CRI Research in brief
CRI Research Collaboratory is a research unit of INSERM and University of Paris (UMR U1284), working at the crossroads of life, learning, and digital sciences.

Founded in the spirit of facilitating the transition from closed scientific enquiry to a more open model we aim to transcending barriers between disciplines, science and the society.

We foster research at crossroads between interdisciplinary life and health sciences, basic understanding of learning processes and novel education technology/methodology testing and implementation, and digital sciences.

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Monday, February 24, 2020
11:30 AM
CRI Research Collaboratory seminar - Gourmey
Reinventing meat

Gourmey Team (French Startup hosted at CRI)

At Gourmey, we are tackling on of the most urgent problems of our time: the negative impact of meat production on our environment, humans and non-human animals. We develop a radically new method to obtain meat, by producing it directly from animal cells, without having to raise and slaughter animals. We will present what we have been working on and introduce the team that is making it possible.

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Thursday, February 27, 2020
5:30 PM
Network Seminar - J-P Cointet: The structure of the French media space and the Yellow vest movement

This network seminar will be given by Jean-philippe Cointet from Sciences Po Media Lab!

Title: The structure of the French media space and the Yellow vest movement

Abstract: I will start by outlining the main results of the structural description of the French media sphere we are working on at médialab. We are collecting data at two distinct levels of the media system: the daily publication of articles by the 400 main news outlets, and the interactions that these articles incite (citations to media sources) on Twitter. The morphology of the media space that is emerging is characterized by a very high concentration of authority (particularly visible in the distribution of hypertext links) and a rather limited ideological polarization. This first result is in stark contrast with the structure of the media space as observed in the United States. We will finally consider how this organization is being challenged at another layer of the public space: conversations on Facebook. We will show, in particular, how Yellow Vests group pages redistribute order between the different media.

Bio: Jean-Philippe Cointet is working at the Sciences Po médialab, where he designs innovative computational sociology methods. He is specialized in text analysis, and is working on various kinds of corpora and sources questioning their socio-political dynamics. His research areas are diverse, ranging from social media analysis (Facebook public posts and comments) to science of science (data turn in oncology)or political processes mapping (political discourses, international negotiations) and frame analysis (press coverage of migration processes). He also participates in developing the CorText platform. He holds a PhD in Complex Systems and was trained as an engineer at Ecole Polytechnique. He is also affiliated with the research center INCITE, from Columbia University.

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Monday, March 2, 2020
11:30 AM
CRI Research Collaboratory seminar - Pauline Provini
How bird biomechanics can help to produce more efficient vocal prosthetics ?

Pauline Provini - CRI Research

We share remarkable similarities with birds. Among them, bipedalism and complex language are two traits often seen as human specificities, yet also present in birds. In my project, I want to focus on birdsong to build a new generation of vocal prostheses. Patients suffering from an advanced stage of laryngeal cancer often have to undergo a total surgical removal of the larynx, which is the human voice source. Our voice is used to communicate but also defines our identity. Thus, a voice alteration or a complete speech loss can cause emotional and social issues. To recover the ability to speak, a prosthesis, mimicking the vocal folds, is usually placed between the trachea and the oesophagus. The exhaled air crosses a vibrating element and produces a substitute voice. Unfortunately, the created voice is of poor quality: it is weak, with a low fundamental frequency. In addition, the limited lifetime of the devices, due to biofilm coming from mucus/material interactions, forces a frequent device replacement. To date, there is no voice prosthesis lasting more than 3 months and able to reconstruct a natural-sounding human voice. In this context, birds should attract attention. First, their vocal repertoire is incredibly diverse, with pitch spanning from 100 to 12 000 Hz, compared to only 85 to 255 Hz in human speech. Moreover, the unique structure of their vocal organ, the syrinx, allows the production of sounds from the vibration of membranes, located in the wall of the syrinx. Thus, unlike in mammals, the air is flowing through the vocal tract without crossing any structures. The accurate biological and physical experimental data I want to gather will feed a predictive aero-acoustic model to understand cause-effect relationships between shape, motions, and produced sounds in birds. It will provide the necessary elements to design and prototype more durable and efficient prostheses, which will produce voices that will sound more humane. 

