Research units

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The Université Catholique de Lille has developed a number of research units and chairs that contribute to the advancement of knowledge and innovation in various fields. These entities are centres of excellence that bring together researchers, students and external partners to meet the scientific, technological and societal challenges of our time.

Here are a few examples of the research environment at the Université Catholique de Lille.

Key figures

  • 220 teacher-researchers and researchers (individuals)
  • 1 department for the promotion and internationalisation of research and doctoral studies
  • 4 platforms and resource centres for research
  • 1 scientific council comprising the directors and heads of the ICL’s research units
  • 6 research units, 5 of which are part of the École Doctorale Polytechnique Hauts-de-France: C3RD, ESPOL-LAB, ETHICS EA 7446, LITL and MUSE
  • 3 subject units (law, political science, theology)
  • 3 thematic units (humanities, ethics, sustainable city)
  • Individual affiliations with Textes et Cultures (EA 4028), Centre de Recherches Interdisciplinaires en Langue Anglaise (EA 4639), Unité de Taphonomie Médico-Légale (EA 7367), Centre d’infection et d’immunité de Lille (UMR CNRS 8204), CRISTAL laboratory (UMR CNRS 9189), (UMR CNRS 7192) and DE VISU laboratory (EA 2445).

Research Units

C3RD: Centre de Recherche sur les Relations entre les Risques et Le Droit (Faculty of Law)

C3RD is the Faculty of Law’s research unit. Created in 2006, it now has over 50 members, the vast majority of whom are lawyers (private law and criminal sciences, public law, legal history), as well as a number of political scientists and economists. It has 11 doctoral students. Its research is therefore primarily concerned with legal sciences specialising in the relationship between risk and the law. The laboratory’s scientific ambition is to identify the consequences of integrating the concept of risk into the development of law, as well as to study how the law can respond to the emergence of risks, whatever their nature (technological, health, safety, environmental, social, etc.).



The aim is also to analyse how the legal rule (or lack of it) can itself generate certain risks, essentially linked to legal insecurity. C3RD’s research is structured around two main themes, using multidisciplinary approaches to ensure an original scientific analysis:


Risk Management through Law ;


The Risks of Law.


Through the prism of the relationship between law and risk, the aim is in fact to reflect on the way in which the law, as a regulatory standard, is sometimes given the prerogatives of a tool rather than a repository of values, or vice versa. Three research chairs are associated with C3RD: the Ethical Law and Digital Health Chair (with ETHICS EA 7446), the Compliance, ESG & Sustainability Reporting Chair (with LITL) and the Children and Families Chair.

ESPOL-LAB: European School of Political and Social Sciences (ESPOL)

ESPOL-LAB is the ESPOL Research Unit. It brings together a team set up in 2012, currently comprising 29 members, including 3 doctoral students. Politics is its central object of investigation and analysis. Questions about the boundaries of politics and the relationship between politics and life in society are at the heart of ESPOL-LAB’s scientific project. What is the real scope of political decision-making? What drives it? To what extent does politics (still) refer to the ways in which societies are regulated? Should it? The apparent fragility of the contemporary state, accentuated by the breakdown of identity-based allegiances, the increasing globalisation of economies and the emergence of new forms of violence and governance, underlines the difficulty of organising social relations and giving meaning to living together.



However, while the modern state may no longer appear to be the exclusive framework within which common rules are developed and transformed, it nonetheless retains an unrivalled appeal and a capacity to guide and organise the future of societies. In this context, ESPOL-LAB aims to shed light on the processes of political decision-making, their normative foundations and the constraints to which they are subject, as well as the constantly changing relationship with territory and violence, by drawing on a team in which the main sub-fields of political science (public policy, international relations, comparative politics, history of political ideas, political theory) are represented. To this end, ESPOL-LAB’s research is structured around three thematic areas, all of which aim to examine contemporary transformations in politics:


Quality of democracy ;


International reconfigurations ;


Politics of the Anthropocene.


Europe is a structuring dimension of the research conducted at ESPOL, present in each of the three thematic areas.

