IHES Annual Report 2020 | 7
A WORD FROM THE DIRECTOR
2020, a year marked by the pandemic, was a strange one for the Institut des Hautes Études Scientifiques, on several counts.Following the announcement in March of the first lockdown, the work of IHES changed drastically. Overnight, working from home became the norm. Offices, meeting rooms and lecture halls were emptied. Ormaille residents had to make alternative arrangements, with the Institute s help, and some of them decided to extend their stay as it was difficult to travel abroad.
All members of staff, both administrative and scientific, whom I would like to thank here, quickly adapted to this new and unprecedented situation. A number of events were canceled or postponed, conferences and seminars had to be held online and many research visits were abandoned. The Board of Directors and the Scientific Council also met via videoconference.
Once all staff were equipped to work from home and able to carry out their activities in the best conditions possible, the Institute took all necessary measures to prepare for its progressive re-opening in May. Hand sanitizer was made available, social distancing rules were strictly enforced and masks were distributed to all those who were on site.
Today, the number of people physically at the Institute is still low, as remote working generally remains the rule, depending on restrictions. At the moment, no tea is being served, which is one of the Institute s most popular moments for interaction. And the cafeteria now serves meals on trays, so that everyone can have their lunch at a reasonable distance.
The Institute took the opportunity of events being held online and there being fewer visitors to undertake important renovation and insulation work, both at Bois-Marie and Ormaille. The optimization of operational costs, building modernization contributing to a broader sustainable development strategy and further improved infrastructures for researchers are some of the benefits expected.
The move contributes to the attractivity of IHES and more generally to that of Université Paris-Saclay, which was launched officially in January 2020 and of which IHES is a founder member. It was against a backdrop of pandemic that the Institute and all its partners celebrated the excellent results achieved by Université Paris-Saclay in the Shanghai rankings.
It was an opportunity to take the measure of progress achieved together over the past ten years, and to fully prepare for the next ten, taking into account all the lessons learned together, including in 2020.
EMMANUEL ULLMO IHES Director