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Launch of the “Future of Digital Collaboration” research programme (PEPR eNSEMBLE)

Research Article published on 29 September 2023 , Updated on 09 October 2023

On Thursday 5 October, the CNRS, Inria, Université Grenoble Alpes and Université Paris-Saclay organised a morning event to launch the “Future of Digital Collaboration” research programme, also known as eNSEMBLE. Financed as part of the France 2030 investment plan and coordinated on behalf of the French government by the French National Research Agency (ANR), the multidisciplinary programme aims to invent the digital collaborative tools we will use in the future. The programme will bring together approximately one hundred teams working in computer science, humanities and social sciences from over fifty laboratories in France.

Reducing travel, connecting local areas more efficiently and facing the challenges and transformations of the coming decades are just a few examples of our needs in digital collaboration. These needs were particularly heightened during the pandemic, and they will continue to grow at an unprecedented rate and scale. 

A drastic transformation in the way we design collaborative systems is needed today, in a similar way to the transformation which saw the advent of personal computing. Collaboration and sharing must become native features of computer systems, in the same way as files and applications. To achieve this, shared digital spaces which do more than simply replicate the physical world in a virtual environment must be developed with the possibility of giving geographically dispersed communities the opportunity to organise their spaces as they see fit.

The programme’s scientific objectives are focused on:

  • designing collaborative environments and innovative conceptual models 
  • combining human and artificial intelligence in collaborative configurations 
  • enabling fluid collaborative experiences which encourage interoperability
  • supporting the creation of healthy and sustainable collectives 
  • specifying socio-technical norms with legal and regulatory frameworks. 

The programme’s work will cover a wide range of disciplines (computer science, ergonomics, cognitive psychology, sociology, design, law, economics) and be both theoretical and empirical. 

Watch the launch of the research programme on Youtube

From left to right: Bruno SPORTISSE, Chairmain and CEO of the French National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (Inria), Estelle IACONA, President of Université Paris-Saclay, Yassine LAKHNECH, President of Université Grenoble Alpes, Pierre Benech, Chairman of Grenoble INP - UGA, Gabriel Fioni, Chief Education Officer Delegate for Higher Education & Research for the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes regional academic authority, Samy SISAID, Deputy Prefect for the Isère department, advisor for the France 2030 investment plan and representative of the Isère Prefect, Stéphane HUOT, Research Director at Inria, Laurence NIGAY, Professor at Université Grenoble Alpes, Adeline NAZARENKO, Director of the CNRS Institute for Information Sciences and their Interactions, Gilles BAILLY, CNRS Research Director, Michel BEAUDOUIN-LAFON, Professor at Université Paris-Saclay.
© Thierry Morturier/UGA