Research Programs

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.

Booster Programs

In line with its missions, Inserm is developing collaborative scientific programs on emerging research topics with the objective of creating a new dynamic in innovative fields by developing complementary skills to explore research niches that have not yet been studied. 

Booster programs aim to combine the Institute’s strengths and enable the creation of consortia of research teams with complementary skills, in order to promote the development of groundbreaking interdisciplinary work that a single laboratory would not be able to carry out on its own. These programs are the first steps towards larger national or European programs and aim to accelerate the acquisition, transfer and valorization of knowledge, possibly by integrating industrial or clinical players from their outset.

Programs already launched from 2016 to 2018

(under the name « Cross-Cutting Scientific Programs »)

Booster Programs to be launched from 2023

To find out more about Inserm’s impulse programs (in French)

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.

France 2030-funded research programs

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:

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.

For more information, visit the program’s website

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, visite the program’s website

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.

For more information, visite the program’s website

Women’s Health, Couples’ Health PEPR

As part of France 2030, the French government has entrusted Inserm with the task of managing the « Women’s health, couples’ health » research program, designed to enable the implementation of the relevant research initiatives set out in the National Strategy Against Endometriosis and the Report on the Causes of Infertility – Towards a National Strategy to Combat Infertility.

The ambition of this program is to increase knowledge on the causes and mechanisms of infertility and endometriosis, and to further structure the French community in all the research fields involved: fundamental biology, clinical, epidemiology and human and social sciences.

Read more

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.

See also:

Organs and Organoids on Chips Exploratory PEPR (MED-OOC)

Co-led with CEA and CNRS, this exploratory research program aims to lay the foundations for the medicine of the future by developing a new generation of organs and organoids on chips capable of mimicking as closely as possible the physiology or pathology of a patient’s organ. The ultimate goal is to use this technology for personalized medicine, in particular by providing unprecedented information on patients’ individual response to a given treatment.

Cellular Identity and Destiny Exploratory PEPR (Cell-ID)

Co-led with the CNRS, this exploratory research program aims, in the long term, to promote progress in France in the extremely promising field of « interception » cellular medicine, i.e. medicine capable of diagnosing pathologies at cellular level, even before symptoms appear, and anticipating their treatment. To achieve this, an essential prerequisite is to understand how cell fate choices contribute to the normal development of an organism, and how their aberrations can lead to a pathological situation. To this end, Cell-ID PEPR will develop innovative technologies at the level of the individual cell, making it possible to understand more precisely when, how and why a cell deviates from its normal destiny to produce a pathological situation, and ultimately to be able to identify cell signatures predictive of disease.

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

See also:

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)