foster even more initiatives, the CRI is currently helping the creation of an incubator for innovators in science education. François Taddei has been involved in scientific committees for the NIH, the INSERM and the ministry of research and served as advisor for the french government, the European Union and the OECD that asked him to write a report on the future of education in the 21st century.


17:00-19:00 17 NOVEMBER
THEMATIC SESSION I. UNESCO: “The Changing Landscape of Science: Higher Education's Perspectives, Dynamics and Implications”

11:30-13:30 18 NOVEMBER
YOUTH-WAYS SESSION “Scientific collaboration in the changing landscape of science: new generation of science and researchers”