Hybridizing Science & Videogame

You are kindly invited to join the presentation on “Hybridizing Science & Videogame” given by Raphael Granier de Cassagnac, Research Director at CNRS, Paris.

Raphael Granier de Cassagnac holds the “Science and Videogame” research and teaching chair funded by Ubisoft at the Ecole polytechnique of Paris. He is currently producing a video game on particle physics, his heart domain as a research director at CNRS. He also tells stories in other media, in particular as a science-fiction writer. Hybridizing his three passions (fundamental research, storytelling and gaming) was key in convincing a well-known video game industry to grant him with an academic chair.


Video games first appeared in fundamental research centers… Since then, they have kept intimate ties with science. On one hand, game possibilities improve dramatically with new technologies that are sometimes driven by their very needs. On the other hand, through their deep interactive experience, video games provide a fantastic (but underused) way to popularize (and sometimes produce) scientific knowledge. Raphael will review the cross-feeding links between games and sciences, and try to propose new perspectives. By following both an historical perspective and a concrete set of modern examples that are developed within his academic chair, he will illustrate how various scientific fields are linked to video games, and vice versa. He will also underline the role of artificial intelligence, blockchains, the metaverse and other fashionable buzzwords.

Some relevant websites

• Chaire “Science & Jeu Vidéo”: https://sciencexgames.fr/

• Ecole Polytechnique, Paris, France: https://www.polytechnique.edu/en

The event is organised by the JRC Geel French Semester 2022 team, through Christophe Quétel.


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OPEN, the portal that facilitates everyone’s participation in the observation of biodiversity

Citizen science

What’s this ?
We have all had, at one time or another, the opportunity to observe nature and its diversity, with wonder.
Observing for your pleasure is good… but observing and allowing the scientific community to benefit from your observations is better! This is participatory science: scientific programs to which we can all, specialists or amateurs, contribute by collecting observations, on a voluntary basis.

What’s the point ?
Firstly to improve knowledge on biodiversity.
Scientific research programs, species inventories: the better we know about biodiversity, the better we can protect it.
But also to educate and raise awareness of biodiversity issues, through citizen involvement and pedagogy through action.

For who ?
For everyone ! Whether you are a beginner, an insider or an expert in the field of observation.
In any case, you benefit from the support of expert observers who will be able to verify your identifications.
Birds, molluscs, plants, pollinating insects…: whatever your interests, you will inevitably find what you are looking for in the wide variety of participatory science programs.

Scientific credibility
Citizen science is not just for experts. But then, how to be sure of their scientific seriousness?

  • All observers, beginners and experienced, follow a well-defined data collection protocol. This protocol frames the data collected and specifies the desired collection techniques, which facilitates the scientific exploitation of the data a posteriori.
  • Observers have tools to help identify species, such as the taxonomic reference or the list of probable species by geographical area. To go further, some observation programs call on expert observers – the “verifiers” – to support the most novices.
  • Suspicious data is discarded. All transmitted data includes at least a date, a place, a species and an observer. By cross-checking these elements with each other, erroneous data are discarded.

OPEN is not a data site!

OPEN does not allow you to upload your observation data to the database of the citizen science program of your choice. To do this, you will need to go directly to the website of the program concerned.

Some examples of featured observatories

BioObs (Base for the inventory of underwater observations)

BioObs is a tool made available to all divers, it is for those who want to: – Identify the species encountered during a dive. Compile a record of their observations on one or more dives. – View their naturalist dive log. – Contribute to a scientific approach to the inventory of species. – Know the range of each species. – Learn about observable species at different sites. BioObs accompanies the evolution of the practice of divers. It meets the expectations of those who want to know more about the natural environment in which they live. BioObs allows everyone, autonomous or dive guide, to prepare the dive by learning about the observable species in the planned dive area.

Urban prairie anthologies

Green space managers want to know the effect of their management practices on the quality of grasslands, but also to assess the dynamics and evolution of these environments. Scientists have associated themselves with these questions by providing suitable tools to answer them, in the form of standardised monitoring of grassland flora. The aim is to collect data on these ecosystems over a long period and over a wide geographic area. Managers are thus invited to contribute to a collective effort to collect data on grassland flora. These data make it possible to calculate an indicator of the ecological quality of grasslands in relation to the associated management methods and thereby provide a tool to help in the choice of practices to be favored in the field.

