Inserm brings together 15,000 researchers, engineers, technicians and administrative staff, all with one shared objective: improve health by advancing knowledge about living organisms and diseases, developing innovative treatment modalities and conducting research on public health.

Improve human health

Since it was founded in 1964, Inserm has played an active role in major medical breakthroughs, including the first prenatal diagnostic tests, decoding of the HLA system mechanisms, the first in vitro fertilization, identification of the AIDS virus, cancer radiotherapy, the first skin graft, deep brain stimulation, gene therapy… 

This mission is based on the work of nine Theme-Based Institutes, whose role is to take stock of current research in their respective fields and facilitate this research. In addition, research on emerging infectious diseases, such as COVID-19, as well as AIDS, viral hepatitis and tuberculosis – is coordinated and funded by ANRS Emerging Infectious Diseases, an independent Inserm agency.

The Institute distinguishes itself through the scientific excellence of its teams and its ability to carry out translational research from the research laboratory to the patient’s bed.

Today, Inserm is Europe’s leading academic research institution in the biomedical field, with over 13,000 scientific publications each year.

Play a major role in coordinating health research

Inserm has always worked in close partnership with hospitals, universities, and other public institutions. Most of its research structures are mixed, and located close to healthcare and teaching centers. These partnerships ensure success, by pooling skills, attracting talent and ensuring proximity to patients. They provide the Institute with a unique global vision of healthcare research in France.

Thanks to this vision, its size, the scope of its activities and its recognized level of expertise, Inserm plays a major role in coordinating biomedical research in France, in line with the orientations of its supervisory authorities. This coordinating role is further strengthened by Inserm’s new role as a program agency, in addition to its activities as a research operator. Through its internal agency, Inserm initiates and coordinates major national scientific programs in the field of health, with all stakeholders involved in health research.

Act for and with society

Ethics pioneer

Discoveries in the field of health and their applications raise many questions about ethics and respect for life. Inserm had led to the founding of the National Consultative Ethics Committee in 1983 and has its own ethics committee, a full-fledged player in the dialogue between the scientific community and society.

The Inserm Ethics Committee supports the Institute’s staff in identifying and incorporating ethical questions into their projects from the design stage. Particularly attentive to the transparency and compliance of clinical trials and research involving humans, the Institute also has an Ethics Evaluation Committee which issues opinions on this type of project.

Within the framework of a highly proactive mechanism which aims to promote good research practices and support its researchers in this imperative, the Institute also has offices and colleges dedicated to questions of scientific integrity, professional ethics and the protection of personal data.

Find out more about good research practices at Inserm

Health expert

Inserm is developing a sustained dialogue with public decision-makers to make available its expertise in health research. In response to the rapid evolution of public health issues, Inserm has been developing and producing Collective Expert Reviews since 1993. Produced at the request of public authorities or on Inserm’s own initiative, these publications synthesize thousands of international scientific articles. They require a multidisciplinary approach in order to provide reliable points of reference to public authorities and support them in their decisions on sensitive issues: health effects of substances such as asbestos, pesticides or alcohol, management of disorders such as fibromyalgia or dyspraxia...

With and for patients

Places of dialogue, reflection and proposal, patient organizations play a decisive role in scientific and health democracy. They are involved in organizing, and even funding research. Since 2004 and the creation of the Think Tank Network with Patient Organizations (GRAM), making these associations full-fledged partners in research is one of Inserm’s priorities, now included in its contract of objectives.

To find out more about Inserm and the patient organizations

To strengthen the role of patients and citizens in producing knowledge and innovation, one of the Institute’s major ambitions is to increase its commitment to participatory research.

Disseminating knowledge

Inserm helps to promote the work and findings of its researchers. Whether locally or nationally, the Institute makes great efforts to promote scientific culture and the spread of knowledge. From open days in laboratories to conferences and exhibitions: throughout the year, the Institute and its researchers come to meet citizens.

Web information dossiers, a magazine, books written for the general public, and videos are all tools produced by Inserm to ensure the dissemination of quality information to all audiences.

To find out more about Inserm