Delphine Manso (Neoma): “To succeed in the ecological transition, we need a multidisciplinary approach”

TRIBUNA – On February 16, climatologist Jean Jouzel presented a report to the Minister of Higher Education recommending that the ecological transition be integrated into all bac +2 level courses. For Delphine Manso, director of Neoma, it is important to combine the exact sciences with the social sciences to achieve this goal.

This forum was written by Delphine Manso, CEO of the Neoma Business School located in Rouen, Reims and Paris.


We regularly see thousands of young people marching through the streets in the world’s major capitals, signing manifestos and urging governments and companies to commit to environmental awakening. This awareness was relevant even before the health crisis, but it has intensified over the past two years. To enable these young people who challenge us to truly succeed in making a difference, higher education must play a central role, provided it is decompartmentalized: only a decidedly scientific and interdisciplinary approach will pave the way for true “responsible business.” .

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“It will be necessary to reinvent nothing less than all our methods of production and logistics”Delfin Manso, director of Neoma

Today we are lucky to have young people who are very aware of the importance of change and very determined to act. However, the transition to more environmentally friendly growth raises many questions in practice. Because, in the end, it is nothing but all our production and logistics methods that will have to be reinvented. Therefore, first of all, we must educate our youth in the complexity of these issues, if only to ensure that social networks do not occupy the field alone.

Higher education plays a vital role

To turn the hope of the younger generation into concrete action, one key is to rethink how we approach our secondary and tertiary education. These subjects are already being considered in a number of programs at the university as well as in the Graduate Schools. The evolution of academic courses has been significant in recent years and we can be thrilled. However, it is necessary to go further, to go beyond accepted ideas and good intentions.

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“Few programs combine biology and physics classes with courses in philosophy and ethics”Delfin Manso, director of Neoma

I am convinced that a multidisciplinary approach must be adopted. Environmental subjects include elements related to biology, physical sciences, geology, as well as economics, management, sociology … In this sense, the “arts and sciences” programs that exist in many countries – and here “art” is understood in in the sense of the “liberal arts”, the humanities and social sciences – can contribute to this transversality.

Higher education, which is often monodisciplinary

We are not yet in France. Few programs combine the teaching of biology and physics with courses in philosophy and ethics. Our higher education is often monodisciplinary. It does not mix or only slightly mix different areas of knowledge. This fragmentation of knowledge is a serious obstacle to a good mastery of these issues, because it does not allow us to understand these issues as a whole.

Collaboration between engineering and agronomy institutions, such as management institutions, has clearly demonstrated its usefulness. We must go further and introduce common business/science core courses to train professionals in these new fundamentals, combining scientific knowledge, economic activity and social issues. Competition? Become the starting point for a new era of “green learning” that is truly scientific, enlightened and interdisciplinary. So we will collectively fulfill our educational role.

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