Through its research programs, Inserm aims to facilitate and accelerate discoveries and their transformation into tangible progress for patients and society. In this sense, the Institute is developing a research environment that is conducive to interactions between basic, translational, and clinical research. Inserm is also participating in the steering and implementation of France’s national health research programs: PEPRs, national strategies, and theme-based plans.
In line with its missions, Inserm develops scientific programs focused on high-priority research areas. The objectives of these programs are to:
- build scientific communities in specific and high-priority fields by developing national interdisciplinary consortia founded on the skills and expertise of Inserm teams.
- make French biomedical research a leading player in these fields by accelerating knowledge acquisition, transfer, and value-creation, including potentially by working with industry from the program design stage.
The funded projects continue to remain collaborative: they are divided into multiple work areas, whose implementation involves a consortium of teams. These Inserm programs are open to academic and industrial partners, whether across the program as a whole, or only in certain areas.
Programs already launched (under the name « Cross-Cutting Scientific Programs » from 2016 to 2022):
- Microbiota (2016) (only available in French) – pdf, 760 kB
- Aging (2016)
- Genetic Variability (2018) (only available in French)
- Human Development Cell Atlas – HuDeCA (2018)
- Mechanisms and Mechanics in Three-Dimensional Multicellular Systems – MeCaCell3D (2022) (only available in French)
Upcoming Impetus Programs
- Climate and Health
- Viruses and Brain
- Surgery of the Future
Technology Research Accelerators (ARTs)
In a context where science increasingly depends on access to state-of-the-art technologies, Inserm is developing programs to accelerate technological research and quickly make the results available to its teams. Three Technology Research Accelerators (ARTs) have already been set up, focusing on medical ultrasound, bioprinting, and genomic therapy. A fourth ART, dedicated to artificial intelligence, is under study..
Presentation of the Inserm ARTs
Strategic Program for Collaborative Health Research
As part of its Contract of Objectives, Means and Performance with the French state, Inserm has benefited from the support of its supervisory bodies, particularly the Directorate General for Healthcare Provision (DGOS) of the Ministry of Health and Prevention, to implement a Strategic Program for Collaborative Health Research (PSRCS).
The aim of this program is to provide unprecedented support to the health research continuum, from basic research, from translational research, to patients, to healthy volunteers, and to the general population. It also aims to foster a new collaborative dynamic with healthcare professionals in a number of crucial scientific fields, from new trial methodologies through to the development of expertise in health data use. It will be conducted while reinforcing the pathways that Inserm has developed between research and healthcare with the aim of allowing healthcare professionals to earmark part of their activities for research projects.
The Messidore (Methodology for Innovative Clinical Trials, Devices, Tools and Research using Health Data and Biobanks) (only available in French) call for proposals is the first action of the program.
Priority Research and Resources Programs (PEPRs) – France 2030
Inserm is fully committed to the component of the France 2030 investment plan (only available in French) dedicated to funding the most basic research, namely the Priority Research and Resources Programs (PEPRs) whose goal is to build or consolidate French leadership in priority scientific fields at national or European level. These fields have been chosen as they are likely to lead to a large-scale transformation, whether technological, economic, social, health, or environmental.
Inserm is leading or co-leading several PEPRs:
Mental Health Exploratory PEPR (Propsy)
Co-led with the CNRS and in partnership with the FondaMental Foundation, this program to structure and reinforce basic and clinical research in psychiatry will serve to actively contribute to understanding the most serious psychiatric disorders: psychosis, bipolar disorder, depression, anxiety, addictions, neurodevelopmental disorders, post-traumatic disorders, and suicidal behaviors. It will also enable the development of precision psychiatry, for targeted care specific to each patient.
- Inserm and CNRS to Lead Large-Scale Program on Psychiatry Research
- « Il n’y a pas de santé sans santé mentale » (only available in French)
Emerging Infectious Diseases PEPR
Its objective is to accelerate all research and innovation actions that contribute to understanding, preventing, and controlling pandemics in a global manner, taking a One Health approach, and across the entire innovation chain: vaccines, diagnostic tools, treatment... The program’s actions will be implemented by the Inserm agency dedicated to these topics: ANRS | Emerging Infectious Diseases.
