The DEC AltAc (Alternative to Academia) is a monthly seminar where individuals with a cognitive science background show researchers and students in cognitive science at the DEC the many ways their knowledge in cognitive science can be applied to the "real" (aka non-academic) world. 

The seminars can be taken by students completing the ENS diploma for credit. Credits will be attributed based on attendance. 

These events are a great opportunity for the DEC members to interact with people with diverging careers and yet similar interests. Every brief presentation is followed by a discussion where all attendees are free to ask questions to the speakers on their career paths, their motivations, interests, projects, and the difficulties they encounter. Finally, this is a great way to network with individuals that you may not encounter every day at the DEC. 

 DEC AltAc Program 2020-2021

Sessions are held on zoom from 11am to 12:15. Seminars are only open to DEC members and Cogmaster students. If you would like to listen to the talk, please view the recording and contact the speakers directly if your questions were not addressed.

If you would like to present how cognitive science has shaped your non-academic career path, please contact Camille Williams:

OCTOBER 23, 2020 - "Applying Cognitive Science to Health Care" 

CLCamille Lakhlifi studied at CogMaster, completing a variety of internships and getting involved in different associations and science popularization activities. After obtaining her degree, she joined a pre-doctoral program and worked 1 year for the French Behavioural Insights Unit. She is now starting a PhD about decision making under uncertainty in the medical context at the Brain Institute (ICM) thanks to fundings from the High Health Authority, supervised by Benjamin Rohaut and Mehdi Khamassi.

BRBenjamin Rohaut  is a neurologist working in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Neurological department of La Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital. He also has a PhD in Neuroscience and is doing research on consciousness and decision making at the Brain institute (ICM). Part of his research program is aimed at understanding how cognitive biases affect physicians' decision-making. 

NOVEMBER 12, 2020 - "Improving Language Development with Cognitive Science" 

LJLisa Jacquay is a Temporary Teaching and Research Associate at the Université Paris Nanterre and is the Co-founder of the Lab Premiers Cris at the CRI. With Marion Voillot, she created Premiers Cris, a community of individuals interested in early childhood that are engaged in a collaborative research process that uses digital technology to answer the concrete questions of those who care for toddlers. 


MGMarc Gurgand is a chaired professor at the Paris school of economics and senior researcher at the CNRS who is involved in several projects that promote language development from an early age, These projects include the 1001 words project, where they communicated 1001 words by SMS to parents of children in day care, and the « Parler Bambin » project, which encourages and promotes language development from an early age. 

DECEMBER 3, 2020 - "Cognitive Science in Everyday Experiences" 

EVEmma Vilarem has a PhD in cognitive neuroscience and is specialized in the study of social behaviours. She is the director and co-founder of [S]CITY, a Paris-based team of experts in urbanism and cognitive science using behavioural and brain research to create healthier urban environments.





SMSimone Morgagni is currently the Head of the Experience & Cognition Research Group - Innovation & Research department at SNCF with expertise in semiotics and cognitive sciences. He implements research programs and collaborations in order to promote a renewed and human-centered vision of mobility

JANUARY 19, 2021 - "Applying Cognitive Science to Education" 

LCLéa Combette : Léa Combette is a PhD student at Paris Brain Institute and Energie Jeunes association. Her project focuses on why and how psycho-social interventions could be a reliable solution to fight against underachievement in underprivileged areas.

EPElena Pasquinelli joined the team of “La main à la pâte” in 2010 and acts as a "Référent Métier Recherche et Évaluation". She also coordinates the actions around the project Esprit scientifique, Esprit critique, and is interested in the insights that cognitive sciences provide on learning. 


AAAdeline André is an IA-IPR (academic inspector) of the academy of Versailles. After a PhD in biology, she became an SVT teacher in junior high and high school. She then joined the “La main à la pâte” team. She has many years of experience conducting the academic and national experiments of the Learning Labs, which use the contribution of cognitive science to promote learning in all disciplines.

FEBRUARY 4, 2021 (FRENCH) - "Comment le Nutriscore change les comportements : un exemple de collaboration entre chercheurs et administration pour une meilleure santé publique" 

BR2Bernard Ruffieux est professeur de sciences économiques à Grenoble-INP, il est spécialiste en économie comportementale et expérimentale. Il a mis au point et réalisé les expériences de laboratoire qui ont conduit au choix du "Nutri-Score". Il est actuellement membre du comité scientifique missionné pour proposer un affichage environnemental des aliments.