BioLit: coastal observers

BioLit is a national participatory science program on coastal biodiversity. carried by “Planète Mer” and supervised by the National Museum of Natural History; it proposes to monitor this biodiversity through various actions. Each action corresponds to a theme of long-term monitoring of the terrestrial and marine biodiversity of the coast, or the pressures exerted there. They make it possible to respond to scientific and environmental concerns about the evolution of coastal habitats and species. The program takes place all year round, on the entire metropolitan coast and even overseas. It is aimed at a wide audience, with or without knowledge, to allow as many people as possible to participate. Alone or accompanied by an environmental education structure, you will always find an action to carry out on the coast. It’s up to you to choose which one you want to participate in.


Phénoclim is a scientific and educational program that invites the public to measure the impact of climate change on the fauna and flora in and around the mountains. Initiated in 2004, it is based on two scientific disciplines: PHENOlogy and CLIMatology, to question the rhythms of nature. The data collected in different mountain ranges allows researchers to better understand the functioning of ecosystems in each season and to study the effects of climate variations on the environment.

Do you live in the Vosges, the Jura, Corsica, the Alps, the Pyrenees or the Massif Central? Do you want to observe nature in a useful way? Phenoclim is made for you! Throughout the year, you can take part in data collection free of charge (phenological dates, snow cover, temperatures, etc.). From the plains to the tops of the peaks, all the observations are interesting for carrying out comparative analyses.

The French photography project that captures architectural curiosities throughout France

Atlas des Régions Naturelles (ARN)’ captures architectural curiosities throughout France and it will eventually contain 50 photos of each of France’s 50 ‘régions naturelles’

A singular photographic adventure, unique in terms of both its scope and its duration. Launched five years ago, its objective is to document, in equal measure, the 450 natural regions or ‘lands’ constituting the territory of France.

Focusing on these small geographical and cultural entities such as Artois, Morvan or Béarn, Eric Tabuchi and Nelly Monnier patiently and meticulously describe our ways of occupying the landscape, inhabiting it and shaping it. The roads, houses, shops, and activities, the typography of road signs, the names of villages: they seek out both the perpetual, the commonplace, and the anomalies – which, intersecting, define a physiognomy of our ways of life and our identities.

What does France look like today?

At a time of low-cost flights for flash tourist destinations, TGVs that cut through the fields at full speed, GPS that remotely guide motorists, advertising images on TripAdvisor, 3D visualisation on Google Street View, which is therefore concerned really about the topography of France, that of the departmental roads and cross roads, that of the enclosed regions and quality crossroads, that of the villages and the urban outskirts? If you take the time to explore it, France is nevertheless full of astonishing singularities, unusual buildings, aesthetic curiosities, endearing shops, historic farms, bizarre signage, historical vestiges… Both graceful, pitiful and fragile, these buildings are the soul and the heart of the territory, as shown in the first part of the breathtaking album by Nelly Monnier and Eric Tabuchi, the ARN, or Atlas of natural regions.

First Volume of the “Atlas des Régions Naturelles”

Les régions naturelles

The term “région naturelle” or “pays” designates small territories whose limits referring to their natural characteristics are – in contrast to the administrative departments resulting from the Revolution – difficult to draw. If it is impossible to define their forms exactly, their borders, first physical and geological but also historical and cultural, continue to draw, in a kind of oral tradition, the contours of a geography whose liveliness remains very real. Thus, Semur-en-Auxois, Sucy-en-Brie, Bourg-en-Bresse or Verdun-en-Lauragais have retained the name of their former region in their place names. Their number varies depending on whether or not certain sub-entities are grouped together, for our part we have defined 450 of which you can consult the list which appears in the “index of regions” tab.

To sum up, the term “region naturelle” is a rather vague notion that designates territories with equally uncertain boundaries. This imprecision, which tempers the authority of conventional maps, seemed to us to be conducive to describing the territorial continuum which is more a succession of shades sometimes punctuated by clear breaks – if a comparison had to be found, one could say that the “region naturelle” are alternately water color tints whose contours blend together and flat areas of gouache drawing distinct areas. By allowing this descriptive finesse that mixes the blur and the sharp, the diffuse and the accentuated, the frame of the natural regions provided, in addition to a scale, the flexibility that we were looking for.

www.archive-arn.fr contains more than 12000 photographs taken since 2017, start of the ARN project. This first part, which mainly covers the north of France, is located halfway through our project. From this point, additions will be made as they travel – so it will be possible to consult the existing archive but also to follow the progress of the work in real time.

