In 2011, the French ministry of Research and Education selected the Department of Physics at the Ecole normale supérieure as a ‘Laboratory of Excellence’ for its research and teaching strategy. The ‘LabEx’ called ENS-ICFP (International Centre for Fundamental Physics and its interfaces at Ecole normale supérieure) will receive funding support during 8 years.
Through this project, the department is set to realise wide-ranging research initiatives and ambitious education objectives that were previously out of reach. The main objective is to boost the international attractiveness of the ENS Physics Department while broadening the recruitment pool. The current project concentrates on three key measures:

A Junior Research Chair program (JRC)
The essential goal of this new program is to recruit talented young scientists capable of rapidly develop research fields across laboratories at the ENS Physics Department while offering them the opportunity to develop their talents in a leading research environment. Under the guidance of their mentors, chairholders are expected to regularly interact with faculty members who are leaders in their fields and to contribute to major breakthroughs at the forefront of their field.

A Master’s program in Fundamental Physics
Beginning with the academic year 2012-13, the program set up by the ENS-ICFP Labex provides an integrated and international two-year Master in fundamental physics geared at outstanding French and international students. This program, the only one of the department, is offered in close collaboration with partner institutions from the Paris area (UPMC, UDD, Université Paris-Sud, Ecole Polytechnique). It is taught in English. The program intends to significantly increase the number of international students. In order to foster its attractiveness, the ENS-ICFP awards 6 to 10 scholarships per year to students with excellent academic records.

Outreach activities
The exploitation part of the ENS-ICFP project is to maximize the dissemination of scientific results, improve the department’s international outlook and build up sustained relations with the private sector. Improved relationship with the private sector remains a priority for the department, which often appears exclusively academic in its orientation. It is also the first step to establishing long-term relationships with companies both for research and for education.