Paris Sciences et Lettres – PSL Research University Paris is a collegiate 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 over 25 self-governing academic and research institutions. 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.
The majority of the institutions are in Paris’ Latin Quarter, while a few are just outside of Paris, in Meudon, Montrouge and Jourdan. A central campus in the Latin Quarter is under development, which will include meeting spaces, an office of international affairs and campus-wide digital communications capabilities.
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.