Research in national architecture colleges
The research activity takes place within the State-recognised research units, commonly known as laboratories, in the National Institutes of Architecture.
Les research units are either groups of researchers collaborating on common themes (the initial form of the laboratory), or established platforms for pooling logistical resources and resources on a variety of themes and disciplines (the more recent form of the laboratory). The laboratories are located in the National Higher Schools of Architecture and offer work space for their members, a documentation centre and other material resources necessary for scientific production. Most laboratories are closely associated with the academic and social life of the school.
Three distinct but related populations cooperate closely in the laboratories. The first is full-time researchers, engineers and research technicians who have chosen the path of scientific research. The second is that of architecture school teachers, doctors, and research leaders. Their time is divided between teaching architecture and its related disciplines (engineering, history, sociology, computer science, urban planning, landscape, etc.) and scientific research. They collaborate with researchers in writing responses to research calls, scientific production and other related activities. In particular, they organise doctoral studies in architecture schools through scientific seminars. The third population is that of doctoral students, whose research contributes to the construction of the laboratory program. PhD students participate in doctoral seminars, collaborate in writing scientific projects, publish in peer-reviewed journals and contribute to the organization of scientific events, the editing of proceedings, and teaching.
Each research unit develops a multiannual programme based on its human resources and budget, part of which is allocated to it by the Directorate-General for Assets. The school hosting the unit also provides significant resources. In some cases, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) co-authorises the research unit by assigning scientific and administrative staff and allocating additional funds. All this construction anchors the identity of the laboratory in its school and in the national and international community.
Research output is evaluated by the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Scientific Education (HCERES) before being authorised by the Ministry of Culture. The scientific programmes of the laboratories follow a five-year rhythm in line with the periodicity of the evaluations. Evaluation committees examine each unit in detail, its production and its position in the local, regional and European context. The evaluation focuses in particular on the adequacy of the objectives and the resources put in place. The review leads to a comprehensive assessment of the unit, identifies its strengths and prospects, and identifies weaknesses and opportunities for improvement. These conclusions are accompanied by comments on: the scientific quality of the production, its degree of influence and relevance, its integration in the superior environment, its institutional strategy, its governance and the life within the laboratory. Following this evaluation, the Minister of Culture pronounces the empowerment for each of the forty research units National Higher Schools of Architecture.