National programmes

To effectively involve researchers in the INSU's major priority objectives, the Institute runs programmes and projects spanning several years. These are co-funded by many different partners and cover the major component parts of the Earth's system and the Universe.

For more information on the INSU's programmes and calls for proposals please visit the dedicated site (in French).

Astronomy-Astrophysics Programmes

The INSU's Astronomy-Astrophysics department's scientific fields of study are divided into national programmes with specific action plans.

The purpose of each of the national programmes is to bring together all the actors in a disciplinary field and to provide scientific leadership. The national programmes are provided with means and resources by the INSU and its partners. There are currently seven such programmes:

Astrobiology (including exobiology and exoplanets) is a transversal subject involved in several of these national programmes.

Three specific projects (in French) currently cover transversal methodological fields. Like the national programmes, these work of these specific projects' is directed by a scientific council and they are provided with resources.

The heads of the specific projects and national programmes are invited to be members of the INSU's Astronomy-Astrophysics Commission.

The Solid Earth Programme: TelluS

TelluS is the INSU's major working programme in the Solid Earth field.

The main objective of this programme is to finance innovative projects in the field of Solid Earth and to encourage transdisciplinarity in French research. TelluS programme funding provides real leverage and allows project leaders to develop their projects sufficiently before making applications to the French National Research Agency (ANR) and/or Europe.

This programme consists of several projects corresponding to various themes in the Solid Earth fields as well as Inter-Institute calls for proposals:

The TelluS programme also includes the specific projects Artemis (for C14 measurement) and Colloquia (for the organisation of international conferences in France).

All these projects are supervised by a Thematic Committee in charge of evaluating responses to calls for proposals in the INSU's Solid Earth field of research and are provided with means and resources by the INSU and its partners.

The Ocean-Atmosphere Programme: Lefe

Lefe (in French) (Fluid Envelopes and the Environment) is the major programme in the INSU's Ocean-Atmosphere field of research.

The major aim of the national and inter-agency Lefe programme is to encourage and support original, multidisciplinary and transversal research into how the atmosphere and the ocean function along with their coupling and interactions with the other components of the climate system. This means that one of the programme's main study subjects is the evolution of the Earth system under anthropogenic pressure. The Lefe programme works by supporting innovative or innovative projects combining observations, numerical simulations and advanced instrumentation developed in laboratories.

Coordinated and managed by the INSU, Lefe is supported by Ademe, CEA, CNES, CNRS (INSU, INC, INP, INSMI), IFREMER,  INRIA, IRD, Météo-France, MTES and Mercator-Océan.

It is steered by a Scientific Council in conjunction with the Inter-Agency Committee made up of representatives from the partner organizations.

It works on 5 scientific project areas linked to the major international and European programmes:

  • Atmospheric chemistry (Chat)
  • Multiple interactions in the atmosphere, ice and the ocean (Imago)
  • Biogeochemical cycles, the environment and resources (Cyber)
  • Mathematical and digital methods (Manu)
  • The Mercator Coriolis mission group (GMMC)

For several years now, the Lefe programme has provided an interface with the EC2CO programme.

The Lefe programme brochure (in French)

The Continental Surfaces and Interfaces programme: EC2CO

The EC2CO programme (in French) (for the continental and coastal ecosphere) federates the scientific community to work on major environmental issues. This requires interdisciplinary approaches to interface subjects between hydrology, ecology and biogeochemistry such as the question of water resources, the contamination of water and land resources, coastline dynamics or the role played by microorganisms in the environment.

This programme particularly focuses on the different types of anthropogenic forcing on the continental and coastal ecospheres including the types of forcing caused by economic and social developments. The projects evaluated must demonstrate how they can play an innovative role in testing original and yet risky structuring questions, for example through network observation systems (SO, Soere, Zone Atelier, etc.). This is a prerequisite for the effective use of research results in the fields of public management and policies.

Projects can concern one or more thematic action areas. They have a maximum duration of 2 years. A final report must be submitted at the end of the project before making an application for a new project.

EC2CO is coordinated by the INSU and funded by the CNRS (INSU, InEE, INC and the Mission for Interdisciplinarity), ANDRA, BRGM, CNES, IFREMER, IFSTTAR, INRA, IRD, IRSTEA and Météo-France.

EC2CO is made up of three thematic action areas:

et d'un thème transversal :

National programme of space remote sensing (PNTS)

The PNTS programme (in French) is coordinated and managed by the INSU and financed by the INSU, the CNES, the IGN, the IRD and Météo-France. It is steered by a Scientific Council.

PNTS's objective is to develop uses of space remote sensing for the study of the Earth (characterization of the Earth's surface, interior and its fluid envelopes). This concerns Earth observation techniques and developments for the thematic use of data and products derived from these. The scientific disciplines concerned are the study of continental surfaces, ocean physics and biogeochemistry, the atmosphere, the solid earth, the cryosphere and the humanities. However this is not an exhaustive list.

PNTS finances exploratory studies which develop instruments that could be put into orbit in the future, measurement physics studies including modelling radiative transfer in soils, vegetation, ocean or the atmosphere, the development of new processing methods for instruments which have already been launched or are in the process of launching, the characterization of satellite products as compared with exogenous data and a particularly original use of space observation for a thematic application.

Conversely, the use of products from space observations obtained using proven methods is not a direct part of PNTS and must be offered to national programmes working on the theme concerned.

PNTS has reaffirmed its position on research related to methodological developments or using innovative space data.

PNTS is organized around four main scientific areas (in French):

  •  Measurement physics
  • Signal processing
  • Instrumentation and space missions
  • Specific opportunities

The Mistrals and Arctic research initiatives

The aim of the Mistrals and Arctic research projects is to promote long-term (ten-year) multidisciplinary research and major measurement missions in these environments which are particularly sensitive to global change and the human footprint. The more specific aim underpinning this work is to assess their future development in terms of their impact on the sustainability of the climate and resources required by humanity.