Histoire de l'INSA Lyon

Our history

Our history

At the end of the 50s, after the war, France was in the midst of an industrial boom and was short of engineers and technicians.
At that time, engineering studies were not very popular: the training was long, families had access to little information on these topics and most engineering schools were concentrated in the capital. With this in mind, a proposal was made to offer scientific and technical higher education in Lyon, on the La Doua site.

INSA’s two founders, philosopher Gaston Berger and rector Jean Capelle, imagined a new kind of university to provide contemporary answers to contemporary problems. Founded in March 1957, INSA had to be, in the words of the time, a ‘great national teaching experiment’ and a ‘pilot’ university that would train one thousand engineers and one thousand technicians per year.

From February 1957 onwards, the one hundred hectares of La Doua were gradually freed up by the army, the Lyon horse-riding society and the Postal Administration. The construction of the buildings, designed by Jacques Perrin-Fayolle, was a flash in the pan in the first academic year.
Inspired by various foreign technical universities, INSA includes an integrated first cycle and various options divided between the departments of physics, mechanics, chemistry, humanities and internships. Recruitment was particularly open for the time, to secondary school leavers, self-taught students through a competitive examination, young women and young men, French or foreign. The training was also designed to be accessible to all, with reduced tuition fees for students and housing facilities on campus. This was unheard of at the time.


Our model

The extraordinary richness of the INSA Group is based on its model of education imagined by its founders: to adopt forward- looking training and think about the engineer’s role in society.

In order to shape engineers to the challenges of the future, Gaston Berger’s project emphasised the importance of citizenship for engineers. INSA had to be a social school and home for diversity, and had to train ‘humanist engineers.

Today, this model has not aged a bit and continues to evolve in line with the challenges of our time.

Multidisciplinary training mixes scientific and technical disciplines with human sciences and seems more relevant now than ever as it integrates the social and environmental responsibility of engineers.

Tomorrow will not be like yesterday. It will be new and it will depend on us. It is less to be discovered than it is to be invented.

Gaston Berger, founder of the INSA Model

Read more :

#OsezLeGroupeINSA | Gaston Berger et le modèle INSA groupeinsa 324 abonnés Abonné
Gaston Berger and the INSA model
History of the LyonTech-La Doua campus