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020
11:30 AM
CRI Research Collaboratory seminar - Gert-Jan Both
Deep learning driven model discovery in biology and physics

Gert-Jan Both - CRI

As scientific data sets become richer and increasingly complex, machine learning (ML) tools become more useful and widely applied. Discovering a mechanistic model, rather than predicting the outcome is paramount in the scientific endeavor and its lack in present day ML is limiting further integration of ML in quantitative science. In this talk I will present our development of quantitative tools to extract human interpretable models from quantitative biological and physical data sets. The work combines the predictive power of neural networks with the interpretability of symbolic regression to develop a framework of interpretable AI and discover mechanistic models from biological and physical data.

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Thursday, March 19, 2020
6:00 PM
Motivation and academic performance - Martjin Meeter VU Amsterdam


It seems a truism that to learn, you must want to learn. Motivation, and the lack thereof, has therefore been a perennial focus of both educational research and teacher gripes. However, does it merit its central place? Here, I will discuss two reasons to put it on less of a pedestal, and two reasons to care even more about it than we currently do.

About the speaker

Martijn Meeter is a professor of education sciences at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands. Since 2015 he has served as director of the LEARN research institute (until 2019) and of the teacher training program at Vrije Universiteit. His research focuses on learning, using traditional methods of education research as well as techniques drawn from cognitive neuroscience, such as computational modelling and EEG. He has also studied clinical populations and conducted surveys in several African countries.

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Monday, April 27, 2020
11:30 AM
CRI Research seminar - Kirstie Whitaker – Participatory citizen science to improve autistic people's lives
Participatory citizen science to improve autistic people's lives

by Kirstie Whitaker

Autistica and the Alan Turing Institute are working together to build a participatory, citizen science platform to gather data on how sensory processing affects autistic people’s navigation of the world. Numerous studies have confirmed that autistic people experience sensory processing differences, and that this can significantly impact their lives. One aspect which is not yet fully understood is how these differences affect the ways in which autistic people navigate different environments. In this talk, I will showcase the team's process of building a project that is participatory from the ground up. We ensure that all aspects of the project are designed and developed in collaboration with members of the autistic community through focus groups and user testing in the design phase. In close collaborations with the Open Humans community, we are developing a platform for which the software, design, process and governance documentation are all open source.

We give the individual contributors control over how their data is used on the platform. Flipping the traditional scientific study on its head, our goal is to give a voice to autistic citizen scientists and educate neurotypical people. We seek to empower everyone in supporting autistic people and their families in living long, healthy, happy lives. Combining open science, participatory design, transparent governance, inclusive community management, and collaborations across academia, industry and the third sector requires a diverse, interdisciplinary community of contributors.

CRI audience members will leave knowing how they can join the team and contribute to the project that same day, starting from information at our website and GitHub repository, or reuse the processes we've developed for their own citizen science research.


Kirstie Whitaker is a research fellow at the Alan Turing Institute (London, UK) and senior research associate in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. Her work covers a broad range of interests and methods, but the driving principle is to improve the lives of neurodivergent people and people with mental health conditions. Dr Whitaker uses magnetic resonance imaging to study child and adolescent brain development and participatory citizen science to educate non-autistic people about how they can better support autistic friends and colleagues.

She is the lead developer of The Turing Way, an openly developed educational resource to enable more reproducible data science. Kirstie is a passionate advocate for making science "open for all" by promoting equity and inclusion for people from diverse backgrounds, and by changing the academic incentive structure to reward collaborative working.

She is the chair of the Turing Institute's Ethics Advisory Group, a Fulbright scholarship alumna and was a 2016/17 Mozilla Fellow for Science. Kirstie was named, with her collaborator Petra Vertes, as a 2016 Global Thinker by Foreign Policy magazine. You can find more information at her lab website:

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