The EHESS's Research Centers are fundamental to the development of scientific activity and to the training of young researchers. They are a key component in the School's scientific policy and essential to the work of faculty members at an institutional, national and international level. The vast majority of EHESS researchers, Assistant / Associate Professors, Directors of Studies and the scientific teams in which they participate, are affiliated to one of 35 Research Centers, among which 33 "Joint Research Units" (UMRs). These Research Centers or UMRs are co-managed by the national research council, the CNRS. These Research Centers bring together scholars and research teams from the leading academic institutions in France, including the CNRS, and cover an extensive range of disciplines: history, sociology, anthropology, economics, geography, archaeology, psychology, and linguistics.
UMRs are often multi-disciplinary, bringing together researchers from a range of subject areas. This is particularly true for those specializing in “cultural areas”, which take a holistic approach to the exploration of socio-cultural issues and diversity in Asia, America, Africa and Europe. 28 of the UMRs are based in Ile-de-France, 3 in Marseille, 3 in Toulouse, and 1 in Lyon.
Since the school’s inception, the EHESS has worked alongside international researchers to study societies all over the world. This collaboration has led to longstanding partnerships with foreign universities and research institutions far and wide. In order to further uphold its commitment to the circulation of knowledge, the EHESS dedicates significant resources to hosting researchers from abroad, as well as to the mobility of its own faculty and students.
EHESS is an intellectual project that fosters dialogue between the humanities and the social sciences, but also with the natural sciences and mathematics (which are present at the School with CAMS, the Center of Analysis and Social Mathematics). This epistemological stance is concretely implemented in the School’s transdisciplinary research projects, as well as in the diversity of disciplines, methodologies, and fields explored; it governs the EHESS’s scientific policy and has direct consequences on the organization of research and training.
EHESS believes in training for research by doing research. Research seminars are the main loci for the students’ training: professors and researchers present their work in progress to the students and in return expect group discussion on their hypotheses and data. The seminars are the places where both the production and the transmission of knowledge take place, which also matches the School's main mission.
It should be emphasized that this model, which did not wait for interdisciplinary injunctions or top-down research management to be implemented, has constantly proved its effectiveness: one third of the European Research Council grants awarded in France since the beginning of the social sciences and humanities program have been awarded to laboratories within EHESS. Half of the CNRS gold medals in the humanities and social sciences have been awarded to the School’s research professors -- Lévi-Strauss, Bourdieu, Godelier, Descola or Le Goff, to name but a few -- as well as one third of the silver medals awarded over the past ten years. The school hosts a Nobel Prize winner (J. Tirole), the holder of the International History Grand Prize (S. Gruzinski), and many other prize winners. Its researchers are very often world-renowned: F. Hartog, E. Illouz, D. Fassin, G. Sapiro, T. Piketty, N. Göle, G. Didi-Huberman, to name, again, only but a few!