Their research projects explore, for example, the pathogenicity of infectious agents and interactions between hosts and pathogens and between food matrices and contaminants. They generate knowledge that supports epidemiological surveillance methodologies.
This work is not only an essential lever for maintaining the laboratories' cutting-edge activities in support of their reference and surveillance missions, but is also a decisive part of ANSES's expertise in the area of health risk assessment.
In order to guarantee the scientific excellence and efficiency of its national, European and international missions, the Agency has developed a proactive strategy for scientific partnerships with a wide range of public (research institutions, universities, counterpart organisations in other countries, European and international agencies, etc.) and private (technical institutes, professional federations, etc.) stakeholders to address scientific topics with a focus on health priorities.
The scientific partnerships developed by the Agency's laboratories aim to devise relevant research programmes on the basis of research questions identified at regional, national, European or international level. Through their research work, the Agency’s laboratories contribute to establishing close connections with the international scientific community specialising in health issues. These connections aim, among other things, to promote exchanges with regard to ongoing health events or health events likely to threaten France.
Training through research
The hosting of students (Master, PhD and post-doctoral students) is a major challenge, both to give momentum to research projects and scientific coordination in ANSES's laboratories, and to promote the emergence of new scientific expertise in the Agency's primary areas of work and with regard to risk assessment.
At any given point in time, ANSES supervises nearly 90 PhD theses, either on its own or jointly with scientific partners. In order to promote the implementation and hosting of doctoral projects meeting the Agency’s expectations and requirements in terms of scientific quality and alignment with its priorities and orientations, an internal call for projects is issued annually with a view to allocating co-funding.
Moreover, the Agency is particularly attentive to the quality of the supervision that its PhD students receive and strives to ensure that their training is successful. The PhD students supervised or jointly supervised by ANSES's scientists are therefore closely monitored, from the time they join the Agency to the defence of their thesis. The Agency also encourages its scientists to obtain an authorisation to supervise research, so that its laboratories include employees accredited to oversee PhD work.
Industrial use of the Agency’s discoveries and innovations
Defined by the French Act of 15 July 1982 on the orientation and planning of research, the policy for the use and transfer of public research technologies is supplemented by the French Innovation Act of 12 July 1999, which makes the exploitation of research results one of the missions of the State's services and public agencies.
Therefore, technology transfer is an extension of ANSES's missions. It enables the large-scale dissemination of necessary knowledge and tools in the areas of health and safety. This can take on various forms, from the publication of results in scientific journals to patent registration and exploitation.
ANSES's current technology transfer policy reconciles two imperatives:
- enabling results acquired as part of research and/or scientific and technical support work to be transferred for development purposes;
- maintaining the Agency’s independence from economic stakeholders, via clear partnership rules complying with the applicable ethical principles and avoiding any risk of placing the Agency in situations of conflicts of interest in relation to its different missions.