Example of a search for “Artois” (“Région naturelle” of north of France)

Many of the photographs in the Atlas are already online and can be searched in a variety of ways. Obviously it is possible to search by region and by category of construction.

But intriguingly, it is possible to search for colours or shapes. If you search for green, you not only find green buildings, but also a large green water-slide. If you search for ‘2000’, you will find a whole selection of shop fronts containing 2000 in the name of the shop (“Once, 2000 was the future,”)

Jeanne Barret, biodiversity pioneer and first circumnavigator

The first woman to circumnavigate the globe was Jeanne Baré, sometimes spelled Barret or Baret, on an expedition headed by Louis Antoine de Bougainville on the ships, La Boudeuse and Étoile, from 1766-1769. She was disguised as a man.

She was born in poverty in a small village in Saône-et-Loire in 1740. Unusually, for that period she learnt to read and write and became governess to the son of a widowed doctor and botanist, Dr Philibert Commerson.

Jeanne Baré, dressed as a sailor, in a portrait from 1817, made after her death | Photo: Wikimedia, Public Domain

He was attracted by this unusually bright and talented young woman and taught her botany. She soon became his assistant, and more than likely his lover, and they moved to Paris where he was chosen to accompany the explorer and French admiral Louis Antoine de Bougainville on his expedition around the world. Bougainville, himself, is regarded as the 14th navigator, and the first Frenchman to sail around the world. Dr Commerson’s mission was to observe, collect and classify plants.

At that time women were not allowed to spend even one night on one of the King’s boats, let alone several months, but Commerson refused to leave her behind. He persuaded Bougainville to allow him to take a servant with him; none other than Jeanne, aged 26, with cut hair, a band compressing her breasts and wearing trousers.

Everywhere they went they collected plants. Near to Rio de Janeiro they discovered a flowering, vine-like shrub, they called Bougainvillea, after the ship’s captain.

the bougainvillea flower, a plant discovered by Jeanne Barret and Philibert Commerson in Brazil and named in honor of the initiator of their great adventure. | Gardenandhouse via Wikimedia Commons

It appears there were suspicions about the sex of Commerson’s servant, called Jean Baré, but nobody could believe that a woman would work as physically hard as “he” did.

However, according to Bougainville’s journal her sex was finally revealed when they arrived at Tahiti: “As soon as Baré stepped onto the soil, the Tahitians surrounded her, calling out that she was a woman and that they wanted to give her the honours of the Island.”

Following that, when the voyage arrived at Mauritius, called then the Isle de France, it was perhaps convenient that Commerson and his “assistant” stayed on at the invitation of fellow botanist, Pierre Poivre. Commerson died on the island but Jeanne Baré continued her studies of the local flora.

She later married a soldier and returned to France, which meant she had at last completed her tour of the world.

In 1785 she was awarded a pension of 200 livres, a year by the Ministry of Marine, on the recommendation of Bougainville, who recognised her great courage and achievement and the document granting her the money describes her as an extraordinary woman. More recently, in 2012 a flower – discovered in South America by University of Utah biologist, Eric Tepe – was named Solanum baretiae in her honour.

“Behind the blob, research”, a CNRS participatory science experiment

As part of the 2021/2022 year of biology, the CNRS (National Centre for Scientific Research) is launching a participatory science project: Behind the blob, research. Open to all volunteers wishing to become actors in research, this experience of an unprecedented scale will make it possible to study the effects of climate change on the blob.

Presentation of the operation

Climate change has implications for biodiversity and ecosystems. In the years to come, heat waves will become longer, more intense, more frequent and more unexpected. This citizen science project is an opportunity to study the detailed impacts of temperature changes on the growth of fascinating organisms: slime molds.

A research project accessible to all those curious about science

Supported by the CNRS and under the leadership of ethologist Audrey Dussutour, Derrière le blob, la recherche is a participatory science project that will allow several thousand volunteers, from the age of 8, to take part in a research.
Over a period varying from one week to one month, and depending on their availability, participants will host a blob that they will have to hydrate and then feed. It will then be a question of simulating heat waves by varying the temperature at different frequencies and at different intensities.
The data collected by the participants will then be collected and analyzed by the team from the Center for Research on Animal Cognition-CBI (CNRS/UPS) in collaboration with the volunteers.