MARCH 9, 2021 - "Creating tools to track and improve linguistic and cognitive development" 

XNCXuan Nga Cao is a research engineer at the ENS, where she works for Emmanuel Dupoux as the project manager of BabyCloud, a technological platform for parents and researchers. She is also the co-founder of Gazouyi, which creates pedagogical tools and activities to support the development of young children and of LangInnov, which provides innovative educational applications for bilingual communities in the US.

APRIL 13, 2021, exceptionally from 11:15am to 12:30 - Flash presentation and round table of Cogmaster Engineering Students 


ZRZoe Reich 
Title of internship: réduire l’utilisation des écrans par les enfants
Entreprise: DITP (direction interministérielle de la transformation publique)



Rhéa HaddadRhéa Haddad
Title of internship: Produire et consommer de la viande à la métropole de Nantes en répondant aux enjeux de la transition écologique
Entreprise: ACTE Lab and Nantes Métropole




El GhaliEl Ghali Lamrani Alaoui
Title of internship: Applying behavioral science to online consumer protection
Enterprise: Direction interministérielle de la transformation publique (DITP) - also know as the French behavioral insights unit.



MDMarina Drobi
Title of internship: Applying Cognitive Science to Enrich Intervention Methods in Social Work with Children and Families facing Social Vulnerabilities.
Organisation: Departmental Council or County council of Seine-Saint-Denis





JRJoséphine Raugel
Title of internship:  “Neurofeedback : user profiling - towards performance and relaxation prediction” 
Enterprise: MyBrain Technologies





MAY 18, 2021 - "Cognitive science in governments: insights from the OECD and the DITP"

ChammatMariam Chammat is an executive advisor at the French behavioral insights unit within the Interministerial Directorate for public transformation (DITP). Her work consists in translating findings and methods from cognitive and behavioral sciences into improvements in public policies and programs. Mariam also works on strengthening evidence-based policy making by developing and piloting projects between policy-makers and researchers. Ms Chammat holds a PhD in affective and cognitive neuroscience where she studied various ways in which emotions can bias perception. She also completed a postdoctoral research at Brain and Spine Institute in France (ICM). Her research focused on the neural basis of cognitive dissonance resolution and choice-induced preference change. Passionate about belief update, in 2015 Mariam co-founded a think tank (CHIASMA) where she has developed debiasing programs aimed at improving critical thinking skills.

VarazzaniChiara Varazzani is a behavioural science practitioner having set up and led units of behavioural scientists in government, designed behaviour change interventions and shaped communication across different areas, including health, education, financial decision-making, energy and international development. Today, Chiara is Lead Behavioural Scientist at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Chiara also serves as a member of the Technical Advisory Group on Behavioural Insights for the World Health Organization (WHO) and she is an Adjunct Research Fellow at Monash University. Prior to this, Chiara held several positions in government. She was the Principal Advisor of the Behavioural Insights Unit of the Victorian Government in Australia, Executive Advisor in behavioural economics to the Australian Federal Government and Research Fellow at the Behavioural Insights Team in London. Chiara is a CogMaster alumna and holds a Ph.D. in Behavioural Neuroscience.

JUNE, 10TH, 2021 -  Scientific popularisation/outreach

DeboveAfter completing a PhD in evolutionary biology and psychology at the ENS, Stephane Debove created a website and Youtube channel in 2017: Homo Fabulus, where he discusses what biology and cognitive science can teach us about human behaviour. Amongst other initiatives to popularise cognitive science, he was president of the non-profit Café des sciences organization for four years and created research activities in schools through the “Savanturiers” program at the CRI.


LenaAfter finishing the Cogmaster, Lena Coutrot completed a Masters in scientific outreach at Paris Diderot. During her second masters, she was a production and editorial assistant for a web series on and created digital educational resources (video, image, text) for the popularization of cognitive science in primary and secondary schools with La main à la Pâte. In addition she has been recording science podcasts for L’Octopus Journal. She is currently completing a scientific journalist apprenticeship at Tempo Santé magazine (Bayard Presse) and writing as a freelance journalist for Science & Vie magazine.