Innovative research topics

Five interdisciplinary themes

Sorbonne University’s development strategy is firmly anchored in a bottom-up approach, by calling on its scientific and educational communities for proposals.


The health sector poses many new societal challenges: in particular, the ability to support all stages of life and the increase of health costs. The University Institute of Health Engineering (IUIS) is uniting, coordinating and developing research, innovation and tech transfer as well as educational programs in this extensive field. The Institute is structured in four areas: modeling and simulation of healthy and pathological subjects; design and manufacture of biomedical devices; e-health; and the processing and analysis of signals and images. The IUIS includes educational components from the bachelor’s to doctoral level. The IUIS is part of an ecosystem formed by Sorbonne University members (the engineering and medical faculties of UPMC and UTC), and draws on established programs: the KIC* EIT Health, and the Smart, Cami and MS2T Laboratories of excellence.

* KIC: Knowledge and Innovation Communities funded by the European Union 


More than 70 Sorbonne University research units are involved in heritage, which includes literature, art history and archeology as well as chemistry, computer engineering and imaging. For example, the Polyre Research Chair studies the polychrome used in past societies as determined by color materiality, aesthetic representation and reception of art of the past. The Humanum Research Chair examines the ethical, epistemological and social effects of digital technology. 

Several programs in archeology and architecture use scanning and modeling to find new methods of heritage conservation while other projects integrate new data acquisition technologies in the archaeological analysis process.


The Institute of Scientific Computing and Simulation is a Sorbonne University research center with expertise in HPC** and data analysis. It offers training, services and support across all fields and at the interface of disciplines and Sorbonne University institutions. The Facile Research Chair, for example, brings together Sorbonne University members, Paris public hospitals and police department to develop the first functional digital tool for three-dimensional facial reconstruction.

** High-Performance Computing





More than 40 Sorbonne University laboratories cover ecology and the environmental sciences from the smallest to the largest issues in these domains. Multidisciplinary teams are driving this research: from microcosm to macrocosm, from Earth sciences to the humanities. Sorbonne University’s environmental research is divided into four areas:

  • Global Ecology: marine and continental ecology, which examines ecology throughout the ecosphere or biosphere 
  • Climatology: Earth and territorial sciences, which focuses on climate changes and climate impact 
  • Environment and health: pollution and health risks, which studies the impact of pollutants on ecosystems and populations 
  • Human Ecology: consolidating scientific knowledge and societal issues, which is a cultural and societal study of the environment.


Focusing its exceptionally expansive expertise in the field of music, this research at Sorbonne University encompasses musicology, acoustics, gesture analysis and ethno-musicology. It includes IreMus—the largest musicology lab in France, the renowned Jean Le Rond d’Alembert Institute and IRCAM, one of the world’s largest public research centers dedicated to both musical expression and scientific research. The Collegium fosters a continuum between research, creation, development and innovation. From Pop to Contemporary Music and from improvisation to interpretation, the Collegium will study instruments and performers, archives and heritage, and analysis and creation. The GeAcMus Research Chair will study musical gesture from a technical and cultural perspective. This is the first multidisciplinary scientific study of gestural typologies in different geo-cultural areas, which demonstrates the “crossfertilization” between research and artistic creation. This new alloy of science and art will offer a new definition of musicology.

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