The universities Paris Descartes and Paris Diderot and the Institut de physique du globe de Paris have embarked on a process of transformation of their institutions aimed at creating the future “Université de Paris”. If the two universities are forced to merge during this transformation, the IPGP will be fully integrated while retaining its legal personality. Why?
The Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, a historical partner of the University of Paris Diderot, which was founded almost a century ago (1921), became a major institution of higher education and research in 1990. This status was attributed to it following a progressive awareness of the State, particularly after the volcanic crisis in the Soufrière of Guadeloupe in 1976, the need to have in France an institution capable of possessing specific and guaranteed long-term operational capacities to acquire and make available to the community high-level scientific data on the state of the three active French volcanoes (Réunion, Martinique, Guadeloupe), and to be a scientific institution of reference that can be a reliable interlocutor for the authorities and the State.
The Institut de physique du globe de Paris is an institution of higher education and intensive research in charge of the permanent observation (monitoring) of earth processes (volcanism, seismicity, magnetic field). The IPGP is responsible for observatories of the three active French volcanoes, which it operates with its own resources and those delegated by the CNRS. The IPGP also operates a network of 33 seismic stations and 11 magnetic observatories around the world, as well as the national magnetic observatory in Chambon-la-Forêt. Among the staff assigned to the IPGP, those of the CNAP (National Astronomers and Physicists Corps) have in addition to their research and teaching missions, a statutory mission of observation.
To carry out its missions, the IPGP must have strong and unique governance that integrates research, observation and teaching. It must be an intensive research institution to enable the development of best observation and modelling techniques, and the achievement of the best scientific interpretations of observational data. The IPGP must be able to rely on dedicated and secure resources over the long term (personal, endowments, instrumentation, premises) to guarantee continuous and uninterrupted observation, the rapid and continuous transmission of observational data (e. g. for tsunami warning) and very rapid response in the event of a crisis (three months before the eruption of Mount Pelee, which killed the 30,000 inhabitants of Saint-Pierre on 8 May 1902, the volcano gave no “very abnormal” signs of activity).
The integration of the IPGP into the future university as one of the four components of the new institution will allow the IPGP to participate in defining, applying and monitoring the university’s overall research and teaching strategy, while maintaining the autonomy necessary to carry out its missions.