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1971-2021: 50 years of history of the Institute for Research in Education (IREDU)

The establishment of IREDU

Jean-Claude Eicher, professor of Economics and Management at the University of Burgundy set up in 1967 a research group for studying education costs and making up for the gap in economics of education research between France and the Anglo-Saxon world. IREDU, the Institute for Research in the Economics of Education, is formally established on May 13, 1971 through a deliberation of the council of the Faculty of Economics and Management. In 1972 it becomes an associate laboratory of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). The initial team of four CNRS junior researchers in economics (Serge Cuenin, Benoit Millot, Alain Mingat, François Orivel) is extended at the end of the 70’s by the recruitment of four more CNRS staff.

The founder of IREDU

In the end of the 1950’s, Jean-Claude Eicher has been associated with the birth of the economics of education while studying in Chicago under the guidance of Theodore Schultz (who later won the Nobel Prize of economics). Back in France he took a PhD with a dissertation on consumption analysis and published in 1960 in the Revue d’Economie Politique, his first contribution to the economics of education with a paper on returns to human investment in the USA. When IREDU was established in 1971, he became its first director and steered its scientific development until 1985 when François Orivel took over. During a brillant academic career, he was involved in countless research initiatives in France as well as in Europe and in the world. He developed a broad interest in all sectors of education and initiated the first University Teacher Training Institute in Burgundy. Until his death in 2003, aged 75, he remained active in research.

A 50 years research track

The first research projects of IREDU funded by the CNRS dealt with costs, finance and returns in education. Jointly conducted with other researchers such as Louis Lévy-Garboua of CREDOC, they laid the foundations for the French National Education Account and informed the first international conferences organised by the institute from 1974. In 1974, IREDU becomes an associate research centre of the CNRS and, the following year an associate centre of CEREQ, the French National Centre for Research on Professional Qualifications. With this partner, in line with some early research, the institute investigated the value of the various academic qualifications on the national and regional labour markets and contributed to the creation of the National Employment Register.

IREDU soon began to build cooperation with international organisations such as the World Bank, the OECD or UNESCO. Such cooperation, rather novel at the time, enabled it to get a wider scientific audience in the field of research on education, to create lasting scientific links and to secure valuable positions to many of its research students.

The 1980’s IREDU opened new research tracks combining economic methodology with sociological approaches to evaluation of the education process. This combined approach, illustrated among others by path breaking publications of Alain Mingat and Marie Duru-Bellat, rapidly became the hallmark of the institute.

This period marks a change in the disciplinary composition of the research staff, with a shift from Economics to Sociology and Education. In 1994, IREDU is transformed from an Economics research unit of the CNRS into a joint research centre of the CNRS and the University of Burgundy and Jean Bourdon is appointed head. In 2000 this dual disciplinary nature is fully recognized by the CNRS. This shift is further acknowledged under Jean-Jacques Paul, appointed head in 2001, when, in 2003, IREDU changes its official name into “Research Institute on Education: Economics and Sociology of Education”. In the same year, the institute moves to a new building, shared with Psychology research units and the Sociology department. Bruno Suchaut is appointed head in 2007, Jean-François Giret in 2012, joined by Sophie Morlaix as deputy head in 2018.

From the beginning of the 2000’s, relations of IREDU with the CNRS worsen since this institution does not fund research in education that had become the scientific field of the majority of the institute’s researchers. In 2014, the institute looses it affiliation with the CNRS and becomes part of the National Institute for Teaching and Education (INSPE), a wide School of Education of the University of Burgundy.

After the death of its founder, Jean-Claude Eicher, in 2003,  IREDU supported his family in the establishment in his memory of a foundation “for the development of the economics of education” for the purpose of encouraging quantitative research in the field of education. The foundation funds a prize for promising young PhDs that was awarded to Magali Jaoul-Grammare (2006), Nadir Altinok (2008), Xavier Pons (2010), Nelly Rakoto Tiana (2012), Samuel Charmillot (2014) and Léonard Moulin (2017).

IREDU today

IREDU presently conducts research primarily in the fields of economics and sociology of education and training with a focus on quantitative methods. Its research project consists of two strands.

The first strand centres on the issue of academic success of pupils and students. It aims at a better understanding how inequalities arise among them during the whole of their school career and how public policies can contribute to reducing them.

The second strand is a continuation of previous research on the relation of education and training to employment, with a special interest on the role of the process of school and vocational guidance. Part of such investigations is conducted in cooperation with the Céreq (Centre d’Études et de Recherches sur les Qualifications).

Composition of the institute

The team brings together 14 academic staff (4 professors and 10 lecturers) teaching in several departments of the University (teacher training, education, educational management and sports), 5 contractual research officers and 2 administrative staff (a librarian and a secretary). An associate professor, a teaching assistant and 4 professors emeritus also take part in various research projects of the institute.

IREDU hosts 20 doctoral students of the Social Sciences Doctoral School of the University (SEPT).

