Research contracts: an eventful 2017 for IFSTTAR

Developing its internal resources, prioritising contracts that generate profits and increasing links with industry: IFSTTAR has achieved the three main objectives it set itself for its research contracts. A survey of the situation with comments by Philippe Touzé, head of the contractual affairs at the Institute.

“With 163 contracts notified with a total value of €18.1 million, 2017 was characterised by an increase in both the quantity and quality of our research contracts”, happily reports Philippe Touzé, Head of Contractual Affairs at IFSTTAR. These results reflect a €6.5 million increase in the Institute's own resources compared with 2013. What lies behind this growth? Philippe Touzé believes that “IFSTTAR's teams have been very proactive in responding to calls for projects and have become more receptive to foreign contracts. With motivated researchers and ambitious projects, the environment was favourable.”  IFSTTAR currently has around 400 ongoing contracts, 16 of which receive more than €200,000 in financial support. Among them is the I-street project, winner of the "Road of the Future" call for projects. Financed to the tune of €3.7 million by ADEME, this programme links the Institute to major partners such as the Eiffage group, OLIKROM and TOTAL. Another success to be highlighted is the grant of €9.3 million in funding from the Lyon local authorities for the Transpolis project, a laboratory city for connected urban mobility.


In greater detail, contracts with the Regions, ministries or the National Research Agency in the framework of European programmes such as H2020 account for 42% of the contracts notified in 2017 and 77% of the aggregate sums involved, i.e. nearly €14 million, compared with €9.2 million in 2016. Research contracts with industry and private companies or schools, with an average value of €44,000, also showed clear growth, particularly the CIFRE (Industrial Agreements for Training through Research) support contracts. Their total value has increased by 40% since 2013. "We are more and more receptive to external financing, a sort of taboo has been removed," says Philippe Touzé. In 2017, the Institute thus reinforced its partnerships with SNCF, Toyota, Altsom, the Energie group (ANDRA, Areva, IRSN and CEA), etc. How healthy is the order book in 2018? "The outlook is good, we are keeping up the same momentum, thanks in particular to a major contract that is in progress with the Société du Grand Paris for the construction of metro tunnels," explains Philippe Touzé.

Consult the review of research contracts in the Key Figures section of the IFSTTAR 2017 Activity Report