Académie des technologies

Editorial by Denis Ranque, President of the National Academy of Technologies of France

It gives me great pleasure to present to you our academy’s Activity Report for the year 2022. We wanted this report to be a reflection of what our academy is: diverse, committed and open.

Our academy boasts of 360 members, who come from varied backgrounds and paths – the world of industry, teaching and research, and are selected and elected by their peers. Our competence and independence are based on this diversity and on the collective and meticulously framed nature of our work. Finally, our gender diversity is increasing, with more than 40% women being elected over the last two years. We are primarily committed to accomplishing our mission, which is to provide insight and support to public authorities and citizens on matters pertaining to technologies in the pursuit of the general interest, for their full understanding and adoption. Our motto is: “Sharing a reasoned, chosen progress”. This commitment is reflected in the considerable work of our academicians, all of whom are volunteers, and who carry out all of our work and draft our documents. They are supported by a small permanent team, whose competence and dedication I greatly commend.

Our openness is manifested in our organisation, around 9 sections focused on the needs and challenges of our society, like climate change, the digital revolution, food and health challenges, all of which are explained in detail in Chapter 1. It leads us to publish almost all of our work, and to spread it far and wide to the various stakeholders. In 2022, we also undertook to translate our thematic plenary sessions into reports that are published on our website. We have also created a new cycle called “Les soirées de l’Académie des technologies (Evenings at the National Academy of Technologies of France)”. It facilitates exchanges at a later hour with one or more academicians who share their knowledge and passion on the subject of their choice. For 2023, we have decided to go a step further and invite our partners to participate in
these sessions.

A priority is to increase the impact of our work with the Government and the Administration, in order to shed light on their policies supporting innovation, which, today, have considerable resources. A major step was taken in this direction when our Academy was asked, by the competent administrations, to provide long-term consulting support to the vast programme of France 2030 Plan. The initial significant
contributions were made on small nuclear reactors, digital clouds, electronic components and photovoltaic panels. All of them seek, with total independence, to offer clear choices, based on a realistic assessment of the French situation of the sector, and practical avenues of technological and industrial development, within the reach of our country and our Europe. These opinions are intended to be made public after a period of examination by our sponsoring bodies. This new component of our mission will represent a significant portion of our future work.

Another important project in 2022, an undertaking for which we have been preparing for several years, was to host the world convention of academies of engineering and technologies, on the subject of breakthrough technologies for healthcare.

Finally, a common theme of the past year was the preparation and holding of our annual seminar on the subject of sufficiency. It will lead to a publication in 2023, expressing the conviction that technology alone will not be able to address all of humanity’s challenges: our behaviour and consumption patterns will also have to change to satisfy the “right need” to make the best use of our planet’s limited resources, thereby allowing for the sustainable pursuit of human development at its most fundamental level.

Download NATF Activity report 2022