From Werner KRAUTH

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ENS-ICFP stands for ENS-International centre for fundamental physics and its interfaces, a 10-year project funded in 2011 to enhance the international attractiveness of the ENS Physics Department.

In the fall of 2010, the ENS physics department applied for the “Laboratoire d'excellence (LabEx)” call with a project aimed at reinforcing the international attractiveness of physics research and education at ENS. The LabEx application, called “ENS – International Centre for fundamental physics and its interfaces (ENS-ICFP)” was elaborated by a panel of key actors from all five laboratories constituting the research federation of the department and was awarded by an international jury. The centre-piece of the ENS-ICFP project is a coordinated high-visibility recruitment programme of advanced post-doctoral researchers (Junior Research Chairs, three openings of competitive three-year positions/yr). It concerns four priority research orientations. The first call is presently launched (fall 2012). In the years to come, it will critically contribute to the research activity at the department, and to its thematic renewal. The ENS-ICFP project proposes furthermore the transformation of the teaching activity through a decidedly international master program. Finally, the ENS-ICFP application will structure the increased involvement of the Department with valorisation issues.

As Director of the ENS-ICFP, I am assisted by an executive board composed of the directors of the research laboratories and the dean of education (directeur des études). The Labex's adjoint director, Cécile Margossian (mailto:cecile.margossian@phys.ens.fr) helps with information on the Labex activities.


Master program at ENS

Beginning with the academic year 2012-13, the program set up by the ENS-ICFP LabEx provides an integrated and manifestly international two-year Master in fundamental physics geared at outstanding French and international students. This program is offered in close collaboration with partner institutions from the Paris area (UPMC, UDD, Université Paris Sud, Ecole Polytechnique). It is taught in English. The program intends to significantly increase the presently low number of international students. In order to foster its attractiveness, the ENS-ICFP awards 6 to 10 scholarships per year to students with excellent academic records.

Junior research chair program

Given the large thematic overlaps between research groups, the department has great potential for trans-laboratory collaboration. For the ENS-ICFP program, four research axes were identified across its laboratories (see the below interaction matrix). The ENS-ICFP program aims at attracting young top scientists for whom it creates high-visibility ENS-Junior Research chair (JRC) positions. Awardees will be granted 2+1 year postdoctoral positions with competitive salaries and with considerable travel funds as well as research allowances for experimentalists. The program will aim at full integration of the JRCs into the department: A mentorship program is being set up, and JRC awardees will participate in teaching. At steady state, starting in 2015, nine JRC researchers will simultaneously be present at the department.

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