For more information (only available in French)
Digital Health PEPR
Co-led with Inria, the Digital Health PEPR aims to accelerate the development of knowledge and acquisition methods in the field, through to the utilization of data by mathematical models, and the security and increased reliability of that data. Multi-scale approaches in cardiovascular and neurological diseases are the top priorities of this program.
See also: Santé numérique : quand la recherche monte en puissance (only available in French)
Biotherapies and Biomanufacturing of Innovative Therapies PEPR
Co-led with the CEA, its goal is to accelerate the research, engineering, and deployment of biotherapies: gene, cell and tissue therapies, extracellular vesicles, mRNA, therapeutic antibodies. It also involves supporting the emerging industrial sectors in the field.
For more information (only available in French)
Food Systems, Microbiome, and Health PEPR
Co-led with Inrae, this PEPR aims to accelerate our understanding of the influence of the human microbiota in regulating and maintaining vital functions, and to develop prevention tools and treatments. Its aim is also to increase knowledge about the interactions between behavior, social and nutritional inequalities, information provided to consumers, and productive models, to guide public policies and food chains.
Development of the Women’s Health, Couples’ Health Exploratory PEPR
As part of the National Strategy Against Endometriosis (only available in French), Inserm was tasked by its supervisory ministries with the development of an exploratory PEPR on women’s and couples’ health. This program will not only cover research into endometriosis – from the understanding of its cellular mechanisms to the care of patients – but also the fields of fertility, medically-assisted reproduction and the effects of in utero exposure to antiepileptics (sodium valproate and others). It will also include the creation of a database constituted from the six existing national cohorts, to learn more about the frequency, risk factors, and impacts of endometriosis at all levels of the lives of the women concerned and their families.
Theme-Based National Plans and Programs
France has initiated numerous national plans centered around key health themes. Inserm is developing or implementing specific actions to meet the expectations of these plans and is participating in the development or steering of some of them.
The Ten-Year Cancer Control Strategy
In keeping with the Cancer Plans, the French government wanted to step up the fight against cancer with a ten-year strategy that addresses all the areas in which this disease affects the daily lives of French people: prevention, treatment, patient support, etc. The National Cancer Institute has been tasked with coordinating this strategy. Inserm not only plays a key role in this institute through its research teams, but also participates in its governance and in funding its actions.
Learn more about the Ten-Year Cancer Control Strategy (only available in French) and consult the calls for proposals managed by Inserm (only available in French)
Genomic Medicine Initiative
The 2025 French Genomic Medicine Initiative, developed by Inserm and its Aviesan partners, aims to expand the use of whole genome sequencing in clinical practice. From now until 2025, a total of 60,000 genomes will be decoded every year, in order to strengthen personalized medicine.
Visit the Genomic Medicine Initiative website (only available in French)
Antibiotic Resistance Priority Research Program
« Increase research efforts today for decreased antibiotic resistance tomorrow. » Such is the slogan of France’s Antibiotic Resistance Priority Research Program (PPR) – with funding from the third Investments for the Future program and whose scientific management has been entrusted to Inserm.
Visit the Antibiotic Resistance Priority Research Program website
- Antibiorésistance : un programme prioritaire de recherche piloté par l’Inserm (only available in French)
- Antibiorésistance : Les prochains défis de la recherche (only available in French)
Neurodegenerative Diseases Plan and National Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Strategy
Inserm has been entrusted with chairing the Research Steering Committee for the latest Neurodegenerative Diseases Plan, whose research component has been coordinated by the Neuroscience Multi-Organization Thematic Institute (Aviesan). Inserm and its Aviesan partners are also behind the Autism and NDD Scientific Interest Group, a national multidisciplinary consortium of 119 certified research teams that was created as part of the implementation of the National Autism and Neurodevelopment Disorders Strategy.
Learn more about the Neurodegenerative Diseases Plan (only available in French) and the National Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Strategy (only available in French)
Rare Diseases Plan
Inserm has participated in the various National Rare Diseases Plans (only available in French), most notably through the activities of its Orphanet infrastructures and Biobanks.
See also: Maladies rares : l’Inserm coordonne un programme européen d’ampleur inégalée (only available in French)