A network of colorful dots with the IRC Discovery logo

International Research Center for Fundamental Scientific Discovery

CNRS-UChicago International Research Center for Fundamental Scientific Discovery

IRC Discovery strengthens existing partnerships between scholars at two of the world’s leading research institutions and leverages both institutions’ robust networks and large-scale investments in scientific infrastructure to address some of the world’s greatest questions.

UChicago and CNRS have long been close partners, working together to address topics as wide-ranging as astrophysics, political philosophy, the search for dark matter, digital humanities, bionics, computational anatomy, and quantum technologies. The creation of IRC Discovery in 2023 demonstrates the importance of this partnership and provides dedicated support and resources for continued and expanded collaboration between our institutions. 

What is an IRC?

CNRS International Research Centers (IRCs) are umbrella cooperation structures between the CNRS and its primary international partners, complementing a collaborative toolbox that includes jointly operated international laboratories, projects between scientists from CNRS research units and foreign institutions, and networks between teams from the CNRS and organizations abroad. IRCs enable a more direct strategic dialogue between institutions and mark a transition to a larger-scale partnership. At the time of launch, IRC Discovery was the fourth CNRS IRC worldwide.

>> Learn more about CNRS’s collaborations with the US

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Sylvia Alajaji


Sylvia Alajaji

Associate Director for the CNRS-University of Chicago International Research Center for Fundamental Scientific Discovery


Sylvia Alajaji supports the CNRS-University of Chicago International Research Center for Fundamental Scientific Discovery (IRC Discovery), a joint research center between the University of Chicago and the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). In addition to supporting the center’s programmatic and strategic goals, she ensures the ongoing vitality of the Center’s contributions to scholarship on a global scale and serves as the liaison to on-campus and external stakeholders.