Creation and statutes

In 1996, Georges Charpak, Pierre Léna and Yves Quéré, membres of the Académie des Sciences, lauched the program "La main à pâte" with the aim to improve the quality of science teaching in primary and secondary schools.

The program quickly gained support and in 2011, with the support of its three founding members: the Académie des Sciences, the Ecole Normale Supérieure (Paris) and the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon, the program "La main à pâte" became an entity of its own : La Fondation La main à la pâte, bound to a 5 year renewable mandate. The governing board first met on the 14th December, 2011 and became fully operational on January 1st, 2012.

The foundation, with a status of "foundation for scientific cooperation", is registered at the Académie des Sciences, 23 quai de Conti, 75006 Paris. The statutes of the Foundation were defined by official decree on 11th October 2011 (available for consultation in the Official Journal no.238 of 13th October 2011).


The programs and operations of the Foundation are financed by its founding members in various ways. Their contributions, established by a five year statute from 2011, come mainly from public funding (the European Commission, the Ministry for Education, the Ministry for Higher Education and Research, the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs). The Foundation is also directly financed by the Investissements d’Avenir fund, for its role in scientific and technological culture, and the several-year support of partner companies: Fondation Mérieux, Michelin, Saint-Gobain and Total. It also receives funding from public and private entities for specific projects. As a foundation for scientific cooperation, the Fondation La main à la pâte adheres to the same management regulation as a public interest foundation.