Over the years, INSIS has managed to create a network of sustainable partnerships with industry in a wide range of sectors. Today, the institute's innovation policy is implemented through partnerships, patent registrations and start-up companies.

An ambitious partnership and innovation policy

The transformation of knowledge and scientific advances into industrial innovation is one of the INSIS's key missions. The world of industry offers new scientific challenges and in return the research carried out at INSIS makes it possible to get over the major technological obstacles associated with medium- and long-term industrial issues. INSIS has developed targeted and effective methods and resources to meet these challenges.

Transforming research to provide added value for society as a whole

The promotion and technology transfer of INSIS research contributes to improving the competitiveness of companies and to job creation in sectors linked with major societal challenges such as sustainable development, renewable energies, health and quality of life, etc.

In this context, the priority for the INSIS is a long-term partnership research policy to solve industrial obstacles with high scientific and societal stakes.

The INSIS strategy seen from the perspective of the transfer of research results to industry

  • To increase the positive consequences of scientific progress
  • To help find solutions to society's major challenges
  • To support industry
  • To promote and enhance innovation particularly through the early promotion and support of research results
  • To support the creation of start-up companies
  • To encourage public-private sector exchanges

Creating long-lasting sustainable relations with companies

Companies regularly identify technological obstacles involving scientific questions which interest INSIS researchers who can suggest ways of improving situations or resolving problems to companies through their work.

To encourage long-term research, the INSIS has forged lasting links with major groups: PSA, Total, Safran, Airbus, Orange, Essilor, Alstom, Michelin, Thales, EDF, etc. Equally numerous collaborations have been established with small and medium-sized businesses and start-up companies. Contracts and ad hoc structures have been set up to encourage long-term work based on jointly defined objectives.

Joint laboratories

Joint laboratory contracts differ from basic research collaboration contracts in terms of their annual programming activity and governance and are particularly used within INSIS units. The aim of a joint laboratory is to bring structuring projects based on important scientific and industrial issues to fruition. Large corporations and companies can easily make use of this system as is also the case for small and medium-sized companies who mainly use the French National Research Agency's (ANR) LabCom system to do so.

The progress of this bilateral research is largely ensured by the work of young researchers who share their research time between laboratories and companies and receive funding from their theses thanks to the National Association of Research and Technology's (ANRT) Industrial Agreements for Training through Research (Cifre).

The ANRT website

Working with industry brings a lot of added value. Today, I can't do without such partnerships. I couldn't envisage my research outside the ANR LabCom context."
Christophe Vieu, Director of the ANR LabCom Biosoft (Innopsys/LAAS-CNRS)

Diversified forms of collaboration

Other effective relationships between industry and INSIS laboratories are organized and managed on the basis of industrial chairs, scientific interest groups (GIS) and research networks (GDR).

There are numerous other collaboration projects within the framework of competitiveness clusters, the Carnot Institutes, the Technological Research Institutes (IRT) and the French Institutes for Energy Transition (ITE) and so forth.

Finally, the Initial Support for Exploratory Projects Programme (Peps) enables companies to assess the relevance of their long-term strategy on futuristic technologies (open innovation). Peps programmes with specific themes are co-organized and managed every year by INSIS as is the case with the partnership with the Total group for example.

In figures

  • 3 joint research units (UMRs) in partnership with major industrial companies including one international collaboration project.
  • 62 joint research laboratories (LCRs) including 25 in partnership with major industrial companies, 24 with small and medium-sized companies (19 ANR LabComs), 4 with technical centres and 9 with EPICs-EPSTs1 including two international collaboration projects.
  • 44 INSIS laboratories are part of 13 Carnot Institutes and 4 Carnot tremplins2 .
  • 1Public establishments of an industrial and commercial nature/Public scientific and technological institutions
  • 2Carnot research support programmes

How this approach is applied internationally

International industrial partnerships have also been set up as is illustrated by the creation of two structures specializing in nanotechnologies. These are the CINTRA International Joint Unit based in Singapore which is a joint project managed with the Thales Group and Nanyang Technological University and the joint laboratory set up on the basis of an agreement between ST Microelectronics and the LN2 International Joint Unit based at the Université de Sherbrooke in Canada.

