Ingénieurs Sans Frontières (ISF)

Identity card

Created in 1982, Ingénieurs Sans Frontières (ISF) is the first International Solidarity organisation coming from the French community of engineers. Initially dedicated to provide technical assistance to development projets in the South and to raise awareness in the engineers community on the issues in these countries, the project has considérably evolved over the pas 25 years. Internal debates have forged over the years a genuine approach of engineering, specific to ISF, focusing on issues related to the social responsibility of engineers, the so-called « Citizen engineer ».

ISF is a Federation comprising 30 associations (called “local chapters”) located in 70 French Engineering Schools all over France. Around 600 people, mostly engineering students and engineers, are members of the organisation. ISF comprises two active internal bodies (a board meeting is held 6 times a year; an executive board meeting, every two weeks), and a National Coordinating Bureau (30 members, 4 employees and one intern) based in Paris, which provides, amongst other services, training, information, assistance/consultancy whilst developing and carrying out the Federation’s administrative and financial support. The National Coordination Bureau also bridges the gap between international solidarity stakeholders and engineers’ organisations around the world.

Within ISF, the ISF SystExt group was created in 2011 in order to further the thematic reflections of the group on specific extrativism issues.

Bringinf together volunteer active professionals sharing an interest in the questions related to extractive industry, in particular mining activities and holding specific competencies on technical issues on this matter, ISF SystExt aims to take part to the transformation of the existing systems and to a new approach of mineral and energy raw materials more respectful of human rights and environment.


The aim of Ingénieurs Sans Frontières as an international solidarity association is thus to contribute to the sustainable development of our planet through engaging critically with engineering approaches:

  • work towards sustainable development through a critical approach to engineering. This practice, being at the core of our commitment, must be carried out everywhere engineers are present (engineering schools, companies, public services, civil society, etc.).

  • work towards people taking back ownership of technology, its approaches and the issues it raises so that it may truly become a tool for sustainable development. In practice, we intend to act as mediators between people, technology and the changes it brings, on a local as well as global scale.

As far as ISF is concerned, actions on the ground cannot be divorced from a debate on the global issues related to them. Indeed, local engagement is essential in better framing both the global debate and its response. Equally, in working towards sustainable development, local responses must always be planned according to the global issues facing us.

ISF is aware of the growing interdependencies between generations and peoples as well as on the technical, social, cultural, economic, political and environmental fronts, and believe that the response requires a multidimensional approach.

Related programmes

Modes of action

  • training
  • meetings, exchanges, assemblies
  • development of participatory tools and methods

Target audience

  • engineers
  • teachers, education professions
  • citizens

Thematic areas

  • responsibility
  • citizenship
  • ethics