5 reasons to do your research at Sorbonne University

Created as a space for interdisciplinary reflection and focused around five faculties, the chairs of Sorbonne University offer a unique opportunity to lecturers and students to explore contemporary scientific problems and to take part in innovative projects.


Take a closer look at five reasons that should convince you to do your research at Sorbonne University.



Music belongs to artists and science to researchers – but is that really the case? This idea could not be more wrong when it comes to art and its teachings, especially at Sorbonne University! 


In fact, at our universities we take music very seriously. Our GeAcMus program, for example, offers a unique approach to musical movements and the instruments used in order to better understand their cultural representations around the globe. Within this chair, you will therefore be able to find lecturers with unique profiles: musicians, engineers and scientists all in one! 


For example, Fabrice Marandola, an ethnomusicologist and percussionist, is an expert in the development of the musician’s role in society and specializes in the music of tomorrow, linked to technology.


Another example is Patricio de la Cuadra, a man for whom musical acoustics and audio technology hold no secrets: he is a researcher, engineer – and flautist!Interested? Visit the website of Sorbonne University’s Collegium Musicae to see all of our specialized music programs


A human skull is found in a dark cave in the mountains. Is this a scene from a police drama? No. This was a reality for Sorbonne University researchers at the National Museum of Natural History and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), who discovered the oldest modern Asian man in Laos. 


To meet the scientific challenge of making a model of a person’s (or animal’s) face when their identity is unknown, the chair’s current visiting professor, mathematician Peter Deuflhard, and his team are not using a scalpel to make the dead talk, but rather the help of mathematical calculations and other algorithms. 


This ambitious project is being led by Sorbonne University affiliates: the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC)Paris-SorbonneNational Museum of Natural History (MNHN)University of Technology of Compiègne (UTC), and even the data, computing and simulation division of l’Institut du calcul et de la simulation (ICS - the institute of computing and simulation). In fact, the project brings together geologists, archeologists, mathematicians, forensic doctors, and surgeons from the regional medical center, as well as police officers from the Paris prefecture. 


The aim of this program is to introduce students to the current and future scientific techniques for creating a 3D facial reconstruction. This is useful knowledge for forensics and the law, as well as for archeology, bio-engineering and even museography.


Researchers: Do you want to know more about our faculty chairs? Go straight to our Innovative research topics section


Students: Do you want to take part in one of our scientific training programs? See our list of programs


Does digital technology make us better researchers? Do social networks make us rethink democracy and societal models? 


The Humanum interdisciplinary program, which looks at the legacy of the Enlightenment in the era of digital technology, attempts to answer many philosophical and epistemological questions. Humanum relies on the French humanities and social-science laboratories grouped within the OBVIL Laboratoire d’excellence (LabEx) as well as on international partnerships, such as with Harvard University’s Metalab and the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communication. 


This program brings together literary researchers at Paris-Sorbonne (interested in French, English, North American, Italian and even Hispanic literature), as well as computing specialists from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie, in order to implement, explore and understand the contribution of digital technology to the humanities. 


Among this chair’s most emblematic figures are Paris-Sorbonne French literature professor Didier Alexandre and American religious historian Milad Doueihi. At our other member institutions are found the doctor in information and communication sciences and specialist in literary social networks Marc Jahjah, as well as the innovative PhD student Donatien Aubert, whose 3D-modelling techniques are providing a new outlook on the digital humanities. 


Want to know more? From the beginning of the 2016 academic year, the program will offer two introductory courses at undergraduate and master’s levels at Paris-Sorbonne university and a dual-honors degree in literature and information sciences in partnership with the Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC)


If I say to you, “X-ray fluorescence spectrometry,” you might think of a caped crusader on a mission to save the world. Well, that’s not far off! 


This somewhat strange term really refers to a recent physicochemical technique enabling us to see “through” an artwork in order to identify the materials used without degrading the work. This revolutionary method has enabled aspiring alchemists to become true heroes in the world of art history, simultaneously exposing all the secrets of grand masters’ paintings, works from antiquity and even prehistoric paintings. 


The quintessence and the heart of Sorbonne University’s POLYRE project is therefore color, or, more precisely, polychromy, the study of past societies through the history of color. 


Where archeology, physical chemistry, literature and art history meet, this innovative field is entrusted to professor of archeology and Greek history Philippe Jockey – in partnership with the Laboratoire d’archéologie moléculaire et structurale (LAMS - laboratory for molecular and structural archeology), the prehistoric department at the National Museum of Natural History and Paris-Sorbonne – has the challenge of going further into our knowledge of ancient societies and assessing the extent to which artists’ work fits within the concerns of their age.


To explore some of the work performed by the POLYRE program in pictures, take a look here


Bracelets, scales, watches, pill dispensers and more: the number of connected devices is growing, and they are contributing to the healthcare field. 


With the emergence of new technologies dedicated to health-related practices and well-being, there is also a medical revolution underway, with a health system that aspires to be more effective, less expensive and more prevention-oriented. 


E-health could be a solution for the aging population, the increase in chronic illnesses, the rising burden of health spending and the growing number of under-served areas of medicine. In line with the challenges of tomorrow, Sorbonne University has formed an Institut universitaire d’ingénierie pour la santé (IUIS - university institute of engineering for health) and has created a chair for connected medical tools: e-Biomed.


Particularly specializing in at-risk pregnancies, chronic illnesses and geriatrics, Sorbonne University is relying on the expertise of Université Pierre et Marie Curie’s faculty of medicine and the Laboratoire de génie médicale (medical engineering laboratory) at Compiègne’s University of Technology, and, in particular, on the experience of its assistant director Cécile Legallais and professor and director of research Dan Istrate


Looking for a research placement? The chair supervises undergraduate and master’s-level students and, in partnership with the Groupement de coopération sanitaire e-Santé (a group promoting cooperation in e-health matters) in Picardy, is offering introductory courses on the basics of telemedicine that are only open to students studying for the Master technologie et territoires de santé (master’s in technology and territorial health)

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