Near the Futuroscope theme park, near Poitiers (west-central France), is a large 32,000 sq.m. (345,000 sq. feet) round building, belonging to ISAE-ENSMA, the French National School of Mechanical Engineering and Aerotechnics, which trains the aeronautical engineers of tomorrow.
Established in 1948 in Poitiers, the school relocated here in Chasseneuil du Poitou, in 1993. Since 2011, it has been a member of the ISAE, a group of four major aviation engineering schools in France. ENSMA’s main asset is its research laboratories which work on, among other things, the E-Fan electric airplane’s wings, or the rocket fuel for Ariane 5.
Francis Cottet, Director - ISAE-ENSMA: "Research is very important in the school. It represents two-thirds of the budget, and more than half of the school’s floor area is devoted to experimental work, meaning that we can connect teacher-researchers, and researchers at the highest level, with students in the various lectures, tutorials and practical work of the school."
The some 600 students have joined the school after a preparatory class exam, or their university degree. In the programme, there are Aerodynamics, Fluid Mechanics and Computer Science - all you need to design an airplane.
Laurent Perault, Studies Director - ISAE-ENSMA: "About 10% of our engineers produce a thesis following their engineering degree. The others work mainly for companies, or research companies such as Onera (the French aerospace research centre), or CNES (the French National Centre for Space Studies) for example."
Whether in specialized organizations, consulting firms or the research and development departments of major aircraft manufacturers, innovation attracts students, and especially in a very dynamic aeronautical sector.
The school has also established partnerships with nearly 80 institutions in around twenty countries. Each student must have spent at least three months studying abroad before receiving their diplomas. A diploma obtained, each year by 190 ISAE-ENSMA students.