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 fifteen members who are appointed for a renewable three-year period.

At least half of the committee members have no direct affiliation with Inserm, and at least 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 – Biology and philosophy)
  • Bernard Baertschi (Université de Genève – Moral and ethical philosophy of biotechnologies)
  • Bertrand Bed’Hom (Museum national d’Histoire naturelle – Animal behavior)
  • Mylène Botbol-Baum (Université catholique de Louvain, Belgique – Bioethics and philosophy)
  • Catherine Bourgain (Cermes 3 – Human genetics and statistics, participatory research)
  • Anne Buisson (Association François Aupetit – Patient association representative)
  • Hervé Chneiweiss (Inserm/CNRS – Neuroethics)
  • Hélène Combrisson (École nationale vétérinaire, Maisons-Alfort – Veterinary medicine)
  • Anne Dubart-Kupperschmitt (Inserm – Stem cell biology, gene and cell therapies)
  • François Eisinger (Institut Paoli-Calmettes, Marseille – Genetics)
  • Marie Grosset (judge and teacher in public health law)
  • François Hirsch (Inserm – Ethics of life sciences, ethics of research in Southern countries)
  • Pierre Jouannet (Université Paris 5 – Human fertility and reproduction)
  • Pierre Lombrail (Université Paris 13 – Public health)
  • Jennifer Merchant (Université Paris 2 – Bioethical challenges of compared public policies)
  • Grégoire Moutel (Université de Normandie, CHU Caen, Espace régional éthique – Forensic medicine, medical ethics)
  • Israël Nisand (Université de Strasbourg – Forum européen de bioéthique – Reproductive biology)
  • Isabelle Remy-Jouet (Inserm – Quality assurance, health technologies)
  • Corinne Sébastiani (Inserm – Clinical trials, innovative therapies, research in Southern countries)
  • Catherine Vidal (Institut Pasteur – Neurobiology, sexe and gender in research)

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)
  • 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.