Univeristé PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) is a university formed in 2010, though some of the member institutions were founded during the Enlightenment (the Collège de France, L'Observatoire de Paris, and the Beaux Arts). Originally formed of five institutions, it has grown significantly to 9 academic and research member institutions and 10 affiliated institutions. PSL encompasses every field of knowledge, from the sciences and engineering to the arts, humanities and social sciences. It was established with the aim of becoming one of the leading research universities in the world.
One of the member institutions, the highly selective École Normale Supérieure, which takes only 200 students a year, can be traced back to the post-revolutionary National Convention of 1794. It was originally established to train secondary school teachers in order to ensure a consistent national education. Today, it takes only 200 students a year in sciences and humanities, who receive a salary of about €1,300 (£1,114) per month in return for 10 years of service in the public sector after graduation.
In 2011 the Equipex projects were unveiled in France, which involve grants of up to €10 million to fund pioneering research equipment, of which PSL has obtained at least seven grants. Facilities funded include for aquatic ecology, therapeutic use of genomic data applied to cancer treatment, magnetic resonance, and cerebral ultrasound therapy.
Notable alumni of the member institutions include inventor of pasteurisation Louis Pasteur, Nobel Prize in Literature winners Henri Bergson and Jean-Paul Sartre, world-renowned thinker Michel Foucault, founder of deconstruction Jacques Derrida and philosopher Bernard-Henri-Levy.
Université PSL (Paris Sciences & Lettres) : Chimie ParisTech, École nationale des chartes, École normale supérieure, École Pratique des Hautes Études, ESPCI Paris, Institut Curie, MINES ParisTech, Observatoire de Paris, Université Paris-Dauphine
With National research organizations support: CNRS, Inria, Inserm
Affiliated institutions: Beaux-Arts de Paris, Collège de France, Conservatoire National Supérieur d'Art Dramatique, Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris, École des hautes études en sciences sociales, École française d'Extrême-Orient, École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs, IBPC-Fondation Edmond de Rothschild, Institut Louis Bachelier, La Fémis.
Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris was first ranked as a single institution by THE in the 2018 World University Rankings. Prior to that, several institutions that are part of PSL were ranked independently: École Normale Supérieure, Mines ParisTech, ESPCI ParisTech and Paris Dauphine University.