The University of Rennes, a Research-Intensive University

Research is a priority for the University of Rennes and its affiliated Grandes Écoles

Our shared policy, jointly built in close cooperation with national research partners, is to develop fundamental and disciplinary research excellence, by promoting the emergence of innovative high-risk projects, by providing modern support infrastructures, and by encouraging cross-disciplinary and partner-oriented research to address the societal challenges of today and tomorrow in connection with the major transitions: environmental, digital and global health.

Strategic Areas for Research in the 2022-2027 Contract

First Key Objective: Affirm the signature and scientific leadership of the University of Rennes around the three interdisciplinary transitions: environment, digital and global health

In partnership with national research organisations, the University of Rennes is building on its areas of excellence to increase the academic, socio-economic and international influence of the Rennes site around three major transitions based on a selected set of distinctive multidisciplinary themes:

  • Public policies
  • Natural resources and sustainable ecosystems
  • Strategic materials
  • Secure and citizen-oriented digital society
  • Sustainable and intelligent territories and networks
  • Digital health technologies
  • Health: from molecules to people

Second Key Objective: Develop innovative research recognised at the highest international level for the benefit of society

With its several internationally recognised sectors of excellence in research, the new institution is determined to further strengthen the scientific potential of the site, in particular through the implementation of the IRIS-E project proposed within the framework of the French government's PIA4 Investments for the Future Programme, in support of its activity related to the environmental transition. The consolidation of links with national research organisations, which characterises the governance and organisation of the University of Rennes into research centres (see below), is an asset in this respect.

Five Research Clusters

To ensure the dynamic management and coordination of its major research and innovation fields in a coherent and complementary way with the other fields of excellence of the site, the University of Rennes and its partners deployed five research centres in 2021:

  • Biology-Health
  • Environment
  • Materials
  • Mathematics-Digital Technology
  • Humanities and Social Sciences

These areas directly echo the research fields in which the HCERES (High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education) calls on universities to organise, lead and steer the overall strategy of a research university.

By federating the joint research units (UMR), research units (UR) and joint service units/research support units (UMS/UAR) of which the University of Rennes is a stakeholder with the national research organisations, in connection with the corresponding doctoral schools, these five centres are intended to be key places for consultation and coordination in order to deepen collective strategic reflection, develop new thematic projects and encourage complementarity, synergy, collaboration and multidisciplinarity between the teams. In other words, these five centres contribute directly to the overall definition of the scientific strategy of our institutions.

Research activities at the University of Rennes are carried out by 34 highly structured units of necessary critical size, in particular through a very strong partnership with the major research organisations (CNRS, INSERM, INRIA, INRAE). As a result, almost 90% of the university's lecturers, professors, researchers and PhD students carry out their research in joint units with these major organisations.

Platforms and Partnerships

The university has made the development of large-scale scientific platforms and their visibility at regional, national and international levels one of the priorities of its scientific policy. By pooling equipment and human resources, the purpose of these platforms is to provide very high-level technological resources to a community of users. The majority of these platforms are part of an approach to pool resources within federative research structures (UMS CNRS and INSERM) and shared services.

Partner-oriented research with industrial and socio-economic players is another of the university's priorities. This is reflected in framework agreements with major groups and eight joint university-industry laboratories.

The numerous partnerships between the research units of the University of Rennes and international academic partners are illustrated in particular within 21 Associated International Laboratories (IRP ex. LIA) and Research Groups (GDR), co-sponsored with the CNRS and INSERM.