Advance knowledge by learning

The operation has a dual objective: to make volunteers aware of the scientific approach, from the design of a protocol to the publication of the results; but also allow volunteers to carry out a rigorous scientific experiment based on samples that scientists cannot perform in the laboratory.

The Blob: an extraordinary organization

From its real name Physarum polycephalum, the blob is an incredible unicellular organism. Neither animal, nor plant, nor mushroom, without a brain, it is a champion who can learn, even transmit information by merging with its congeners, which doubles in size daily and can reach several square meters. Able to regenerate, its lifespan can reach several decades.

At the beginning of its life, it measures 50 micrometers. In good conditions, its size doubles every day.

Audrey Dussutour

In France, the blob has been studied since 2009 at the Center for Research on Animal Cognition (CNRS/Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse) by researcher Audrey Dussutour.
Through more than 200 mediation actions carried out during her career, Audrey Dussutour has been able to use her scientific work on the behavior of ants and the blob to promote the issues and methods of scientific research to as many people as possible.
In 2021, his investment in mediation actions earned him the CNRS scientific mediation medal.

French gastronomy map from 1929

Published in 1929, the gastronomic map of France by Alain Bourguignon, former chef, allows you to immerse yourself in the culinary heritage of France and its taste specialties.

Gourmet menu?
Cheeses, wild fruits, game, desserts, local specialities, drinks…

Drawn in its first version by the geographer engineer Thiebaut on a text by the cook Alain Bourguignon, this map provides a geographical portrait of the culinary and gastronomic arts in France.

Click on the map to zoom
Initial version, 1929

400th anniversary of Molière

France began a year of events to mark the 400th anniversary of Molière, the nation’s most illustrious –  and still popular – master of satire and the stage.

Baptised on January 15, 1622, and probably born a day or two before, Moliere — real name Jean-Baptiste Poquelin — remains as central to French culture as Shakespeare to the English-speaking world.

When the French refer to their native tongue, it is as the “language of Moliere“.

Many of the celebrations will be staged in places that marked his life as an actor, company director and playwright, but above all at the Comedie-Francaise, created by King Louis XIV in 1680, seven years after Moliere’s death.

His plays alone will be performed at the  Paris monument to Moliere until July, starting from Saturday with the orginal censored version of “Tartuffe”, which will be shown live in cinemas too.

The play is considered to have  practically invented the “comedy of manners” satirising the moral hypocrisies of high society. 

“The Imaginary Invalid”, “The Miser” and “The Bourgeois Gentleman” will follow at the Comedie-Francaise, the longest-running theatre company in the world, performing his work every single year since it opened. 

‘He’s everywhere in the air’ 

The theatre near the Louvre museum, “is anchored in the quarter where he lived and where he died and he’s everywhere in the air”

In Versailles, where Moliere enjoyed Louis XIV’s patronage, several of the  best known plays will be performed in their original versions as “comedies-ballets”, collaborations with Baroque composer Jean-Baptiste Lully.

The town on the western edge of Paris holds a Moliere month every summer and a statue by Xavier Veilhan will be unveiled in May following a Moliere exhibition opening.

Moliere fled Paris at 23, spending the next 13 years with a travelling troupe and anniversary events will be held up and down the country.

Saturday will see another statue unveiled at Pezenas, in the southwest, where Moliere stayed repeatedly in those early years.

The historic heart of the town will be taken over by scenes from the plays and his life. An official Moliere stamp will be offered as a pre-issue.

The CNCS national centre for theatre costume at Moulin, in central France, will open a “Moliere in costume” exhibition,  at the end of May.

The Paris Opera will celebrate the anniversary with “Moliere in Music” from September.

The playwright left little trace of his personal life and the only one of his four children to survive to adulthood, lost his manuscripts.

Despite the myth, Moliere did not die on stage, but shortly after a performance — as the hypochondriac Argan — at home on the Rue de Richelieu on February 17, 1673. 

Nature, birds, insects, vagrant plants and others to “occupy” the space around the Eiffel Tower

An important aspect of Gilles Clément, which we entirely share and which inspired us for this project of the French semester, is his respect and care for the small inhabitants that populate all his works.

In addition to his passion for plants, he has a passion for observing small fauna, birds and especially insects, which led him to study entomology and travel the world. Already in 1974 he was traveling in Cameroon, looking for new environments, plants but he was also on the trail of the large and shy butterfly Papilio antimachus, this incessant research allowed him to discover the primitive gardens of the indigenous peoples of the place.

