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Institut polytechnique de Grenoble

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Grenoble Institute of Technology : 100 years of history

Updated on April 24, 2017
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The story began in the winter of 1892 when a young lecturer called Paul JANET launched the first public industrial electricity lecture in Grenoble. A few months later, after a very warm reception, several leading local industrialists and aristocrats pushed the science faculty to permanently establish an Electrical Engineering Institute in Grenoble...

The Institute was initially headed up by Joseph PIONCHON, and further developed under the leadership of Louis BARBILLION, whose ambition was to set up a technology university for the whole south eastern region of France, by adding new specialties on top of electrical engineering.

Paul Janet : fondateur de l'Institut d'electrotechnique Grenoble          Joseph Pionchon : 1er directeur Institut d'électrotechnique          Louis Barbillion : directeur institut électrotechnique Grenoble

Paul Janet, Joseph Pionchon and Louis Barbillion

1907, papermaking school

The papermaking school, established in 1907 by the French Union of Papermakers, was annexed to the electronic institute, forming a "polytechnic". Teaching in the Institute diversified in the 1920s, with courses on electricity, electrochemistry and electrometallurgy, hydraulics, industrial physics, practical mechanics and materials resistance. Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble During this time, studies in hydraulics and mechanics and later electrochemistry and electrometallurgy, started to develop. This is when the name "Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble" was given, to refer to the whole school, offering all-round engineering courses, specialist options, laboratories and teaching on various applied sciences. As industrial demands became clearer in the 1920s, the training courses developed and the IEE (electrochemistry and electrometallurgy institute) and EIH (hydraulic engineering school) were set up. In 1928, L. Barbillion handed over the reins to René Gosse, who used his managerial skills and large relational network to continue Grenoble's scientific development. In spite of the economic crises in the 30's, major construction projects were undertaken, giving the Institute new opportunities for expansion.

Cours de TP à l'Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble           Cours en amphi à l'Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble

Under his leadership and, later that of Félix ESCLANGON and  Louis NEEL, new departments were established in the fields of radio engineering, nuclear engineering, IT and applied mathematics. In 1947, the Institute was given the French government title of "Ecole supérieure d'ingénieur" and was linked to the University of Grenoble.

Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble, a university

Louis Néel, the first Grenoble Institute of Technology presidentLed by Louis NÉEL, the Institut Polytechnique was accredited as a university in December 1970, to become the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble (Grenoble Institute of Technology), an organization covering six engineering schools:  
EFPG, ENSEEG, ENSERG, ENSHMG, ENSIEG, and ENSIMAG. Two other ITs were founded, in Nancy and Toulouse.
In the same year, Louis NEEL, the first Grenoble Institute of Technology president, was awarded the Nobel prize for physics.

Further schools were established as technology, industry and business developed. The desire was always to meet industry's requirements. The physics school  ENSPG was established in 1985, and the industrial engineering school ENSGI in 1990, the first time social sciences were covered in a conventional scientific curriculum.  

Further courses were set up in collaboration with other universities; such as the  Preparatory Courses for entry into engineering schools, and a 9th school ESISAR teaching "embedded" systems. ESISAR, established in partnership with the Valence and Drome Chamber of Commerce, is the first Grenoble Institute of Technology "satellite" school. 
A Telecommunication Department was set up in 1999, run jointly by ENSERG and ENSIMAG, and in response to industrial groups working on micro and nanotechnologies, Grenoble Institute of Technology launched the Nanotech Master course in 2004.

Grenoble Institute of Technology's research laboratories and industrial relations enable it to remain at the forefront of innovation and take a leading role in the modern world. With 100 years of history behind it, the institute is still on the cutting edge of worldwide developments, with major projects such as the  Minatec micro and nanotechnology cluster and the  Minalogic (Grenoble Isère software micro and nanotechnologies) and Tenerrdis (industrial and research cluster for renewable energies in Rhône-Alpes region and for the development of new energetical technologies) industrial clusters.

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Date of update April 24, 2017

Univ. Grenoble Alpes