FUTURE calls for projects: 20 winning projects

The first three calls for projects launched by FUTURE, known as "Exploratoire (Exploratory) "Impulsion" (Impetus) and “Tremplin” (Springboard), led to the selection of 20 projects. Almost half of them aim to stimulate scientific activity and collaboration around I-Site's goals. We take stock with Serge Piperno, IFSTTAR’s Scientific Director and a member of FUTURE's scientific and coordination committees.

From a highly technical or adventurous one-year project to an ambitious, cross-cutting, interdisciplinary, multi-annual research programme, 20 winners were named for the three calls for projects issued by the I-Site FUTURE: "Exploratoire (Exploratory) "Impulsion" (Impetus) and “Tremplin” (Springboard). Launched in 2017, these programmes are the first major event in the deployment of the FUTURE project. Open to researchers from the I-Site consortium's institutions and its partners, their main aim is to foster scientific activity, with the requirement, for the "Tremplin" and "Impulsion" projects, that they promote an interdisciplinary approach around the scientific challenges of the FUTURE project, namely inventing the "safe and resilient", "resource-efficient", "intelligent and connected" city of tomorrow. “Each programme involves projects of different sizes”, Serge Piperno, IFSTTAR’s Scientific Director and a member of FUTURE's scientific and coordination committees, recounts. “As a consequence, the duration and level of funding as well as the targets and selection criteria for projects vary according to the call for projects.” The winning projects, which were selected from 61 entries, cover various themes such as understanding the dynamics of risks and crises in urban environments, developing intelligent solutions for managing water networks, studying a raw earth-based material, etc.

We are delighted on two counts” Serge Piperno explains. “Firstly because of the number and quality of the submitted projects and secondly because of the involvement of IFSTTAR researchers in the winning projects.

The “Tremplin” call for projects

Aimed at answering broad societal and scientific questions, but also at nurturing the I-Site's strategic research in the years to come, the selected "Tremplin" (Springboard) projects focus on ambitious, long-term (5 to 6 years) and highly interdisciplinary research. They will receive a maximum of €150,000 in the first year. Out of 8 submitted projects, 3 were selected to proceed to the "emergence phase", “a one-year period aimed at consolidating the project, raising additional funding and bringing in new academic or socio-economic partners.” In spring 2019, they will be evaluated before proceeding to the "expansion phase ". The three winning projects are CrisisLab, DiXite and MUTANDIS. The first will study the dynamics of risks and crises in urban environments, the second will examine automated and digitized processes for the development of tomorrow's digital construction, and the third will investigate mobility solutions for peri-urban users and areas.

The “Impulsion” call for projects

Receiving annual funding of €80,000 for three years, the "Impulsion" (Impetus) projects harness approaches from related disciplines in order to continue or boost selected research carried out within the framework of the Labex, for example. Out of 20 applications received, 5 were selected. These included the ALLUVIUM project which is concerned with one of the first building materials in history: earth. This project brings together economists, architects, researchers in the field of historical monuments, geoscience and civil engineering to study at different scales (nanoscopic, microscopic, materials, buildings, cities) a raw earth material reinforced and stabilized by biopolymers or surface active agents.

“Exploratoire” calls for projects

Highly technical, adventurous or original, the “Exploratoire” (Exploratory) projects must identify avenues of research that could be the subject of scientific publications, conferences, an ANR project, etc." Serge Piperno explains. There are twelve Exploratoire winners who will receive funding for one year. The projects consist, for example, of exploring a breakthrough thesis project or a new partnership between two laboratories. The project led by Jean-Michel Torrenti, Director of the Materials and Structures Department (MAST), is one of these. Entitled BioAdd, it will focus on the way bees build hives as a basis for additive construction techniques.