Agricultural, dietary, ecological, and energy transitions have increased the need for innovation to achieve a better, more sustainable way of life for our societies. As a targeted research organisation, one of Inra’s top priorities is to propose groundbreaking innovations and transition support through its broad range of themes and disciplines.
Ampoule-label HR

We firmly believe in the collaborative creation of value, carried out hand in hand with academic partners, technical R&D institutes, stakeholders from the public and private sectors, and members of the general public.
This productive and effective framework makes it possible to match our research with the needs of partners, test solutions more quickly in the field and/or on the market, and accelerate the transfer of knowledge and its application in all types of innovation.

Innovation at INRAE is structured into 4 priorities and 15 actions

Priority A: Strengthen research partnerships with socio-economic stakeholders

- Offer socio-economic stakeholders skills and breakthrough scientific and technological solutions in 15 areas of innovation.

- Expand the creation of public-private structures with an emphasis on associated partnership laboratories (in French only) with socio-economic stakeholders.

- Make the Carnot Institutes the cornerstone of our policy of dialogue and partnership with companies.

- Encourage and support INRAE’s involvement in open innovation processes.

Priority B: Capitalise on research results

- Propose new forms of transfer for serious games and digital products

- Assess the potential value and impact of research findings and systematise the use of impact assessment methods for all forms of transfer and capitalisation.

- Support proofs-of-concept for projects with innovation potential and make the INRAE pre-development fund a lever for co-financing maturation.

- Develop technology transfer

Priority C: Entrepreneurship and business creation as drivers of innovation in agriculture, food and the environment

- Offer entrepreneurship training courses for doctoral students, post-doctoral students and researchers in the process of creating a business

- Identify and initiate business development projects in the areas of agriculture, food and the environment

- Support and strengthen our ecosystem to offer start-ups every chance of success 108 start-up  (in French only) in 17 years, 41 companies created and still active.

Priority D: Develop our culture of innovation and impact

- Develop best practices in partnership engineering

- Develop skills in the ‘business’ of innovation

- Raise awareness among research communities on partnerships, innovation promotion and impa

> Practical example #1: five Carnot institutes coordinated by INRAE for partner-based research activities and examples of business innovation initiatives

The Carnot institutes are public research structures accredited by the French Ministry of Research. These structures are strongly committed to conducting and developing partner-based research activities for business innovation - from SME to large corporations - and socio-economic stakeholders.

The five Carnot institutes coordinated by INRAE facilitate and spur collaboration between researchers and industrial partners. Encouraged by the National Research Agency (ANR) and the General Commissariat for Investment, they have joined competitive clusters and are potential key partners in the deployment of Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KIC) being developed throughout Europe and in which INRAE is a stakeholder.

- Qualiment
- France Futur Elevage
- Eau & Environnement
- Plant2Pro

With the aim of consolidating these partnership schemes, INRAE is concurrently developing other ways of fostering joint projects with socio-economic partners on the same site and the same topic. Examples include joint technological units, living-labs, business chairs, and joints laboratories.

Like the Carnot institutes, these schemes aim to improve the pertinence of partnership projects, the transfer of knowledge and their adaptation to innovations, and develop the skills of those involved.



The five Carnot institutes supported by INRAE (in French only)

> Practical example #2: two subsidiaries to promote and protect innovation

Since publishing its intellectual property charter in 2003, INRAE has been involved in the management of this open heritage. Consequently, it has created two private companies over which it retains complete control and that it uses to transfer innovations of industrial and commercial significance (including the negotiation of license agreements):

  • INRAE Transfer to capitalize on the many different forms of INRAE’s expertise through the transfer of agronomic research findings to the private sector
  • Agri-Obtentions to promote and protect new plant varieties developed by INRAE

> Practical example #3: business creation as a vector of innovation and impact

Building on its subsidiary INRAE Transfert, the Institute aids in business creation and supports start-ups wishing to use the Institute’s scientific and technological skills towards their development, by i) sharing the cost of research with its laboratories; ii) offering accommodation (laboratories, offices) and facilitating access to equipment; iii) granting preferential conditions for the transfer of findings.

Awareness-raising and training activities on business creation (innovation pathways, start-up webinars, entrepreneurship pathways and an e-learning platform) are offered to researchers, doctoral students and post-doctoral students. The Institute also finances pre-development projects and assists entrepreneurs in exploring the market and building their offer.



- INRAE start-up (in French only)

> Practical example #4: ASIRPA, more than 60 case studies of innovation that has impacted society

Designing innovation that generates an impact on society is foundational in INRAE’s mission as a public institution of targeted research. Assessing the impact of its research is essential for INRAE in order to report on this mission. Nearly 60 case studies were carried out using the ASIRPA approach (Analysis of the Impacts of Public Agronomic Research) to analyse the impact trajectory ex post.

Findings have led to the development of a complementary approach to real-time impact analysis, as an aid in the conduct of research projects and programmes to enhance and accelerate impacts. The approach is unique in that strives to provide tools that researchers can use directly to steer their research in real time towards the desired societal impacts. This enables both the acculturation of teams and iterative improvement of the tools. On-line training courses are available to help expand this impact culture within the Institute.



- ASIRPA presentation (in French only)
- ASIRPA website

> Practical example #5: new awareness-raising initiatives to develop innovation and impact culture

After partnership reform at INRAE was launched following the “Partnership, Transfer, and Innovation tour” held at centres in France between 2016-2018, a new “PTI tour” followed in 2021 in the form of webinars to raise awareness among researchers about partnership, transfer and innovation challenges and best practices and to publicise the network of business experts who support researchers in transferring and developing their results.

The format includes webinars on topics like partnership-based research, declarations of inventions and valuable results, intellectual property, (pre)maturation and transfer and company creation). These are developed jointly with support ecosystems, including partnership services at centres, technology transfer accelerator companies (SATT), development services at universities/schools, and incubators. Created in 2020, Share & Learn webinars were an opportunity for over 400 INRAE research and research support staff to learn more about socio-economic partnerships, innovation promotion and business creation in 2020 and 2021, with an average of 70 participants per session.



- Partnerships and transfer for innovation: key figures 2020 (in French only)

> Practical example #6:  promoting INRAE employee involvement

INRAE wishes to support its innovation policy by promoting the involvement of its employees in partnerships and innovation, paying special attention to the various sections and criteria mentioned in the assessment reports during individual and group assessments.

Training initiatives are being concomitantly rolled out for all those involved in innovation (especially partnership project design managers and innovation officers) to assert and reinforce their fields of expertise.

Modification date : 19 February 2024 | Publication date : 04 June 2018 | Redactor : DRH - Service Attractivité et communication RH