16 septembre Wherefore to Exelmans? Because it is within walking distance of the CNRS “campus” at Michel-Ange of course, where I am due to attend a day long event hosted by the TGE Adonis. Rather like a JISC town meeting, or an EU pre-proposal briefing, the main purpose was partly to inform people about the latest ANR Call for proposals and also of course to present the services offered by the TGE Adonis for the use of such projects. Not surprisingly it was a well subscribed event : between 150 and 200 people turned up, handed in their identity cards (security is strict at the CNRS campus) and made for the coffee and croissants. I met lots of people I know and recognised, and also some I knew but failed to recognise, embarassingly enough. There were lots of the kind of intense conversations you tend to get in academic contexts when there’s money in the air. Patrice Bordelais assured us that the overall budget of the Institut des SHS would not be too much affected by current financial anxieties, and then apologised for having to rush off to a crisis budget meeting to discuss precisely how much they would be. Jean-Claude Rabier, from the ANR, gave a much longer talk about the thinking behind this “ANR Corpus” call, the first since 2007, what they were looking for, how to get funded, what to do and not to do, how much money was on the table, etc. This was what the punters had come for, and he was listened to very attentively. Laurent Doucet talked about the TGIR Corpus which I found interesting since I have been wondering what it is for for some time. Apparently, it will set up lots of subject-focussed consortia, with small amounts of money for meetings, sharing of expertise, training etc. One or two already exist, and more are planned. Are they like the “centres de ressources numeriques” of the TGE Adonis? You might think so, but they’re not, even though some of the same people and institutions are involved in both. Jean-Luc Pinol, Richard Walter, and Laurence Rageot then each spoke about the services offered by the TGE-ADONIS (grille de service, Isidore, archivage perenne etc) and its guides de bonnes pratiques, with a quick plugf also for next month’s ANGD summer school. Asked to be “ponctuelle” in their questions before lunch, some of the audience (notably Serge Woliakowsky) nevertheless threw some googlies, such as “how does this relate to other european initiatives?” or “is there any procedure for automatically enhancing data capture to meet the recommended norms?” or even “what about the Centres de Ressources Numeriques then?”
And so to an excellent buffet lunch and a reprise of intense conversations as above (I mostly learned about Marie-Luce Demonot’s new proposed consortium called Cahier, focussing on literary texts) followed in the afternoon by a briefing on some technical aspects of the Grille de Service, followed by more questions and discussions from the floor. I noted the following comments: yes, multidisciplinary (i.e. not just SHS) projects would be considered; no, there is no charge for the TGE’s services, unless you want more than we are funded to provide, and no, the ANR does not fund anything except “research”; yes there will be another call; at least one-third of the members of the selection panel are “international” (i.e. non-French) experts; 4% of the ANR overall budget is allocated to infrastructural support (I think this is how one might calculate the level of support that the TGE is “funded to provide”), which is why management costs for individual projects should not be claimed. Finally, Patrice Bourdelais reappeared from his own budgetary meerings, re-assured us that the CNRS had plenty of lawyers to defend its interests and said “pour l’instant y a pas de catastrophe”, which is probably as much as one might hope for in these days of ubqiuitous financial deficiency. So the meeting broke up very agreeably, and I reclaimed my passport and headed for the Eurostar.