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Biomedical Research in France and Its Institutionalization, 1940–1970: At the origins of INSERM

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Air date: Tuesday, December 17, 2019, 4:00:00 PM
Time displayed is Eastern Time, Washington DC Local
Views: Total views: 96, (48 Live, 48 On-demand)
Category: Special
Runtime: 01:05:00
Description: French biomedical research is often associated with Louis Pasteur and the Institute that bears his name, created in 1887 thanks to an international public subscription. This long-term success also reveals the very insufficient commitment of French universities to research at that time. This is why, during the 20th century, the State in France engaged in growing support for scientific research by creating specific institutions distinct from universities. The foundation of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) in 1939 was a major turning point in this respect. While the CNRS, which developed strongly after the Liberation, devoted its efforts to all scientific disciplines, including the Human and Social Sciences, other approaches, also driven by public authorities, led to the creation of specialized institutions. They follow one another in three "generations". The first during the Occupation, the second at the Liberation, and the third in the 1960s after General De Gaulle's return to power. INSERM, created in 1964, is part of this third wave with the Centre National d'Etudes spatiales (CNES) and the Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (INRIA). However, it is an indirect result of the first wave of creation since it takes over the activities and resources of the Institut National d’Hygiène (INH) created in 1941. It is this process of institutionalization of French public research in the biomedical field between the 1940s and 1970s that will be analyzed. Several transversal themes will be addressed to shed light on the socio-political construction of this system. The role of the United States, particularly through the work of the Rockefeller Foundation, will be highlighted. Beyond an institutional approach, it will also be a question of understanding how the French scientific community has become part of the more global dynamics of the construction of biomedical sciences.
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Author: Pascal Griset, Director, Institute of Science Communication; Professor, Modern History, Sorbonne Université, France
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CIT Live ID: 35477
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