The Hearing Institute, an Institut Pasteur center, opened its doors on Thursday February 27, 2020. The new buildings will soon house cutting-edge auditory neuroscience research teams from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm and the CNRS. This center for basic and translational neuroscience research in the field of hearing was set up in June 2019 at the initiative of the Fondation Pour l'Audition and the Institut Pasteur. Hearing is a major public health issue – some 500 million people worldwide currently live with hearing loss, a figure that is expected to rise to 900 million by 2050.
The Hearing Institute is a joint Institut Pasteur-Inserm research unit. It is composed of scientific staff from the Institut Pasteur, Inserm and the CNRS. The Hearing Institute will include a Center for Research and Innovation in Human Audiology (CERIAH), which will develop innovative diagnostic methods. It works in cooperation with ENT departments in the Paris Public Hospital Network (in particular Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital) and university hospitals elsewhere in France (including Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand and Bordeaux), and with other hearing health professionals, especially hearing aid specialists.
The City of Paris is a project partner and was particularly instrumental in the acquisition and subsequent refurbishment of the building. The Greater Paris Region has announced its support for the purchase of cutting-edge equipment.
The Hearing Institute has three main priorities:
- to carry out top-level basic research;
- to develop translational approaches;
- to help disseminate scientific knowledge.
The official inauguration of the Hearing Institute was attended by:
- Edouard Philippe, French Prime Minister;
- Frédérique Vidal, French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation;
- Sophie Cluzel, French Junior Minister for People with Disabilities;
- Françoise Bettencourt Meyers and Jean-Pierre Meyers, both of whom – together with the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller – set up the Fondation Pour l'Audition, one of the initiators of the project;
- Christian Vigouroux, Chairman of the Institut Pasteur Board of Directors;
- Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur;
- Professor Christine Petit, scientist at the Institut Pasteur, holder of the Genetics and Cell Physiology Chair at the Collège de France, and founding Director of the Hearing Institute;
- Gilles Bloch, Chairman and CEO of Inserm;
- Benoît Péricard, interim Managing Director of the Fondation Pour l'Audition;
- Etienne Caniard, Chair of the Hearing Institute Steering Committee, and Chair of the Alliance Pour l’Audition Coordination Committee;
- Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of paris (he represented Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris);
- Franck Vialet, architect.
Valérie Pécresse, President of the Greater Paris Regional Council and Martin Hirsch, President of the Paris Public Hospital Network (AP-HP) could not be present.
Before the event, a press conference was held, attended by Stewart Cole, Gilles Bloch, Professor Christine Petit, Benoît Péricard and architect Franck Vialet.
The inauguration: some extracts from official speeches
Prof. Christine Petit, Director of the Hearing Institute
Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of Paris
Christian Vigouroux, Chairman of the Institut Pasteur Board of Directors
Prof. Stewart Cole, President of the Institut Pasteur
Gilles Bloch, Chairman and CEO of Inserm
Jean-Pierre Meyers, co-initiator of the project with his wife Françoise Bettencourt Meyers, via the Fondation Pour l'Audition
"The greatness of human actions is measured by the inspiration that it brings," said Louis Pasteur. "With the new Hearing Institute, I can see many fine sources of inspiration: collective intelligence, tenacity, hope, and of course generosity. Within a few years, these sources of inspiration will lead to truly great actions – actions that will cure or help hundreds of millions of patients, that will reduce suffering and isolation through human progress." [...]
Edouard Philippe, French Prime Minister
Discover the Hearing Institute, an Institut Pasteur center. (Institut Pasteur Youtube channel)
Inauguration of the Hearing Institute, an Institut Pasteur center, February 27, 2020