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Tools of cooperation

Cooperation agreements, European/international joint units and joint groups, European/international associated laboratories or European/international research groups: in order to properly conduct its European and international policy of scientific cooperation, Inserm has acquired the appropriate tools for framing these arrangements.

European and international cooperation agreements

European and international cooperation agreements make it possible to substantiate an institutional understanding, to frame a collaboration and to declare a more lasting partnership than a simple collaboration.

Agreements put in place, in line with the new strategy regarding European and international cooperation by Inserm, target the countries identified as priority by the Institute, and the preferred areas of cooperation for each of them.

The procedures for implementing these agreements vary according to the objectives pursued (mobility, EAL/IAL, specific themes, research projects, etc.)

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European or International Joint Units (EJU/IJU)

European or International Joint Units (EJU/IJU) are Inserm research laboratories located abroad, created in partnership with a foreign institution/body.

The units are created for 5 years, and involve drawing up an agreement with the foreign partner that includes, among other things, the scientific programme, the provisions for staffing, and the rules concerning governance and intellectual property. Like any research unit, it has resources allocated by Inserm and the foreign partner for the duration of the unit’s mandate.

There are currently 2 joint Inserm units based abroad:

Joint research groups

Joint research groups are currently represented by Franco-German laboratories located in France, under the authority of Inserm and the Helmholtz Association. The objective is to promote interactions between researchers from these entities and research teams from the Helmholtz Association in Germany.

The joint groups are created for a 5-year period, and are jointly funded by the two institutions. They are led by a researcher whose project has been selected in response to a joint call for proposals.

There are currently two Franco-German joint research groups:

European or International Associated Laboratories (EAL/IAL)

A European or international associated laboratory (EAL/IAL) is a virtual cooperation structure with the objective of developing a research project shared between an Inserm research team and a foreign research team.

The creation of an EAL/IAL must bring real added value to the collaboration, in terms of synergy and complementarity of scientific expertise, exchanges of researchers for short or long periods, and joint access to research infrastructures and opportunities for national funding. It must also help to enhance the European or international visibility of the cooperation, particularly by encouraging the development of larger scale research projects, funded under existing European or international programmes.

Formalised by the signing of a 4-year cooperation agreement, its creation is based on the scientific excellence of the research teams involved and of the proposed research project. The establishment of EALs/IALs follows a specific assessment procedure, with a competitive process and subsequent validation by the Inserm Directorate-General, following publication of calls for proposals. An Inserm grant is allocated annually to each EAL/IAL, particularly to support mobility and short periods spent by visiting students and researchers with the partner teams. A contribution from the partner is also expected.

European or International Research Groups (GDRE/GDRI)

European or international research groups (GDRE/GDRI) are research networks without legal status, which bring together several French teams (which may be from more than one research institution or university) and teams from one or more partner countries around a specific research theme/area. The collaborative projects that are expected to stem from GDRE/GDRI must subsequently have national and/or European or even international funding, enabling them to continue.

Established for a period of 4 years (renewable once), a GDRE/GDRI is formalised by an agreement established between the authorities of the partner laboratories. It is coordinated by a scientific committee chaired by a coordinator and made up of representatives from the laboratories involved. It reports regularly to a steering committee on its activity. The latter includes a representative from the authorities of each laboratory constituting the GDRE/GDRI.

GDRE/GDRI designation by Inserm is carried out on a case by case basis, after scientific assessment of the proposal submitted to Inserm, and in accordance with the strategic priorities of the Institute.

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