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International Associated Laboratories

Three International Associative Laboratories (LIA) are consolidating long-term academic research links with Canadian and German teams.

A LIA is a "virtual laboratory" that brings together one or more IFSTTAR research teams and one or more research teams from another country around a jointly agreed project.

These laboratories pool human and material resources in order to carry out their scientific work. The relationship between the two partners is formalized by an agreement signed by the heads of the two organizations.


    IFSTTAR maintains very close ties with Canada, in particular the region of Quebec, in the area of transportation research.

    In 2016 the ECOMAT (France-Canada) bilateral "virtual" laboratory was launched; it deals with innovative sustainable materials for civil engineering. The laboratory was created after about ten years of partnerships in response to societal demand and focuses on academic and applied subjects related to sustainable development in the broadest sense.

    The main objective of the ECOMAT LIA is to foster the stepping-up of training, applied research and innovation in the field of Eco-materials for construction with a view to reducing their environmental and health impacts. Through this partnership, the Sherbrooke University and IFSTTAR will have the opportunity to compare and promote their research and training activities, and to create an international network of excellence around eco-materials.

    This partnership provides considerable research capabilities, as well as laboratories and facilities which are appropriate for the theme at the Marne-La Vallée, Nantes and Sherbrooke sites. Ultimately, it will lead to the harmonization of European and North American standards on these materials. It will also provide a means of training highly qualified staff in the field of eco-materials.

    The ECOMAT LIA also aims to pass on its research findings to the economic world and set up partnerships in both Canada and France with infrastructure managers and industrial groups in the civil engineering and construction materials sector.

    UdS Press release

    Article in the Huffington Post 

  • Ilab-Spine

    The Ilab-Spine, a CNRS LIA (France - Canada), is the outcome of unprecedented synergy between specialists in biomechanics and physicians who are all involved in studying the cervical spine. It has received support from the AMIDEX excellence initiative.

    Ilab-Spine is the result of 10 years of collaboration between IFSTTAR, AMU, CNRS, AP-HM, EPM, HSJ, ETS and HSCM.

    The activities are carried out at the Aix-Marseille and Montreal sites. 

    Launched in 2015, the Ilab-Spine LIA conducts research into the biomechanics of the human body and finite element modelling of the spine.

    The activities of the iLab-SPINE LIA regarding the biomechanics of spinal traumas and pathologies aim to provide high-quality scientific results and develop important economic partnerships. All the parties thus wish to pursue their collaboration and strengthen it over the coming years, in particular through a joint research promotion and scheduling strategy, conducting projects with shared funding, a strategy for pooling their research infrastructures and by exchanging researchers and students.




    DISTRANS (Distributive Trade and Transport) is an International Associative Laboratory (LIA) formed by DLR (Germany) and IFSTTAR. On 1 January 2014 it created a joint project that officially brought together expertise that was already being shared on the distribution of goods for trade.

    The purpose of this LIA is to develop a collaborative programme of comparative research bringing together the "Productive Systems, Logistics, Transport Organisation and Work" research laboratory at IFSTTAR and the DLR's "Institute for Transport Research" in Berlin (hereafter referred to as "IVF").

    The scientific project of DISTRANS has three main themes:

    • - The determinants of the transportation choices made by businesses;
    • - The spatial models used by distributors: the transport implications of the location in France and Germany of retail outlets and their distribution centres; 
    • - The impact of certain developments and public actions on the organisation of distribution channels and their consequences in terms of transport.

    The pooling of human and material resources has made it possible to create a research project that stems directly from the work of DISTRANS: "H2020 City Lab".  Citylab aims to set up living labs to tackle new urban logistics issues. IFSTTAR and DLR have endeavoured to ensure that the challenges posed by logistical sprawl, which are within the scope of DISTRANS, are included in the project.

    As regards training through research, it should be noted that the LIA provides the opportunity for many exchanges of researchers, doctoral students and undergraduate students.