We wanted to complete this project of natural garden, inserting hotels for insects that favor the nesting of pollinators and give shelter to ladybugs, chrysops and other organisms that are natural enemies of phytophagous insects and therefore all beneficial to the small garden.

Piles of branches have been placed because they provide shelter and food for many silophagous insects: Lucanus cervus (flying deer), Cerambyx cerdo, Rosalia alpina, and others. They are also excellent hiding places for hedgehogs, amphibians and small reptiles, as well as ideal nesting places for robins and wrens.

Finally, bird feeders have been placed. Attracting these animals is important because they play a key role in the biological control of plant-parasitic insects and help maintain the essential balance of a healthy ecosystem full of biodiversity.

As Clément teaches us, this traffic circle project can become a garden where the environment and its biodiversity will find a place to evolve freely.



Giant 3D map is being made of France using lasers (lidar data)

France is being laser 3D-mapped to create a tool to identify flood risks, manage mountain forests, check land for farm subsidies, and even find archaeological sites. 
The Lidar HD project uses airborne laser beams to create an image from the reflected light that ‘sees through’ vegetation to the solid surface. 
Using its two specially equipped Beechcraft planes, state geographic agency IGN has already mapped part of the south east and Corsica, with the Vosges mountains and Rambouillet forest next in line. 

Lidar (LIght Detection And Ranging) is a telemetry technique (distance measurement) that uses the properties of light. Whether on land or on board an aircraft, Lidar is based on the same acquisition process: a scanner, whose position and orientation are measured continuously, emits infrared laser pulses towards an object or towards the ground at high frequency then records very precisely the time elapsed between the emission of these pulses and their return to the transmitter in order to deduce the position of the points impacted. At the rate of several hundred thousand pulses emitted per second, the device quickly generates a large quantity of geo-referenced points. The data is then processed to develop 3D digital models: digital terrain models (altimetric description of the ground), digital surface model (altimetric description of the ground and above ground), etc.

It aims to cover all of France by 2025 in the €60million plan. The IGN has hired private aircraft to help, and 10 planes are now involved. 
The work is expected to take 7,000 flight hours, with pilots flying in square or rectangular patterns at between 1,000m and 2,000m. They can only gather data on clear days but can also work on clear nights.

In the south east, they are concerned with built-up areas which are at risk of flooding in particular. 3D mapping shows the places at risk and allows modelling of what could happen and how to reduce the risk. 
The agriculture ministry sees it as a way to help with forestry management in mountain areas, to check farm subsidy claims and to identify new areas for particular crops. 

The maps will be released through the IGN’s Géoportail pages and are free for individual use. 

Once completed, the maps can be used for all sorts of things which we have not thought of yet. 

The Lidar HD program in numbers:

  • 5 years of work
  • 7,000 flight hours
  • 10 points per square meter on average
  • 4 groups of subcontractors in support
  • 3 petabytes of data
  • 60 million euros estimated budget
The Lidar HD program as 1st January 2022


DE FACTO – new platform where researchers, journalists and education actors united in the face of disinformation


Never before have researchers, journalists and media and information literacy professionals worked together to address the multiple ailments plaguing the information space. DE FACTO intends to open up a plural, open and independent space to put into perspective the challenges of information in the digital age by facilitating verification, analysis and media education. Its ambition is to promote the quality of information, the diversity of public debate, the development of critical thinking and the regulation of digital platforms.

The digital revolution has revolutionised the way information is produced and consumed. Those who produce it no longer have complete control over how it is read. Those who read it are no longer sure whether they can trust those who promote it. Often rich and original, digital information can also be erroneous, viral or misleading. After having been invested with many hopes, the digital revolution is now arousing mistrust and panic. Are we locked in echo chambers? Don’t fake news run the risk of destabilising citizens’ political choices? Do platform algorithms amplify controversy and polarisation of opinion? Faced with these upheavals, the DE FACTO site offers to help us see more clearly by closely associating the practice of fact-checking, the analysis of the transformations of the digital public space and the education of all audiences in order to better discern the risks as well as the promises of new digital information circuits.

Who manufactures DE FACTO?

DE FACTO associates Sciences-Po, whose médialab and the School of Journalism have been studying for many years the transformations of the information ecosystem, AFP, which has developed fact-checking activities in 80 countries in the last four years in more than 20 languages, and CLEMI (Center for Media and Information Education) which organises in particular the Press and Media Week at School in schools.

