To respond to the major global issues inherent to its scientific themes, the INSU works on numerous collaboration projects at European and international levels through a set of cooperation agreements, infrastructures and joint programmes that ensure its presence is felt on all continents.

A major player in European research

The INSU enhances its visibility on the European scale while promoting scientific excellence, competitiveness, innovation and cooperation in Europe through its involvement in many projects supported by the Horizon 2020 programme,

107 ERC grant winners
10 H2020 projects steered by the INSU
9 European infrastructures

The INSU has a strong presence in European consortia through the Horizon 2020 programmes involving societal challenges, the Space programme, infrastructures or Marie Sklodowska-Curie grants. Nearly 90 collaborative projects are underway in all INSU units.
In addition, INSU researchers are strongly involved in ERC (European Research Council) calls for proposals. Here is the list of ERC grant winners (in French) working in INSU laboratories.

The European Research Area

Since the 2000s, the European Union has been working diligently to set up a European Research Area (ERA) to promote the free movement of researchers, scientific knowledge and technologies and Europe-wide research cooperation projects. The INSU's activities are fully in line with this context through its participation in successive Framework Programmes for Research and Technological Development.

European research infrastructures

The scientific themes which the INSU works on require the use, development and sharing of European research infrastructures and access to these. They are supported within the framework of the ESFRI and/or Horizon 2020 roadmaps. Their national components are presented in the National Roadmap for French Research Infrastructures. Other projects are forerunners of future infrastructures or projects aimed at integrating one or more European infrastructures.

ESFRI Infrastructures

  • ACTRIS (Aerosols, Clouds, and Trace gases Research InfraStructure network)
  • CTA (Cherenkov Telescope Array)
  • E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope)
  • EMSO (European Multidisciplinary Seafloor and water-column Observatory)
  • EPOS (European Plate Observing system)
  • IAGOS (In-service Aircraft for a Global Observing System)
  • ICOS (Integrated Carbon Observation System)

Forerunners of future infrastructures

  • eLTER (European Long-Term Ecosystem research Network)
  • EU-FAR (European Facility for Airborne Research)

Projects to integrate infrastructures

  • ASTERICS (Astronomy ESFRI and Research Infrastructure Cluster)
  • EUROCHAMP (Integration of European Simulation Chambers for Investigating Atmospheric Processes)
  • JERICO (Joint European Research Infrastructure Network for Coastal Observatories)
  • OPTICON (Optical Infrared Co-ordination Network for astronomy)
  • SeaDataCloud (Further developing the pan-European infrastructure for marine and ocean data management)

Strategic agendas and international programmes

Participating in European and international prospective studies, strategic agendas, programmes and networks have become essential to help define the major scientific directions required to respond effectively to global challenges.

As an extension of its national missions, the INSU coordinates or participates in joint programming actions, the development of strategic agendas and prospective studies at the European level (in particular within the framework of Horizon 2020) and in international programmes.
Among these networks, Joint Programming Initiatives (JPIs) aim to establish a strategic agenda on a European scale to respond to major societal challenges. They constitute the general framework for coordinating calls for joint projects between European funding agencies.


  • JPI Climat (Joint Programming Initiative on Climate)
  • ERA4CS (European research Area for Climate Services) - Joint call for proposals


  • JPI Ocean (Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans)


Work carried out in the framework of nine H2020 projects and one FP7 project is helping to construct the EU Arctic cluster, a network that collects the most recent results on Arctic change and its global consequences. Its objective is to provide policy-relevant guidance and information and to enable Europe to help international cooperation advance, respond to the impacts of climate change on the Arctic environment and promote and contribute to sustainable development. (Video in French)


  • ERANET-MED (Euro-Mediterranean Cooperation through ERANET Joint Activities and Beyond) - Joint call for proposals
  • BLUEMED (Research and Innovation Initiative for blue jobs and growth in the Mediterranean area) - Strategic agenda

Solid Earth

  • ERA-MIN (European Research Area on non-energy MINeral resources) - Strategic agenda and joint call for proposals

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Global change

  • ERA-Planet (European network to coordinate Earth Observation for our changing planet) - Joint call for proposals
  • Future Earth - Programming

Future Earth

Future Earth is an international research programme which has been running for 10 years. Its aim is to enhance knowledge on the environmental and human aspects of global change and find solutions for sustainable development.

Collaboration projects on all continents

In close collaboration with the CNRS European Research and International Cooperation Department (Derci), the INSU develops cooperation agreements in all areas of Earth and Universe sciences with numerous partners in other countries.

These agreements enable researchers and laboratories to exchange with the best international teams to access fields and objects for study on the scale of the planet or even the Universe.

4 international joint units
12 international research programmes
6 international research networks
35 international scientific cooperation programmes
31 joint research projects

he INSU is now present on all continents through around 80 international cooperation projects with varying levels of structuring which are funded by the Institute.

Map of the INSU's international projects

The example of Takuvik, the international Franco-Canadian laboratory

Takuvik was set up in 2011 by Laval University and the CNRS and aims to study the Arctic environment and especially the impact of current climatic and anthropogenic environmental disturbances on Arctic, marine and terrestrial ecosystems and geosystems.

The Europe and international Service

To respond effectively to these challenges, INSU has set up a team dedicated to Europe and the International sphere within the Scientific Partnerships Department.

The Europe and International service supports the INSU's directors and takes part in the implementation of scientific policy for all INSU research subjects and laboratories using a wide range of tools (Horizon 2020 calls for proposals, joint programming, bi- or multilateral agreements, international programmes) in all geographical areas.

The service's missions

More specifically the Europe and international service's missions are to:

  • Set up and implement European projects steered by the INSU's directors (European infrastructure projects, geographical and thematic ERANETs, etc.)
  • Provide monitoring, information dissemination and advice services for researchers
  • Facilitate the INSU laboratories' participation in Horizon 2020 through its role in GTNs (National Thematic Groups)
  • Coordinate support actions for ERC candidates (assistance with writing applications and preparation for oral examinations for Starting and Consolidator call candidates)
  • Act as an interface with Derci and CNRS offices abroad
  • Support the creation of international structures and agreements