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.