The International College of Territorial Sciences (CIST) was created in 2010 in the form of a scientific interest group (groupe d’intérêt scientifique – GIS) by three founding partners (Paris 1 University, Paris Diderot University, CNRS) along with institutional partners convinced of the importance of the applied dimension of territorial sciences: DATAR (today ANCT), IAU-îdF (today Institut Paris Region) and ADEME, later joined by INED and IRD. As of the 1st of January 2017, it became a CNRS research federation, FR2007. It now involves 27 research teams.

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 (and before of European GDR S4. 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 offers the guarantee of a good interaction between research on territories, social demand and professional practices (applied sciences, studies, advice to general contractors, career opportunities for doctoral students, etc.).