The vocation of DE FACTO is also to set up an open network of researchers, journalists and media education professionals. Sciences Po leads a network of researchers in numerous French universities and will help to make research work on the transformation of information in the digital age visible. The AFP brings together on the DE FACTO site most of the major French fact-checkers including “Liberation, 20 minutes and les Surligneurs”, as well as Radio France’s public audiovisual fact-checkers. CLEMI is working to set up a network of partners (media, journalists, associations, priority education networks) committed alongside it in media and information education, producers of resources and content in media and information education.


The quality of information is an essential public good for our democracies. It depends on those who produce it, but also on the way it circulates and the way in which audiences appropriate it. At a time of great digital transformations, our information ecosystem is often stifled by over-sized controversies, binary debates opposing the camp of reason to gullible people, by the attention-grabbing mechanisms of digital platforms. By checking, analyzing and helping everyone to better understand the information, DE FACTO offers to help us breathe better and be critical and inquisitive.

The European network

DE FACTO is the French side of a larger European collective: EDMO – for European Digital Media Observatory. EDMO supports independent networks working on disinformation. In addition to DE FACTO, EDMO is also launching 7 other hubs across Europe, all co-financed by the European Commission under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) program.

EDMO is coordinated by a consortium led by the European University Institute in Florence (Italy), in partnership with Athens Technology Center (Greece), Aahrus University (Denmark) and the fact-checking organization Pagella Politica (Italy).

2014-2021: what can we learn from the migration crisis in Europe ?

Recording: https://vimeo.com/675425764/e80e8c1f97

Dear colleagues,

You are kindly invited to join the presentation on “2014-2021: what can we learn from the migration crisis in Europe?” given by François Héran on 2 February 2022 – 10:30-11:30.

François Héran is Professor at the prestigious College de France, in charge of the department on “Migrations et sociétés”. He is also Director of the Institut Convergences Migrations (CNRS). François Héran is acknowledged for his scientific rigour and a great sense of pedagogy on the question of migration mechanisms. He discusses them in a serene manner, on the basis of facts, numbers and historical perspectives. His background allows him to mobilise social statistics and the right orders of magnitudes, to analyse in depth the political discourse and the institutional texts, and to pinpoint preconceptions, ideological biases and disinformation (complot theories) in the public debate.


The asylum applications registered in the European Economic Area from 2014 to 2020 add up to a total of 5.6 million people. This is apparently huge, but it only represents an additional population of 1.1%, over the seven years combined, if we make the (maximalist) hypothesis that the rejected never leave the continent. Therefore, nothing of an invasion or a “tsunami”.

However, this increase varies greatly depending on the country, from almost 0% in several Eastern European countries to +4.6% for Cyprus. It reaches 3.4% in Sweden, 2.4% in Germany and Austria, only 1.0% in France and 0.4% in the United Kingdom. These variations demonstrate that, in the field of asylum at least, “the State is back”, contrary to the theory of transnationalism which prophesied Its virtual disappearance.

The presentation will try to disentangle the factors that explain the radical divergences in asylum policies. Professor Héran will detail the many (mutually contradictory) explanations that were given of Angela Merkel’s speech in August 2015. He will question the possible definition of a country’s “hosting capacities”, and finally comment on the way in which European statistics on migration and asylum are taken into account in national public debate and in electoral campaigns. 


François Héran holds an aggregation in Philosophy and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the Paris-Descartes University. After four years of fieldwork in Spain and Bolivia, he joined in 1980 the French National Institute for Demographic Studies (INED) and was detached at the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE). He conducted surveys on sociability, education, family structures, language transmission and migration before returning to INED and become its Director from 1999 to 2009. He presided the European Association for Population Studies from 2012 to 2016.

In 2010 he spent one year in Den Haag studying the public debate on immigration. In 2017, he was elected professor at the Collège de France (Paris) on the “Migrations et sociétés” chair. The same year, he founded the Institut Convergences Migrations, aiming at bringing together scientists from multiple disciplines to renew the reflexion on migrations from all times and all continents. This institut supports 620 fellows in a broad spectrum of disciplines.

Some relevant websites

• Leçon inaugurale de F. Héran au College de France : https://www.college-de-france.fr/site/francois-heran/inaugural-lecture-2017-2018.htm

• Institut Convergences Migrations: https://www.icmigrations.cnrs.fr/

Some recent publications in English

• 2022 “Demography and Migration”, in Caroline B. Brettell and James F. Hollifield (eds.), Migration Theory: Talking across Disciplines, 4th edition, London: Routledge, chapter 5 (forthcoming).

