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CNRS, Aix-Marseille University and MIT to extend the activities of < MSE >² International Joint Unit

31 décembre 2016

On Friday, September 9th, Alain Fuchs, President of the CNRS, Yvon Berland, President of the Aix-Marseilles University and Rafael Reif, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston, USA, signed an extension agreement for the < MSE >² International Joint Unit. The French Secretary of State, Thierry Mandon, attended the signature ceremony.

© MIT
From left to right : Prof. Franz-Josef Ulm (MIT), Yvon Berland (President - Aix-Marseille University), MIT President L. Rafael Reif (President - MIT), Alain Fuchs (President - CNRS), Rolland Pellenq (CNRS research director and MIT scientist)



This International Joint Unit, the activities of which began in 2012, aims at making progress when it comes to understanding the phenomena of both the fracturing and the ageing process of multi-scale and porous materials. In France, the mirror laboratory of the < MSE > ² Unit is the CINaM (Interdisciplinary Center for Nanoscience of Marseilles, CNRS/Aix-Marseills University).
The < MSE > ² is a key element of the ICoME2 LabEx [1] which includes, in addition to the CINaM, two other partners : the synchrotron “SOLEIL” (Equipex NANOIMAGESX) and the international research group M2UN. This structure eases numbers of exchanges of undergraduate and postgraduate students, exchanges also allowed by both summer schools (in Boston) and winter schools (in Marseilles).

The main research areas of the < MSE > ² International Joint Unit between the CNRS and the MIT are focusing on materials such as cement or shale gas, and more recently on Urban Physics. This last research area was developed in order to obtain a predictive modelling of the “Urban Heat Island Effect”, a phenomenon of temperature increase in urban areas caused by the city itself, by its morphology and by the materials it is made of. In the framework of ICoME2, the International Joint Unit, together with the Consulate General of France in Boston, organized in the MIT, in March 2016, the first workshop dedicated to Urban Physics. A second workshop called “Cities : Analysis and Modelling”, which deals, among others, with the social sciences aspects, was organized within the CNRS headquarters in Paris by ICoME2 and by the CNRS Mission for Interdisciplinarity on October 21st, 2016, under the patronage of the CNRS Presidency.

Signing this amendment underlines the common interests of the partner institutions of the CNRS, that is to say the MIT and the AMU, to extend the research activities and their benefits. Within this framework, the presence of the Secretary of State at the ceremony underlines the importance and the political support given to the International Joint Units as international cooperation structures.


[1] LabEx stands “Laboratoire d’Excellence” which is a tool aiming at supporting the research within a specific scientific area.