Creation of the Institute of Mathematics for planet Earth

The CNRS and its partners are creating a new scientific interest group to bring together their mathematics skills to help the environment. 

The Institute of Mathematics for Planet Earth was created on 20 May 2021 by the CNRS, ENS de Lyon and the Universities of Clermont Auvergne, Grenoble Alpes, Claude Bernard Lyon 1 and Savoie Mont Blanc. This Scientific Group  will strengthen collaborative work between mathematicians and scientists who specialize in different aspects of the Earth’s system to meet the environmental challenges of today and tomorrow.

The Institute of Mathematics for Planet Earth (IMPT in French) will be organized around three main elements:

  • the "Living Earth" component will deal with the evolution of biodiversity, the resilience dynamics of natural and social territories, adaptation modelling and ecological crises.
  • the "Human Earth" component will focus on human activities and sustainable development (waste management, energy issues, complex networks and systems, human behavior, health).
  • And the third element "Fluid/Solid Earth" will address geophysical phenomena (seismology, volcanology, tectonics, coastal flow...), the study of oceans, glaciers, the atmosphere, the water cycle or the formation of the earth and the origin of life, with models ranging from micro scale to the scale of the entire planet.

The design of new theoretical and numerical mathematics within this "off campus" team will enable, in conjunction with scientists from other disciplines, to answer the many environmental questions that arise today. Bringing mathematics skills for humans and their interaction with the Earth’s ecosystem, through a multidisciplinary approach involving ecology and the environment, physics and the sciences of the Universe, is also one of the priorities set out in the latest Contract of Objectives agreed between the State and the CNRS. 

Stemming from the prospective think-tank [1] "MathsInTerre" and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Mathematic Research federation, the creation of this Scientific Interest Group is based on a regional hub with the aim of developing a partnership with ENS de Lyon, and the universities of Clermont Auvergne, Grenoble Alpes, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 and Université Savoie Mont Blanc. Established on a four-year renewable basis, the aim is to mobilize other public institutions and private partners throughout France.


[1] The prospective think-tank workshops are an ANR scheme, independent from calls for research projects, which brings together scientists, industrialists or government representatives to formulate research and development needs in emerging, unstructured or multi-disciplined areas.

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