• 2019 “French fertility is the highest in Europe. Because of its immigrants?”, Population & Societies, 568, July/August (with Sabrina Volant and Gilles Pison), 4 p.

Concert “une invitation chez Rossini”with the pianist Ginevra Negri

The European Cultural Association (ACE) together with the JRC French semester propose a Piano Talk on Rossini’s “Péchés de vieillesse“, or a piano conversation that alternates the performance of the composer’s pieces with the story of anecdotes, curiosities and reading of letters and documents to reconstruct the Parisian environment of the time and of the “Samedis musicaux” by the composer.
Thus we will talk about Rossini’s rebirth in the Parisian environment and the frequenters of his living room: writers (eg. Balzac, Dumas), musicians: (eg. Liszt, Wagner), bankers (eg. Rothschild) etc.
Rossini’s autograph menus will also be read and the “Macaroni War” between the musician and Alexandre Dumas will be told. We will also talk about the hostess Olympe Pélissier of which everyone, including Bellini (with success), sought the graces to obtain the protection of the Master.

The pieces proposed are:

  • “Les anchois – Thème et variations” from “Quatre hors d’oeuvre et quatre mendiants”
  • “Marche et réminiscences pour mon dernier voyage” from “Album pour piano, violon, cello, harmonium et cor”
  • “Une pensée à Florence” from “Album de chaumière”
  • “Un petit train de plaisir” from “Album pour les enfants dégourdis” with recited
To register: https://ginevracostantininegri_rossini.eventbrite.it


She graduated with honors and honorable mention in piano at the Giuseppe Verdi Conservatory in Milan, under the guidance of Prof. Anna Abbate. At 10 she performed for Lang Lang and played at Carnegie Hall in the recital of the winners of an American competition. Awarded in 9 international youth competitions and special mention at Sony Classical Talent Scout 2013, she has performed in the United States, France, Austria, Switzerland and Malta and for prestigious associations such as the Amici del Loggione del Teatro alla Scala and Musical Evenings and in various Festivals and theaters, including the Uto Ughi Festival and the Carlo Felice Theater in Genoa. She was the first teenager to record a CD on Rossini’s Péchés de vieillesse, a CD that achieved unanimous acclaim from critics, entered the TOP TEN of classic iTunes, was adopted by the Vatican for the Rossini celebrations in 2018 and earned her the nomination for the ICMA 2020 (International Classical Music Awards) in the Solo Instrument category. Her performances were broadcast on Sky Tg24, Rai3, Rai Radio 3, Radio Svizzera Italiana, Radio Classica, Radio 24, Radio Popolare, among others.

On March 13, 2019 at the Quirinale, the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella awarded her the honor of Standard Bearer of the Republic for artistic merits and for her commitment to spreading the Italian piano heritage.

Also in 2019, Forbes magazine listed her among the 100 under 30 Italian innovators and leaders of the future for their sector (5 for music).

During the lockdown, she was a special guest of the Accademia del Teatro alla Scala for the digital week and held a TEDX Talk for the Catholic university together with personalities such as Carlo Cottarelli, Davide Oldani and many others. In 2021 she got the Arca d’Oro Italy Young Talents International Award. In May of the same year, her new album The Paisiello Academy was released by Sony Classical, with the recording of two Paisiello concerts, recorded with the Canova Orchestra and the conductor Enrico Saverio Pagano. The CD is getting a good critical success and is broadcast by the main radio stations in the sector (Rai radio 3, Radio 24, Radio Classica, etc.). In September 2021, the Musica magazine dedicated an extensive interview to her. The newspaper La Repubblica in the magazine D donna has included her in the Top Ten of Italian extra-ordinary women of 2021.

CHEEZAM: can machine learning be used to identify a type of french cheese?


Cheezam is the brainchild of a few data scientists at Prevision.io. Over lunch a few months ago, a debate took place as to which types of cheese were served on a dessert tray. Yep, things get pretty wild at lunches outside of our Paris, France office. Just imagine what these folks are like on the weekend!

From that lunch an idea was born, can machine learning be used to identify a type of cheese? The time has come to officially announce Cheezam, an artificial intelligence app built on the Prevision.io AI Management platform. It was trained on a dataset of french cheeses.