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The establishment of IREDU

Jean-Claude Eicher, professor of Economics and Management at the University of Burgundy set up in 1967 a research group for studying education costs and making up for the gap in economics of education research between France and the Anglo-Saxon world. IREDU, the Institute for Research in the Economics of Education, is formally established on May 13, 1971 through a deliberation of the council of the Faculty of Economics and Management. In 1972 it becomes an associate laboratory of the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). The initial team of four CNRS junior researchers in economics (Serge Cuenin, Benoit Millot, Alain Mingat, François Orivel) is extended at the end of the 70’s by the recruitment of four more CNRS staff.

The founder of IREDU

In the end of the 1950’s, Jean-Claude Eicher has been associated with the birth of the economics of education while studying in Chicago under the guidance of Theodore Schultz (who later won the Nobel Prize of economics). Back in France he took a PhD with a dissertation on consumption analysis and published in 1960 in the Revue d’Economie Politique, his first contribution to the economics of education with a paper on returns to human investment in the USA. When IREDU was established in 1971, he became its first director and steered its scientific development until 1985 when François Orivel took over. During a brillant academic career, he was involved in countless research initiatives in France as well as in Europe and in the world. He developed a broad interest in all sectors of education and initiated the first University Teacher Training Institute in Burgundy. Until his death in 2003, aged 75, he remained active in research.

A 50 years research track

The first research projects of IREDU funded by the CNRS dealt with costs, finance and returns in education. Jointly conducted with other researchers such as Louis Lévy-Garboua of CREDOC, they laid the foundations for the French National Education Account and informed the first international conferences organised by the institute from 1974. In 1974, IREDU becomes an associate research centre of the CNRS and, the following year an associate centre of CEREQ, the French National Centre for Research on Professional Qualifications. With this partner, in line with some early research, the institute investigated the value of the various academic qualifications on the national and regional labour markets and contributed to the creation of the National Employment Register.

IREDU soon began to build cooperation with international organisations such as the World Bank, the OECD or UNESCO. Such cooperation, rather novel at the time, enabled it to get a wider scientific audience in the field of research on education, to create lasting scientific links and to secure valuable positions to many of its research students.

The 1980’s IREDU opened new research tracks combining economic methodology with sociological approaches to evaluation of the education process. This combined approach, illustrated among others by path breaking publications of Alain Mingat and Marie Duru-Bellat, rapidly became the hallmark of the institute.

This period marks a change in the disciplinary composition of the research staff, with a shift from Economics to Sociology and Education. In 1994, IREDU is transformed from an Economics research unit of the CNRS into a joint research centre of the CNRS and the University of Burgundy and Jean Bourdon is appointed head. In 2000 this dual disciplinary nature is fully recognized by the CNRS. This shift is further acknowledged under Jean-Jacques Paul, appointed head in 2001, when, in 2003, IREDU changes its official name into “Research Institute on Education: Economics and Sociology of Education”. In the same year, the institute moves to a new building, shared with Psychology research units and the Sociology department. Bruno Suchaut is appointed head in 2007, Jean-François Giret in 2012, joined by Sophie Morlaix as deputy head in 2018.

From the beginning of the 2000’s, relations of IREDU with the CNRS worsen since this institution does not fund research in education that had become the scientific field of the majority of the institute’s researchers. In 2014, the institute looses it affiliation with the CNRS and becomes part of the National Institute for Teaching and Education (INSPE), a wide School of Education of the University of Burgundy.

After the death of its founder, Jean-Claude Eicher, in 2003,  IREDU supported his family in the establishment in his memory of a foundation “for the development of the economics of education” for the purpose of encouraging quantitative research in the field of education. The foundation funds a prize for promising young PhDs that was awarded to Magali Jaoul-Grammare (2006), Nadir Altinok (2008), Xavier Pons (2010), Nelly Rakoto Tiana (2012), Samuel Charmillot (2014) and Léonard Moulin (2017).

IREDU today

IREDU presently conducts research primarily in the fields of economics and sociology of education and training with a focus on quantitative methods. Its research project consists of two strands.

The first strand centres on the issue of academic success of pupils and students. It aims at a better understanding how inequalities arise among them during the whole of their school career and how public policies can contribute to reducing them.

The second strand is a continuation of previous research on the relation of education and training to employment, with a special interest on the role of the process of school and vocational guidance. Part of such investigations is conducted in cooperation with the Céreq (Centre d’Études et de Recherches sur les Qualifications).

Composition of the institute

The team brings together 14 academic staff (4 professors and 10 lecturers) teaching in several departments of the University (teacher training, education, educational management and sports), 5 contractual research officers and 2 administrative staff (a librarian and a secretary). An associate professor, a teaching assistant and 4 professors emeritus also take part in various research projects of the institute.

IREDU hosts 20 doctoral students of the Social Sciences Doctoral School of the University (SEPT).

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