Background

The Modeling for Sustainable Development Chair was created in 2008 by two research laboratories: The Center for Applied Mathematics at MINES ParisTech, via the MINES ParisTech Foundation, and the International Center for Research on the Environment and Sustainable Development (Ecole des Ponts ParisTech).
The creation of the Chair was prompted by the lack of prospective culture in France in crucial areas of expertise such as energy transition, climate change, resource management and environment policies, in a context of economic globalization. To make up for this shortfall, the Chair initiated an exacting dialogue between engineering sciences and economic analysis in order to inform demanding technological choices and structural economic policies. The target of its work is to propose an integrated vision of the connections between the economic sectors concerned, the diverse issues of sustainable development, and the short-term constraints that economies must deal with. Prospective modeling is one of the best tools for ensuring that this dialogue is rigorous and pertinent. The MPDD Chair therefore chose to establish a driving force to facilitate decision-making in debates relating to scientific and technological challenges linked to the dual energy-climate constraint. When making strategic choices, industrialists and public decision-makers face energy-related, environmental and economic constraints. As a response, the MPDD Chair’s project is to:

  • Strengthen the presence of the founding laboratories and their partners in major centers of national and international expertise on sustainable development related to energy-climate, extending their current involvement in the Center for Strategic Analysis (for France – thanks to initial support from the French Energy Council), the IEA (World Energy Outlook, Energy Technology System Analysis Program), OECD, the World Bank and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • Develop a long-term prospective platform to aid decisions related to economy-resources-climate, on energy and climate policy issues, industrial development and technological choices in a context of changing competition regulations. This platform will gradually integrate connections between energy/climate and other key sustainable development issues.
  • Build up an international academic profile by coordinating international symposia, publishing articles in expert journals (economics, management and applied mathematics), and organizing special editions of specialized journals (energy, environment, transport, water) on sustainable development topics.
  • Set up programs to fund PhDs and educational seminars that respond to the needs of partner companies in the prospective domain (raise awareness of the benefits of taking a prospective approach in their activities, extend and transfer skills in the domain).
  • Rectify the national shortfall in educating “on and through” a prospective approach.

Jointly directed by Nadia MAÏZI, Director of the Center for Applied Mathematics, and Jean-Charles HOURCADE, Director of the International Center for Research on the Environment and Sustainable Development, the Chair was granted a budget of 2.5 million euro for the period 2008-2013. The Chair has recently been extended to 2014-2018, still co-directed by Nadia MAÏZI and Jean-Charles HOURCADE, and partnered by ADEME, EDF, GRTgaz and SCHNEIDER ELECTRIC, with the public economic development fund MEDDE as an associated partner. Other industrial and institutional partnerships may also join in the coming weeks.