The University of Rennes, a research-intensive university

Research is a priority for the University of Rennes and its component institutions.

Our shared policy, closely co-constructed with national research partners, is to develop excellence in fundamental and disciplinary research, by promoting the emergence of innovative and high-risk projects, by providing modern support infrastructures, and by encouraging transdisciplinary and partnership research to address the societal challenges of today and tomorrow in relation to 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 in 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 and technologies for health
  • Health: from molecule to population

Second key objective: To develop research recognised at the highest international level and innovative for the benefit of society

Already having 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 in the framework of the PIA 4 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.

5 research clusters

To ensure a dynamic management and animation 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 have deployed 5 research centres in 2021:

  • Biology - Health
  • Environment
  • Materials
  • Mathematics - Digital
  • Human, Organisational and Social Sciences

These areas directly echo the "research fields" in which the Hcéres 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 conjunction with the corresponding doctoral schools - these five centres are intended to be the preferred places for consultation and coordination in order to deepen the collective strategic reflection to bring out new thematic projects and to encourage complementarities, synergies and collaborations between the teams as well as multidisciplinarity. In other words, these 5 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 sufficient critical size, in particular through a very strong partnership with the major research organisations (CNRS, Inserm, Inria, INRAE). In fact, nearly 90% of the university's 1,700 teacher-researchers and researchers and 1,000 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. Intended to offer, by grouping equipment and human resources, very high level technological resources to a community of users, the majority of these platforms are part of a mutualisation approach within federative research structures (UMS CNRS and INSERM) or common services.

Partnership research with industrial and socio-economic players is another of the university's priorities; this is reflected in framework agreements with major groups and 8 joint laboratories.

The numerous collaborations of the research units of the University of Rennes with 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.