Inserm Ethics Committee

The purpose of the Inserm Ethics Committee (IEC) is to be a fully-fledged stakeholder in the dialog between the scientific and medical research community and society. It facilitates consideration of the ethical questions raised by medical-scientific and health research as it is carried out at Inserm.

It supports the Institute’s staff in identifying and incorporating ethical questions into their projects from the design stage. These aspects make it a unique body, distinct from France’s National Consultative Ethics Committee (CCNE).


The main missions of the Ethics Committee are to:

  • lead and develop consideration of the ethical aspects associated with research practices
  • anticipate, through observational and advisory work, how innovative research will be carried out and how it should be supported ethically, particularly in terms of its impact and consequences
  • raise research staff awareness of the importance of ethics in order to ensure a fair balance between their intellectual freedom and their duties to the Institute and to society
  • produce recommendations on the rules relating to research ethics and conduct, in line with the researchers’ responsibility to the Institute and to society, particularly in their evaluation and promotion of research, and expertise
  • include Inserm’s various partners in joint reflection on the major public health themes arising from the choices made by society
  • facilitate universal adoption of the issues of responsible ethical reflection, through local initiatives, major institutional events, and the dissemination of knowledge
  • contribute to the organization of public debates, and if necessary instigate them, in the emerging fields of biomedical innovation

The Inserm Ethics Committee may be consulted by all Inserm staff, through the scientific bodies, or by the Directorate General. It may also decide to consider an issue unilaterally.


The Inserm Ethics Committee is made up of about twenty members who are appointed for a renewable three-year period.

At least half of the committee members have no direct affiliation with Inserm, and about half are neither biologists nor doctors. Male-female parity is ensured.

The members’ fields of expertise are complementary and cover biomedical research in human subjects, animal experimentation, healthcare product and procedure regulation, as well as health economics and sociology. The committee includes French-speakers from outside France.

President: Hervé Chneiweiss


  • Henri Atlan (École des hautes études en sciences sociales – Physiology and philosophy)
  • Bernard Baertschi (University of Geneva – Philosophy)
  • Bertrand Bed’Hom (National Museum of Natural History – Animal genetics and evolutionary genomics)
  • François Bompart (Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) – Vaccinology and research in the South)
  • Catherine Bourgain (Cermes 3 – Epidemiological genetics and social sciences)
  • Anne Buisson (Association François Aupetit – Patients’ associations)
  • Hervé Chneiweiss (Inserm/CNRS – Neuroscience and bioethics)
  • Anne Dubart-Kupperschmitt (Inserm – Stem cell biology, gene and cell therapy)
  • François Eisinger (Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Marseille – Genetics, characterization and risk management)
  • Marie Grosset (Magistrate and teacher in public health law – Public law)
  • François Hirsch (Inserm – Immunology, research in the South)
  • Pierre Jouannet (University of Paris Descartes – Reproductive biology and Academy of Medicine)
  • Pierre Lombrail (University of Sorbonne Paris Nord – Public Health)
  • Séverine Mathieu (Ecole pratique des hautes études-PSL – Sociology of religions and ethics)
  • Jennifer Merchant (University of Panthéon-Assas Paris II – Comparative public policies and bioethical issues)
  • Grégoire Moutel (University of Normandy, CHU Caen, Espace régional éthique – Legal medicine, medical ethics)
  • Israël Nisand (University of Strasbourg – Obstetrics and European Bioethics Forum)
  • Isabelle Remy-Jouet (Inserm – Sustainable development and eco-responsibility in research)
  • Corinne Sébastiani (Inserm – Clinical trials, research in the South)
  • Catherine Vidal (Institut Pasteur – Neuroscience and ethics)
  • Samuel Vidal (Institut Claude Bourgelat and VetAgro Sup, Lyon – Animal experimentation)

Permanent guests

  • Marion Abecassis (lawyer specialized in life sciences)
  • Fabian Docagne (Inserm, manager of the Science and Society Department)
  • Christine Dosquet (AP, president of the Inserm Ethics Evaluation Committee)
  • Ghislaine Filliatreau (Inserm, Research Integrity Officer)
  • Laurent Fleury (Inserm, manager of the Collective Expert Reviews)
  • Teodora Yovkova (Inserm, Data Protection Officer)
  • Flavie Mathieu (Inserm, Science and Society Department, manager of the College of Reviewers)
  • Brigitte Rault (Inserm, manager of the Ethics and Animal Models Office in the Infrastructures Unit)

Support mission

  • General secretary: Christine Lemaitre (Inserm, Cell Biology, Development and Evolution Theme-Based Institute)
  • Assistant: Yamina Sadani (Inserm, Parlementary missions, Inserm Ethics Committee and History Committee)


Memos and communications

The Inserm Ethics Committee may be consulted on, or may itself decide to consider, ethical questions raised by research as it is conducted within the Institute. Following deliberation, it issues opinions in the form of memos that may evolve in response to new contributions.

Consult the Ethics Committee memos

Theme-Based Think Tanks

The Inserm Ethics Committee is organized into several Theme-Based Think Tanks. These themes continue to evolve in response to the issues raised by research.

Consult the work of the Theme-Based Think Tanks


The Ethics Committee holds theme-based workshops bringing together its members and foreign experts. It also holds an annual one-day workshop focusing on a theme raised by research conducted at Inserm.