The INSIS is strongly involved in the CNRS's international strategy. It extends its expertise through numerous collaborations with foreign partners. The INSIS is present on all continents, using CNRS cooperation tools, from IEA exploratory actions (e.g. PICS and PRC) to the creation of IRL international laboratories (e.g. UMI), IRP international projects (e.g. LIA) or IRN international networks (e.g. GDRI). The INSIS also participates actively in the European Research and Technological H2020 Development Framework Programme.

International affairs, a priority for the INSIS

A discipline which is strongly involved in major societal challenges

In an international scientific context that is inseparable from the socio-economic world and the challenges facing society, the INSIS is developing its international strategy around four objectives:

  • Developing, consolidating and bringing international collaborations to fruition
  • Investing for the future and contributing to collective and world-wide progress
  • Encouraging, structuring and supporting unit directors and researchers in their international collaborations
  • For Europe, supporting national partnerships and networks (GDR, GIS, federations, etc.) so that they can serve as platforms for European projects.

A strong international presence

With its 6 IRL International research laboratories (e.g. UMI), its 20 IRP International research programmes (e.g. LIA), its 8 IRN International research networks and the funding of 45 IEA International exploratory actions (e.g. PICS and PRC), the INSIS is present on all continents and has research collaborations with more than 30 countries, both emerging and reference countries in the field of engineering. More than 45% of the INSIS publications are co-authored with international partners.


International research laboratory (dont 6 ex.UMI)

20 IRP

International research project (ex. LIA)


International research network

45 IEA

International exploratory actions (ex. PICS et PRC)

8 PhD Joint Programmes
Présence internationale INSIS par thématique (2018) / © INSIS Communication

The key role of international research laboratories (IRL)

An international influence

These joint research units outside of France make a major contribution to the CNRS's reputation abroad. As genuine research units established abroad (or more rarely in France), they structure strategic scientific cooperation with both academic and industrial partners with high international visibility.

The IRLs are the flagship tool of the CNRS's international strategy. The INSIS is piloting six of them, some of which have existed for more than 20 years:

  • The LIMMS (micro- and nanotechnologies) with the Institute of Industrial Sciences of the University of Tokyo;
  • The JRL (robotics) with the AIST of the University of Tokyo;
  • ElyT-MaX (materials) with Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan;
  • CINTRA with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, (micro- and nanotechnology, photonics);
  • GeorgiaTech (secure networks and intelligent materials), Atlanta and Metz;
  • The LN2 (micro- and nanotechnologies) with the Université de Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada.

Several of them have strong links with industrialists: CINTRA is co-managed with Thales, the LN2 has a joint laboratory with St Microelectronics and a joint laboratory is currently being set up between Georgiatech and PSA.

Latest creation: the ElyT-MaX UMI

ElyT-MaX was created on January 1, 2016. It brings together the CNRS Institute for Engineering and Systems Sciences, the University of Lyon and Tohoku University. Based in Sendai, Japan, its research focuses on the behaviour of materials in extreme conditions: pressure, temperature, irradiation or a highly corrosive environment.

One of the main objectives of the research carried out in the UMI is to understand the mechanisms of degradation of materials over time in order to better evaluate their life spans and devise strategies to protect or repair surfaces used in industry.

A strategy focused on target countries with high scientific potential

For its future international actions, the INSIS wants to develop structuring collaborations with four countries that are at the top world level in engineering sciences but which currently have few structured collaborations: Australia, South Korea, India and Taiwan.

The INSIS in "Horizon 2020"

An important involvement in the European Framework Programme Horizon 2020

The INSIS laboratories participate actively in the European Horizon 2020 framework programme and thus contribute to the construction of the European Research Area. On the three pillars of H2020, Scientific Excellence and Industrial Primacy and Societal Challenges, the INSIS has been particularly involved in calls to tender under pillar 1, notably the ERC and MSCA calls, with a very good success rate.

An ERC unit set up in 2014 works with units and researchers to inform, identify and support potential candidates. Since the beginning of H2020, this ERC unit has organized mock oral sessions in preparation for the hearing in Brussels for the Consolidator and Starting calls. Since 2014, the start of H2020, it has accompanied approximately 90 researchers and lecturer-researchers in their preparation for the Brussels oral examinations. Forty-six of these candidates obtained their ERC award.

To help it in its mission, the ERC unit relies on the network of ERC-INSIS prize winners that was created in 2015 (more than 70 researchers).

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Flamme laminaire prémélangée, stabilisée sur un cylindre tournant dans le sens des aiguilles d’une montre, dans le dispositif expérimental INTRIG. Construit dans le cadre du projet européen ERC INTECOCIS, ce dispositif produit une flamme qui permet d’étudier les interactions complexes entre la combustion, l’acoustique et la thermique.
© Cyril FRESILLON - IMFT - CNRS Photothèque


The ERC allows me to finally work over the long-term. It is extremely stimulating. Everything is accelerating. The doors are opening.
Sylvie Lorthois, Institut de mécanique des fluides de Toulouse (IMFT), ERC "Consolidator Grant" winner 2013