National and Foreign Affairs

Department Director: Valérie Mazeau-Woynar

Department Deputy Director: Richard Salives

Assistant: Fatima Mehloub


The Department of National and Foreign Affairs contributes, under the stewardship of the Directorate General, and in coordination with the thematic institutes, to the implementation of Inserm’s institutional partnerships at regional, national, European and international levels.

The department comprises 3 units. Their role is to contribute to:

The promotion of a site policy at regional and national level

The Partnerships and Site Policy unit is responsible for institutional relations that contribute to support for research activities in the life and health sciences (i) in the university hospital sites and (ii) at national level.

The definition of a site policy primarily involves the identification, by the local players, of scientific priorities. Consultation enables the establishment of the partnership; scientific review and consistency of projects at national level play a key role in decision-making. This objective involves tight coordination between the universities, the university hospitals (CHUs), the national research organisations, especially via the French National Alliance for Life and Health Sciences (Aviesan), and local governments.

This institutional consultation with a variety of partners is based on guidelines proposed by the French Multi-Organisation Thematic Institutes (ITMOs).

The Department works closely with Inserm’s regional delegations.

Institutional interactions with the other partners may translate into multi-year collaborative projects consistent with site policy.

Inserm’s regional partnerships include, in particular:

  • Universities (four-year contracts), PRES (Centres for Research and Higher Education)
  • Hospitals, e.g. University Hospitals (CHUs), Comprehensive Cancer Centres (CLCCs), etc.
  • Local governments (CPER [State-Region Planning Contracts], regional intervention programmes to support R&D)
  • Competitiveness Clusters
  • Monitoring of the Thematic Network for Advanced Research (RTRA), the Thematic Research and Care Network (RTRS) and various existing Scientific Interest and Public Interest Groups.
  • Investment for the Future from the Grand Emprunt national loan scheme

Inserm’s national partnerships include:

  • Research organisations, especially CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research), CEA (French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission), INRA (French National Agronomic Research Institute), Institut Pasteur, etc.
  • Associations and charitable foundations

Construction of the European Research Area

The European Relations unit is responsible for supporting both multilateral cooperation activities, especially under Community programmes, and European bilateral cooperation activities associated with Institute policy.

At the same time, the unit, in association with Inserm Transfert, a private subsidiary of Inserm, provides guidance and assistance to Inserm research teams that require it in order to set up and negotiate European projects that they are coordinating. It advises and guides any scientist at Inserm who wishes to participate in a European project.

Finally, it works to maintain the special relationships established by Inserm between European institutions within various consultative bodies, such as:

European Programmes

Inserm's Involvement



European Medical Research Council (EMRC / ESF)

Member of the Standing Committee

European Strategic Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI)

Member of the BMS TWG (French representation)

National Contact Point (NCP) for Health for FP7


NCP for Infrastructures





Member (French delegation)

The implementation of these actions is based on the presence of a member of the unit in the Club of Associated Research Organisations (CLORA) in Brussels.

Inserm’s international representation

The International Relations unit, on behalf of the Directorate General, contributes to the definition and implementation of the Institute’s policy for international cooperation, in close association with the Multi-Organisation Thematic Institutes (ITMOs) of the French National Alliance for Life and Health Sciences (Aviesan).

The unit’s activities are centred around 3 broad areas:

  • Monitoring and Forecasting
     Regular in-depth analysis of systems of higher education and research, and of the latest news on life and health sciences in the Institute’s target countries.
  • Developing and monitoring cooperation activities
  • Synergies and interface
     Involvement of the Institute, in consultation with its partners in the Aviesan alliance, in discussions and activities stemming from the strategic orientations defined by France in relation to international cooperation, and in international initiatives of interest to research, development and innovation in the area of life and health sciences.
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