ETHICS EA 7446: Experience, Technology & Human Interactions, Care & Society

More than four decades of experience in ethics research at the University led to the creation of the ETHICS EA 7446 (Experience, Technology & Human Interactions, Care & Society) research unit in 2016, with the aim of developing a comprehensive, scientific, multidisciplinary and multi-methodological approach to human beings, human and social interactions and behaviour, and the ethical issues they raise. With a strong link to empirical and contextual approaches (Experience), which respond to and feed off theoretical and fundamental questions, the Research Unit is addressing the major issues associated with the stability and transformations of the contemporary world.



Particular attention is paid to the role played by the tension between technological development and human interaction (Technology & Human Interactions) and to issues relating to the ‘care’ of people, society and the living (Care & Society). ETHICS EA 7446 is home to more than 100 teacher-researchers, researchers and university hospital staff, 11 doctoral students, and brings together around 15 different disciplines.


The unit brings together PIKTURA (School of Image), ISTC (School of Communication), ESSLIL (School of Social Sciences), FMMS (Faculty of Medicine, Maieutics and Health Sciences) and FLSH (Faculty of Humanities). ETHICS EA 7446 is also involved in the Sciences, Technosciences and Faith at a Time of Integral Ecology Chair (with Théologie & Société) and the Law, Ethics and Digital Health Chair (with C3RD).


LITL: Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire des Transitions de Lille (Faculty of Management, Economics and Science and JUNIA)

LITL is a research unit created in 2023. Co-sponsored by the Faculty of Management, Economics and Science, and by JUNIA, the Unit is made up of 50 teacher-researchers from the social sciences and engineering sciences, as well as 11 research engineers, engineers, project managers and technicians, and 3 PhD students. Its scientific project focuses on three main areas, broken down into three societal challenges:


  • The first area focuses on intelligent and communicating digital systems (security and protection of privacy; health and well-being; intelligent systems serving users).
  • The second area relates to environmental transitions and ecosystems (human-biodiversity interactions; rational use of natural resources; impact investment).
  • The last area concerns territories, towns and societies (agricultural systems and territories; behaviour, markets and consumption; towns and sustainable buildings).

LITL is involved in the Compliance, ESG & Sustainability Reporting Research Chair (with C3RD).

MUSE: Communication, Society, Environment (Faculty of Arts and Humanities)

The 44 teacher-researchers and doctoral students in the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences develop their research activities within two structures: on the one hand, the PSyCOS team (Social and Cognitive Processes in Organisations and Health), a member of ETHICS EA 7446, which brings together teacher-researchers in social psychology and cognitive neuroscience. In addition, the FLSH has its own multidisciplinary research unit, MUSE (Communication, Society, Environment), created in 2023. Bringing together 8 disciplines from the humanities and social sciences, MUSE aims to understand human beings through their environments and the heterogeneous evolution of societies.


The Research Unit is structured around 3 axes:

  • Axis 1 (Media, Texts, Images) studies the economic, socio-symbolic, cultural and ethical issues underlying the uses, representations, regulation and modes of operation of media devices and systems.
  • Axis 2 (Identities, Alterities, Cultures) focuses on the study and comparison of psychological, territorial, geographical, artistic and linguistic movements, with a particular emphasis on the question of identity and its construction, and its links with belonging.
  • Finally, the third theme (Emerging Worlds) is both a thematic theme and a Research Chair (CReME); its aim is to identify, analyse, compare and think about the categories, taxonomies and development trajectories involved, as well as the new expressions of power induced by the phenomenon of emergence and confirmed, invalidated or nuanced by current research.

ThéoS: Theology & Society (Faculty of Theology)

The Theology and Society Research Unit of the Faculty of Theology is made up of 15 teacher-researchers from the fields of theology, philosophy and religious studies, as well as 18 doctoral students. Research work focuses on three areas where disciplinary approaches interact: anthropology, ethics and integral ecology. The majority of the Unit’s teacher-researchers, who are involved in philosophy, exegesis, theology, ethics, the history of religions and the sciences of religions, and canon law, are integrated into the multidisciplinary thematic research group, “Vulnerabilities of the living? Theological and philosophical perspectives”.


