French establishments with international dimension [fr]

The majority of French research organizations have an international policy that is supported by their scientific cooperation agreements which manage researcher mobility and expertise exchange.
A number of research organizations, such as CNRS and INSERM, have taken a step further and have created structures (physical or virtual) which allow for a better exchange between French and international researchers. The following are some examples of structures set up by CNRS (For more information, visit the website of the CNRS Directorate for International Relations.


International Joint Units (UMI)

An International Joint Unit (UMI) is a laboratory located in France or abroad and which consists of teams of French and foreign researchers who work together on a full-time basis. UMIs are usually characterized by the following features:

  • Operational Structure for Research (SOR) without a legal status
  • Brings together research organizations from different countries
  • Funding and equipment allocated by the parties involved
  • Conducts joint research in a defined field of research
  • Located in one specific site
  • Duration: 4 years, renewable by amendment.

How to create a UMI? In the case where a scientific cooperation is already well structured and where the French and foreign researchers involved are in agreement to create a joint laboratory, a request to create an international joint unit can be submitted. A UMI brings together researchers, students, post-doctoral fellows and technicians all assigned by CNRS and the partner institutions. The UMI may be located in either France or the partner country and is established for four years with the possibility of two renewals. The request to create a UMI can be submitted by the future director of the unit at any time, both to CNRS and the partner institution.

4 UMI are currently in place in Canada :

  • the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) in the University of Victoria
  • the Centre de Recherches Mathématiques (CRM) in the Université de Montréal
  • the Laboratoire de Nanotechnologie Nanosystèmes (LN2) in the Université Sherbrooke
  • the Takuvik unit in Arctic Sciences in université Laval

International Associated Laboratories (LIA)

An LIA is a “laboratory without walls” and is not a legal entity. It is an association of teams of researchers from a CNRS-affiliated laboratory and a laboratory from a partner country. These laboratories pool together human and material resources towards a common, jointly defined project designed to add value to their individual pursuits. A LIA agreement lasts four years and can be renewed once.
The laboratories comprising an LIA retain their autonomy, status, governance and their separate locations. This type of collaboration does not require an expatriation of the researchers involved in the project. An LIA receives an earmarked funding from CNRS and the partner institution for equipment, general operations, travel, associate researcher positions, etc. It is coordinated by two co-principal investigators who draw up the research program and submit it to the steering committee for approval. The committee is composed of representatives of the two partner institutions as well as established scientists outside the LIA.

When to apply for an LIA? Proposals for the creation of an LIA may be filed at any time with the International Officer of the CNRS institute in question.

Who makes the decision to approve an LIA? The decision to create an LIA is made by CNRS and its partner institution. When the proposal is accepted, an agreement is signed Director General of CNRS and the supervisory board of the partner institution.

4 LIA are currently in place in Canada :

  • The Laboratoire International sur les Technologies et Applications des plasmas (LITAP) in INRS in Montréal
  • The forêts MONTAgnardes et BORéales - chronoécologie et aménagement écosystémique durable laboratory (MONTABOR) in UQAM, Montréal
  • The Laboratoire International Franco-Québécois de Recherche en Combinatoire (LIRCO) in UQAM, Montréal
  • The Centre International de Recherche sur les ESClavages : Acteurs, Systèmes, Représentations [(CIRESC)- http://www.esclavages.cnrs.fr/] in York University, Toronto


International Research Network (GDRI)

A GDRI is a research network, without a legal status, set up for a duration of four years with the possibility of renewal. A GDRI brings together several laboratories from two or more countries to coordinate research on a defined theme. GDRI program funding covers mobility, information exchange, seminars and workshops.
The GDRI is overseen by a scientific management committee chaired by a coordinator and composed of representatives from the laboratories involved. It submits regular reports on its activity to a steering committee. The steering committee is composed of one representative from each partner institution, other than the laboratory personnel. Once a GDRI is approved, an agreement is signed by the CNRS Director General and the parent institutions of the laboratories in the GDRI.

When to apply for a GDRI? Proposal for a GDRI can be filed at any time with the International Officer of the CNRS institute in question. Approval of a proposed GDRI is made by CNRS and its French and foreign partner institutions.

5 GDRI are currently in place in Canada :

  • Exposition aux contaminants chimiques et effets écotoxicologiques le long du continuum milieu continental-milieu côtier (EXECO) in Montréal
  • Knowledge Interactions Decisions (KID) in Montréal
  • Dynamique de la biodiversité et traits d’histoire de vie in Sherbrooke
  • Oeuvres, Publics et Société (OPUS2) in UQAM, Montréal
  • Nano- and Micro-systems (NAMIS) in Polytechnics Montreal


International programs for scientific cooperation (PICS)

In situations where cooperation with a foreign partner is well-established, and has resulted in joint publications in scientific journals, it is possible to formalize the relationship through PICS. This is a more involved form of cooperation than a plain exchange of researchers in that it is based on pre-existing joint research, and has a longer time frame.

It brings together two research teams and the participation of young researchers (Ph.D.s and postdocs) is encouraged.

What is a PICS? A PICS is a joint research program aimed at supporting joint research projects carried out by two teams, one from CNRS and one from abroad. Funding required by the cooperation to support exchanges comes from both partners.

How long does a PICS last ? Three years, non renewable.

Who can submit a proposal ? In France, CNRS researchers, as well as academic staff from other institutions who work in CNRS-affiliated research units.
Outside France, researchers and academic staff from a research organization or university.

9 PICS are currently running in Canada.


Update on March 5th, 2013

Dernière modification : 05/03/2013

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