Consisting of a group of individuals followed up separately over time, cohorts aim to identify the occurrence of health events of interest, together with associated risk factors or protective factors. Cohorts are one of the reference instruments for epidemiological and public health research.

A cohort study is based on compliance with a pre-defined protocol, on data collection and (active or passive) patient follow-up procedures, enabling the onset of the health events of interest to be identified without any biases.

Cohorts are one of the reference instruments for epidemiological and public health research. The Ministry of Higher Education and Research has identified them as research infrastructures, thus recognizing their utility to the public health research community, and, more broadly speaking, to biomedical research in general.

Inserm sponsors or manages the organization of more than 70 cohorts.

The Cellule de coordination nationale des cohortes (CCNC, national cohort coordination unit)

Since March 2009, Inserm has been running a national cohort coordination unit (CCNC) within the Aviesan alliance multi-organization theme-based institute on Public Health, led in partnership with the Public Health Research Institute (IReSP). This unit aims to provide services (methodological support, legal assistance, working groups, etc.) to cohorts financed by public funds, and to facilitate shared access to data from these cohorts, for all scientific communities to which this may be of interest.