Educating industry’s future leaders in green chemistry

With six Nobel Prize winners and 570 teaching and research staff in ten research laboratories, ESPCI Paris – PSL is one of France’s oldest and most renowned engineering schools. Each year, it trains a class of 85 engineers to innovate and meet the technological and industrial challenges of tomorrow.

Since 2011, a fund has been supporting this drive for innovation in two ways: by supporting students’ mobility through scholarships and by financing research programs on a variety of subjects such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, medical imaging, soft matter and electromagnetic radiation. The school was behind the invention of sonar.

In 2023, with the support of the Michelin Corporate Foundation, ESPCI Paris – PSL initiated a scheme to admit students from oversees. The year was spent selecting candidates, as well as engaging partner laboratories and choosing research topics, mainly in the fields of friction and polymers. In all, four engineering students, three Indians from the Pune and Madras Institutes of Technology, and one Thai student from Chulalongkorn University, were admitted at the beginning of 2024 for a semester of study. The project will be repeated in 2025, with four new students.

Thanks to a high-level end of course, essential in their careers, the four future engineers return to their countries enriched by their French experiences.

Testimony of Ms. Nalin Maniwongwichit, beneficiary of the Michelin Corporate Foundation Bursary:

I am 26 years old and a master’s student at Bangkok Chulalongkorn University in Thailand. At present, I am on a course at ESPCI Paris-PSL. Our joint research project between ESPCI and the Ecole Nationale Supérieure (ENS) aims to develop flexible hydrogel materials capable of encapsulating and releasing the antibiotic drug doxycycline under thermal stimulation. In addition, we are designing the hydrogel with variable cell adhesion properties to validate the concept. We also want to study the recyclability of the hydrogel in encapsulation to minimize material waste. In our cell adhesion experiments, we hope to emulate the drug release environment to observe cell interactions at reduced scale, thus reducing the quantity of drug used compared with traditional methods such as Franz diffusion. This approach enables us to study drug effects on cells while avoiding the ethical implications associated with experiments using animal models.”

Photos: Meeting between the scholarship holders, at the end of their course, and the Foundation, on June 11th 2024