The Nano, EXtreme measurements & Theory (NEXT) project implicates six laboratories on the Toulouse campus (within a 1.5 kilometer radius), working at the frontier of knowledge in the domains of nanophysics and nanochemistry, condensed and soft matter physics, optics, and atomic/cluster physics. It involves on the same site the main French research organism (CNRS), a leading scientific university (Université Paul Sabatier UPS), and a “Grande École”/engineering school hosting a strong research department (INSA Toulouse).
NEXT comprise 186 permanent scientists (a good balance between CNRS and UPS/INSA researchers), 89 engineers/technicians, and ~160 PhD students/postdocs, and encompasses the entire community of fundamental physics in Toulouse. An original aspect of the NEXT project should be noted: almost one quarter of NEXT staff consists of chemists, who are perfectly integrated in their respective laboratories and work hand-in-hand with physicists. Another specificity of NEXT is the strong interplay between experimental and theoretical teams (3 out of the 4 experimental laboratories include theorists, 2 are well-recognized theoretical laboratories in physics and chemistry). NEXT is involved in different scientific fields of physics:
Most of the operations undertaken by NEXT aim to develop new scientific axes, to exploit complementary expertise and to connect different domains of research within ambitious, original, but consistent and realistic scientific projects. In addition, the six laboratories of NEXT are associated with a doctoral school (Sciences de la Matière), and NEXT scientists are strongly involved at the Master and doctoral level. NEXT plans to offer Master scholarships for foreign students, and to develop the Training Center in Nanosciences and online Master training. At the PhD level, NEXT will promote the interactions with the private sector, by giving access to PhD students to the “Doctoriales” (a week-long seminar to facilitate the integration in the private sector), and by promoting a two-months internships in high-tech companies and funding exchange programs during PhD thesis. Scientific achievements of NEXT are also exploited through a strong interaction with the private sector, patent filings, conference organization, and publications in high quality journals.