Established in 2010 on a federative basis as a scientific interest group (groupement d'intérêt scientifique - GIS) by three founding partners (Université Paris 1, Université Paris Diderot, CNRS) and by institutional partners attesting to the importance of the applied dimension of territorial sciences: DATAR (today ANCT), IAU-îdF (today Institut Paris Region) and ADEME, joined by INED and IRD, the International College of Territorial Sciences (CIST) became on January 1st, 2017 the CNRS FR2007 research federation gathering today 25 équipes de recherche.

Its objectives are to: contribute to formalising and organising this interdisciplinary field , in France and internationally, especially Europe; bring together research units working on territories; strengthen the national network of teams involved; boost their synergies (themes, methods, equipment and databases, responses to calls for tender, research dissemination events, etc.); and develop the interface between research and education (joint online courses, participation in themed digital universities, project for an international master’s degree in territorial sciences involving the universities of Paris, Besançon, Lausanne, Luxembourg, Louvain-la-Neuve, Metz, Trier, etc.).

The CIST is a high-level research and training tool (masters and doctorate) focused on territories. It is interdisciplinary: geographers, economists, sociologists and demographers, historians, lawyers, archaeologists, multidisciplinary teams or programmes. It is connected to life and earth sciences, engineering sciences and health, around 7 structuring research themes :

  • Actions & Territorialisations (A&T)
  • Local Territorial Information (INFTER)
  • Medias and Territories (MEDIA)
  • Mobilities, Identities and Territories (MIT)
  • Territories on the Long Run (PAST)
  • Regionalisations, Globalisations, Circulations (REMOC)
  • Territories and Health (SANTE)

CIST possesses a vast international network especially in Europe.
Several research teams that are members of CIST are involved in European research programmes in networks or contracts (FPs, Interreg, ESPON, EEA, European Commission, European Parliament) and thus benefit from the support of UMS RIATE. These international research relations are coupled with co-accreditations at Master’s level, creating a highly structured network with other universities in and outside Europe.
CIST currently concerns 250 research lecturers and researchers (of whom 90 supervise research), 80 technical and administrative engineers and ancillary staff and over 300 PhD students, making it an ambitious group for scientific exchange that connects territorial research networks in Ile-de-France (Paris region) with those in the rest of the country, Europe and the world.

CIST is also capable of carrying out applied research linked to social demand. Its teams interact with professionals working on land use, the environment and the sustainable development of territories. The involvement of its institutional partners guarantees effective interaction between research on territories, social demand and professional practices (e.g. applied science, studies, advice to general entrepreneurs, career prospects for PhD students, etc.).