In this limited preview (aka ‘Alpha’ release) the model is currently only able to predict the type of cheese. Future iterations will be built if there is demand. As AI and machine learning experts, we may need to pull in additional experts who are more than just novice cheese lovers.


This is a very simple app!

Step 1. Have your iOS or Android phone ready
Step 2. Go to cheezam.fr
Step 3. Click Take photo (take a picture of the cheese!)
Step 4. Test the results

Bistrotier, le livre des joues rouges et des assiettes à saucer

The bistrot, the flagship of the hungry Ha! The Bistrot (pub) ! Its counter, its conviviality and its homemade dishes that can be tasted at any time. A true French institution.
One of its most famous representatives, Stéphane Reynaud, shares 250 recipes to feast on and 100 wines to accompany them. There are eggs mayo, terrines, oysters, dishes in sauce, cheese platters and of course desserts. Must-haves that will transport you from the counter to the tortoise shell bench, from the butcher’s room to the dessert window. But not only ! You will also find the map of oyster-growing areas or even everything you need to know about old aperitifs, beer or coffee … And then 100 wines, associated with these gourmet dishes, described by Stéphane Reynaud with generosity and authenticity, to multiply the pleasures of the table.

The book can be bought on Amazon Italia

Gift distribution at JRC Ispra

On the 19th of January a small gift will be distributed by French volunteers at the gates of the JRC.

Bergamotes of Nancy

The Bergamot of Nancy is a sweet, translucent candy with a unique taste. It was the first confectionery in France to be awarded PGI status, a Protected Geographical Indication.

This translucent square sweet has a yellow amber colour, is slightly tart and is flavoured with bergamot orange essential oil. This natural oil from Calabria, Italy was brought to Nancy well before 1750 by René D’Anjou and René II, both Dukes of Lorraine.
Once the favourite candy of Stanislaw Leszczynski, another Duke of Lorraine, it became the specialty of Nancy’s confectioners at the end of the 19th century.

In Lorraine, only 4 confectioners are authorised to make Bergamot of Nancy PGI candies, and they must strictly adhere to the production methods. The ones you got, are coming from the Confiserie Stanislas.

Bêtises de Cambrai

Bêtise de Cambrai is a popular candy and a specialty of the town of Cambrai. Their original flavor is mint, but nowadays there is a great range of flavors such as apple, chocolate, violet, and cherry. The candies are usually decorated with a caramel stripe which gives them extra sweetness


Berlingots are one of the oldest traditional hard sweets in France, recognisable by their shape which resembles a pyramid with rounded edges. They were first made in two areas of France: Carpentras in Vaucluse and Nantes in Loire-Atlantique.
Berlingots Carpentras are translucent with white stripes and date back to the early 1800s while the Berlingots Nantais are opaque, covered in a dusting of sugar and were first made at the end of the 19th century.

Caramels au beurre salé

France has over 60 currencies beside the Euro

Alongside the euro, dozens of local currencies are in circulation across France. They surged in 2010 following the global financial crisis and can only be used in a limited area like a town or region. Some of them have become increasingly commonplace in French regions over the past few years, as they help boost the local economy and protect the environment.

That’s just one of some 60 currencies besides the euro that are accepted in France. It’s not a phenomenon unique to France. Around the world, there are hundreds of these complementary currencies.

Local currencies debuted in France in 2010 after the financial crisis as a way to support local economies, since local currencies can only be used in a certain town or area. (Abeilles can only be used in Villeneuve-sur-Lot, Occitans in Pézenas, Languedoc-Roussillon, etc.) Not every store in a town will accept the local currency. Only stores where using the local currency will contribute to the immediate town and surrounding area will accept the currency. So your “boulanger” will gladly take your “Occitans” because the bread was made using wheat grown in the area by local farmers.

Some currencies are printed on paper and others are paperless to cut costs. The exchange rate is always one euro to one local currency.

Map of the actual local currencies in France

To learn more about local currencies in France and the new Paris currency, “la pêche”, check out the video below.

Local currency nameLocationRegioncurrency units in circulationLaunch Date
La PêcheParisIle de France90.0002018
EskoPays BasqueNouvelle Aquitaine3 millions2013
CagnoleAuxerreBourgogne-Franche Comté42.0002018
BuzukPas de MorlaixBretagne22.0002016
AbeilleVilleneuve sur LotNouvelle Aquitaine14.0002011
La DoumePuy-de-DômeAuvergne-Rhône-Alpes170.0002015
some examples of local currencies