After a generalist scientific education, with majors in physics and biology at Ecole Polytechnique, François Taddei became a tenured higher civil servant at the French Ministry of Agriculture, before earning a PhD in genetics, studying the evolution of the rate of evolution with Miroslav Radman, before a postdoctoral training with John Maynard-Smith.
Since 2000 he heads the Evolutionary Systems Biology team at a unit of the French National Institute of Health & Medical Research (INSERM) in Paris-Descartes University’s Medical School. His work has produced many publications in general-interest scientific journals, and has been recognized by several international and national awards (European Young Investigator award, Human Frontier Science Program award, INSERM Award for Fundamental Research, Liliane Bettencourt Life Science Award). François Taddei participates in various working groups on the future of research and education (France 2025, OECD, EU, etc.).
Over the last 10 years, he has created and managed the CRI (Center for Research and Interdisciplinarity) in Paris. CRI’s main role is to promote new pedagogies to help creative students take initiatives and develop their research projects, with the help of mentors, research institutions, private companies, and foundations, such as the Bettencourt Foundation, which has supported many student-created activities.
These activities range from the first French synthetic biology team (for the MIT-sponsored iGEM competition) to the Paris-Montagne science festival and the Science Académie, an outreach program that allows high schools students from deprived neighbourhoods to discover the creativity of science. The CRI offers three programs integrated in the Liliane Bettencourt curriculum: a new undergrad program, a Master’s degree (Innovative Approaches to Research and Education, IARE), and a doctoral school (Frontiers of Life, FdV). CRI’s dedicated facilities host visiting professors, a wide choice of courses and several student discussion clubs.
In 2013, François Taddei has taken the lead of the new Institute for Learning Through Research that has been selected in March 2012 by the International Scientific Committee of the National Innovative Training Program (IDEFI) of the French Ministry of Research.
L'essor des machines condamne un certain nombre de compétences. Mais de nouvelles questions appellent une réponse humaine. Nous sommes confrontés dans le monde entier à des problèmes qu'on ne sait pas résoudre. Il faut donc développer différentes formes d'intelligence et apprendre à coopérer pour faire des choses qu'on ne saurait pas faire individuellement. Les systèmes éducatifs, qui restent essentiellement basés sur la compétition, sauront-ils répondre à ce défi?
With the rise of machines, an important number of skills are bound to disappear. But the emergence of new issues also requires new forms of human expertise. Facing worldwide problems that we are yet unable to solve, we need to develop different forms of intelligence, learn to cooperate and achieve results that aren't possible for individuals alone. Will our education systems, fundamentally based on competition, meet this challenge?