The Ardian Foundation, the DEPP and the PSE create a new chair “Education Policy and Social Mobility”

The Ardian Foundation – under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the DEPP (Direction de l’évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance) of the Ministry for National Education, Youth and Sports, and the Paris School of Economics (PSE) have just created a new research chair “Education Policy and Social Mobility” within the PSE.

Led by Luc Behaghel (PSE, INRAE) and Julien Grenet (PSE, CNRS), the aim of this research chair is to identify the causes of inequalities in access to education, and to identify the policies and actions best suited to correct them. This is a key issue for all citizens, which concerns not only public decision makers but also civil society and philanthropic groups that devote much effort to supporting young people and their families.

Supporting such programmes is at the heart of the Ardian Foundation’s work, which aims to “help children and young people to look to the future and become aware of their own potential”, says Yann Bak, President of the Foundation. “We are proud to support this research programme that will contribute to improving our understanding of social mobility and building a more inclusive society.”

Education is an issue of paramount importance for contemporary societies. Education policies and developments in academic achievements explain in large part the levels of growth and prosperity of countries. At the individual level, education is a crucial determinant not only of wages and employment status, but also of health and wellbeing. However, there are large gaps in access to education in every society, which the Covid-19 pandemic has underscored and deepened.

For Jean-Olivier Hairault, Director of the PSE“the research will aim to supply various parties with the analytical frameworks they need in order to take action, and will be based in particular on assessments of experimental interventions in the field, as well as on the analysis of past and present policies”. In his view, “this research is a most effective way for PSE to bring researchers, decision makers and economic organizations together to address some of our most pressing social questions.”

The Ardian Foundation, the DEPP and the PSE intend to make this “Education Policy and Social Mobility” research chair a privileged space for fruitful interactions between research and practice. The objective is to improve the level of education of those segments of the population in most difficulty by identifying the most effective levers. Through original and rigorous work, the scientific teams hope to contribute to efficient and innovative education policies that take advantage of new technologies.

Fabienne Rosenwald, Director of the DEPP, attests to this ambition: “We are stimulating research into education in order to enrich the public debate and to clarify public choices, on the one hand by supporting education researchers, and on the other hand by transferring the results of that research to decision makers as well as to the general public.” She stresses the importance of continuing partnerships: “the creation of this unit is another step forward in consolidating our existing links with PSE. We are delighted to be taking part in this adventure that will improve our knowledge and understanding of the education system and its inequalities, in all their dimensions. This is very exciting for the development of our relationships with researchers.”

Steering Committee

To coordinate the work, the research chair will have a steering committee, whose members have been chosen among the 3 participating institutions: Luc Behaghel (PSE Professor, research Director at INRAE) and Julien Grenet (PSE Professor, Senior Researcher at CNRS), Fabienne Rosenwald (Director of the DEPP), Thierry Rocher (Assistant to the deputy-director in charge of evaluations and performance), Amir Sharifi, Raphaëlle Muhlmann-Eytan and Hadia Kebe (members of the Ardian Foundation).

The Chair Partners

The Ardian Foundation was created in 2010 by Ardian, a global leader in private investment, with the aim of encouraging social mobility through the education of children, students and young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds. Under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the Foundation manages an annual budget of three million euros, part of which is donated by Ardian personnel themselves. It also serves as a forum for Ardian employees to engage in charitable projects. Almost a third of Ardian employees are involved in its activities, not only as sponsors of young people but also as participants in the foundation’s events and training programmes, and through relationships with partner associations. The Ardian Foundation supports projects in eight countries in Europe, Asia and North America.

The DEPP (Office for evaluation, forecasting and performance of the National ministry of education, youth and sport) is in charge of evaluation and performance measurement in the fields of education and training. It contributes to the evaluation of policies enacted by the ministry. Facilitating research into education is part of its mission.

The Paris School of Economics is one of the top-ranking economics research and teaching centres in the world, covering a broad range of topics, in most domains of economics, especially in the economics of education. One of PSE’s missions is to strengthen dialogue between academia and public and private enterprises, via its partnership programme, which works through research chairs such as this one.

Press contacts

Ardian (via Headland)

  • Claudia Buck – +44 (0)20 3435 7478 – cbuck

DEPP – Ministère de l’Éducation nationale, de la Jeunesse et des Sports

  • Service presse – 01 55 55 30 10 – spresse

Paris School of Economics

  • Sylvain Riffé Stern – 01 80 52 17 09 – sylvain.riffe