In Japan, there is a Joint Research Programme linking the Tokyo-based JRL International Joint Unit and Airbus as part of a structuring collaboration in the field of robotics.

Encouraging technology transfer

Technology transfer frequently results from company-laboratory collaboration projects. In this framework, the intellectual protection of research results on patents, software and know-how is strongly encouraged. Around twenty operating licenses are signed annually by the Institute. The INSIS has also set up a network of "technology transfer" partners within its laboratories to exchange and inform researchers about best practices related to promotion and transfer, protecting results and economic intelligence.

100 à 150 Brevets

Publications par an.

15 Logiciels

Dépôts à l'Agence de protection des programmes (APP) par an.

Investing in start-up companies created by researchers

The research carried out at the INSIS into both concepts at their earliest stages and systems close to being ready for application also has a significant socio-economic impact which results in the creation of highly innovative companies.

Since 1999, the CNRS has created or taking part in setting up over than 1000 start-up companies to enhance the value of its laboratories research. Of these, 319 are the result of research conducted by INSIS laboratories with 262 still in operation.

These start-up companies have regularly received awards in competitions which support the creation of innovative companies. Rheonova and ThrustMe won the i-LAB 2017 competition while Abbelight was among the 8 winners of the 2017 Start-up Connexion.

20 à 25 Start-up créées par an

Les unités INSIS réalisent entre un quart et un tiers de l'activité de partenariat industriel et innovation des unités du CNRS.

Success strory: Econick

Econick was set up in August 2016 by a researcher from the Reaction and Process Engineering Laboratory (LRGP) in Nancy and specializes in the production of nickel from wall alyssum, a "hyper-accumulative" plant.

One of this plant's properties is that it extracts metals from soils and stores them in its leaves and stems. After combustion, these represent 15 to 20% of its weight. The company's patented recovery process gives a yield of 100 kilograms of nickel per hectare. It could be extended to be used with other plants and to produce other metals (zinc, cadmium, cobalt).

The pre-maturity programme

The CNRS has set up an early-stage development programme whose objective is to support the initial development stages of emerging projects with high innovation potential. The aim is to support the pre-maturity stage by providing recommendations and the necessary financial resources.

Project leaders are invited to submit their projects to the Partnership and Innovation pole of their unit's main Institute. Proposals from researchers, professors or engineers working at CNRS research units are eligible.

Since its inception in 2015, the pre-maturity programme has given a total of €2 million in funding to 22 projects from INSIS units.

Vague 1 :

Date limite soumission des dossiers à l'INSIS :
20 novembre 2019

Vague 2 :

Date limite soumission des dossiers à l'INSIS :
29 janvier 2020

Vague 3 :

Date limite soumission des dossiers à l'INSIS :
25 mars 2020

Vague 4 :

Date limite soumission des dossiers à l'INSIS :
27 mai 2020

Vague 5 :

Date limite soumission des dossiers à l'INSIS :
26 août 2020

Vague 6 :

Date limite soumission des dossiers à l'INSIS :
30 juillet 2021

Vague 7 :

Date limite soumission des dossiers à l'INSIS :
1er octobre 2021

A reminder of the selection process for pre-maturity projects at the CNRS

  • INSIS:
    The INSIS Management Committee makes an initial selection among the proposals received by the Institute. The framework paper and submission form are available from your unit's Partnership/Innovation Correspondent. The INSIS's Partnership and Innovation Section is at your disposal if you have any questions.

  • CNRS Inter-Institute Scientific Board:
    A pre-selection of the projects submitted to the CNRS is carried out in the presence of representatives of all 10 CNRS Institutes, the CNRS Innovation Office (DGDI) and CNRS Innovation for aspects linked to intellectual property.

  • Steering Committee (COPIL):
    The pre-selected project leaders are interviewed at CNRS headquarters by a jury made up of industrial actors, investors and representatives of the Innovation ecosystem. The Steering Committee then makes its recommendations.

  • The final decision:
    This is taken by the CNRS President and CEO and takes 2 to 3 weeks after the jury interview.


Partenariat CNRS Ingénierie