In addition, two research networks are devoted to specific subjects and include researchers from a number of institutions in France and abroad: the first looks at the place of the animal in contemporary societies; the second focuses on genocide studies and holocaust studies.


Finally, two research chairs are attached to the FT: the Rodhain Chair and the Sciences, Technosciences and Faith at a Time of Integral Ecology Chair (with ETHICS EA 7446).

Find out about other Research Units at some of our institutions below:

Research chairs

As part of the MUSE research unit, the Emerging Worlds Research Chair has 12 professors with specific and complementary expertise in socio-(geo)political and cultural issues in Africa, Asia, South America and the post-Soviet world, as well as specific themes. The aim is to adopt a multidisciplinary scientific approach and a globalising approach. Under the direction of Eric MOTTET, the Chair is organised into five themes with porous boundaries which, by interacting with each other, aim to understand the major contemporary issues and challenges:

  • Contemporary Asian issues ;
  • Contemporary Africa ;
  • Today’s post-Soviet world ;
  • Latin America ;
  • Cultural, intercultural and Anthropocene representations

The Chair, supported by C3RD and LITL, is directed by Andra COTTIGA.

Its aim is to develop targeted expertise in corporate ethics, and more specifically in the area of compliance and sustainability reporting by listed and unlisted international companies. A key objective of the Chair is to meet the strong demand for training in these areas. A first training course, reserved for professionals, has therefore been launched: the DU International Compliance and Business Ethics.

The aim of the Jean Rodhain Chair, directed by Sophie IZOARD, is to develop teaching and research activities on the themes of solidarity and justice, in relation to Christian social thought. It comes under the umbrella of the Jean Rodhain Foundation, which promotes the emergence of a network of theologians and academics working from a specific angle and with charity as the point of entry in its capacity to respond and innovate to the problems of the contemporary world. As part of the Lille Chair, conferences, research seminars and fieldwork activities are held every year, and a partnership with ESSLIL, the School of Social Sciences, has been set up. The ethics of dignity is promoted as a central criterion for the critical evaluation of political, economic and social options, as well as a spiritual source for action.

Founded in 2021, the Chair of Science, Technology and Faith in the Age of Integral Ecology is directed by Thierry MAGNIN and Paulo RODRIGUES. Its aims are to encourage dialogue between the scientific, philosophical and theological fields, based on interdisciplinary research groups; to reflect on digitised technosciences and the Christian faith at a time of integral ecology; to think about integral ecology in relation to the heritage of process philosophy and to reflect on biblical anthropology, by measuring the impacts and transformations linked to technosciences.

Digital health is a rapidly expanding and innovative industrial sector. For many players, it is a key element in meeting the health challenges of the future. The field of digital health covers a very broad and diverse area, as evidenced by the semantic diversity of the terms used and their growing popularity in the public arena: connected health, e-health, telehealth, telemedicine, and so on. These digital innovations in healthcare are often developed in a way that has been described as “hyperactive immobilism”: an anarchic proliferation of experiments resulting in a certain inability to put in place useful, desired and sustainable products. How can we ensure the governance of this development? Directed by Lina WILLIATTE and Jean- Philippe COBBAUT, the Chair aims to gain a better understanding of the legal and ethical issues involved in the development of digital health and to suggest ways of ensuring democratic governance of this sector.

The Childhood and Families Research Chair, created in 2010, is directed by Blandine MALLEVAEY.


Its originality lies in the fact that it enriches the legal contribution of its members, lecturers and doctoral students in law, with contributions from researchers in ethics, sociology, psychology, theology and family economics. These collaborations make it possible to adopt a multidisciplinary approach to issues relating to the child, seen as the founding and central element of the family group and its interactions in contemporary society. They meet the Chair’s objective of fostering reflection on the recognition and implementation of children’s rights and on the consideration of their best interests, particularly when their family situation leads to increased vulnerability. The Chair is developing its scientific activities around three areas of research:


  • childhood in danger ;
  • childhood, family and justice ;
  • ethics and families.