Links with the social and economic world

Research in close collaboration with industry

As IFSTTAR is an applied research institute, partnerships with the socio-economic world are part of its DNA. These partnerships are necessary for the practical application of research results in ways that meet the challenges posed by the economic fabric and provide the resources needed to develop its activities. Two departments support researchers and their partners in these partnerships.

One team ("BAC") computes estimates and monitors expenditure statements, and has considerable expertise in invoicing for challenging partnership financing such as European projects (7 new European contracts notified in 2017). Another (AMP) supports the setting up of projects, seeks to maintain links with our partners and assists the Departments in their strategy of partnership with the socio-economic world.

A continuous increase in the amount of revenue generated by partnerships with the socio-economic world

IFSTTAR has significantly increased its internal resources as a result of research contracts, and these reached the sum of €18.1 million in 2017, €6.5 million more than in 2013. It should be noted that the number of contracts has slightly decreased, but thanks to a more strategic approach to partnerships, their unit value has increased. This year also saw an increase in the types of contracts that are the most "profitable" for the establishment (bilateral contracts with companies and cost-controlled partnership contracts). An example of this is the I-Street project - "The road of the future" call for projects in the PIA4 programme managed by ADEME. This was set up in collaboration with the major partners in the sector, namely EIFFAGE, OLIKROM and TOTAL, and for which IFSTTAR receives funding to the tune of €3.6 million.

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I-STREET win the "Roads of the Future" call for projects - Picture : ©Gerard-Tordjman-Eiffage

Encouraging well-structured, long-term partnerships with industry

Partnerships with major players in the field are the subject of framework contracts. These simplify and speed up the creation of partnerships by providing a general legal framework for the creation of contracts. These contracts are monitored and managed by a scientific team and a business developer. To date IFSTTAR has signed 14 framework contracts with the main groups in the transport, infrastructure and energy sectors.

IFSTTAR continues to be actively involved in forums for discussions between private and public stakeholders. In 2017, 6 FTE (Full Time Equivalent) posts were made available to the following PIA establishments VEDECOM, SystemX, Railenium, and Efficacity.

In order to assist the Departments in their partnership strategy, an annual roadmap is prepared jointly between the support services concerned (AMP) and the Department directors to move from "reactive" contractualization to the qualitative planning of the envisaged partnerships, and to extend our customer portfolio. 

Active participation in standardisation activities

As part of its public policy support remit, research results in the field of standardisation are also shared with the socio-economic world through participation in standardisation committees.

A representation database has been created which lists all our experts who are actively involved in standardization activities. In 2017, 51 experts participated in 67 committees, one third of them at European or international level.

Reaching out to SMEs

IFSTTAR's Goals and Performance Contract includes a commitment to collaborate with stakeholders of all types, including those who are less well integrated in the transport R&D sector. The "Innov’day" formula, which had been acclaimed by the SMEs who took part in the event, was repeated in 2017, this time with rail as its theme. It provided SMEs with networking opportunities and exposure. Some events are planned for 2018 in collaboration with the competitiveness clusters to enable SMEs to discover the research opportunities IFSTTAR can offer them. 

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On 29 June 2017, IFSTTAR is devoting a day to the future of railway research.

Funding new test platforms, and making them available to industrial partners

The AMP team offers researchers support for the purchase of new equipment, which is often involves complex procedures in the case of one-of-a-kind platforms. In order to improve the transparency of these major facilities for our partners, work has been done to establish fair pricing for flagship platforms, such as Sense City

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Focus equipment: microscopic observation platform

Research activities that are open to societal issues

The research conducted at IFSTTAR responds to major societal challenges. It is therefore essential to disseminate the results to as many people as possible by providing reliable information that can stimulate dialogue between Science and Society.

The IFSTTAR collections were created 3 years ago and now give pride of place to digital publishing and open access. Of the 8 books published in 2017, 7 were released under open access and the number of digital publications we distribute now far exceeds those on paper, since digital publishing accounts for 65% of the activity of the IFSTTAR bookshop compared to 35% for paper.

IFSTTAR's science and society web space gives researchers the opportunity to present their work to the general public. In 2017, the “Scientific topic files” have been given a new look, and they are now freely accessible, in the form of interactive pdfs and booklets in French and English. We also produce promotional bookmarks and paper hens for a younger age group. The autonomous vehicle was the subject of a scientific topic file "Sharing views on automated vehicles" released in 2017. This topic, as well as that of the 5th Generation Road, was at the heart of discussions with audiences from inside and outside schools during workshops organised in Bron and Provins.

Some new series of videos were introduced in 2017: “Sum up your thesis”, “Focus on research” and “Focus on equipment”. Sixteen new videos were produced this year to showcase the work of IFSTTAR researchers and PhD students. The complete “Focus on the profession” series is now available on IFSTTAR's website in the "Careers at IFSTTAR" section. In 2017, the major task of listing, digitizing and indexing the Institute's Scientific Heritage Image Collection was undertaken. Seventy-six LCPC scientific films  are now available on the internet through our video hosting platform.

Launched in 2012 as part of a partnership between the municipality of Bron, IFSTTAR and ENTPE, the Bron National Scientific Encounters (RSNB) constitute an innovative and participatory project around the theme "Cities that are more sustainable, socially just and supportive to citizens". In 2017, citizens were thus invited, during the knowledge encounters and the general discussion, to discover the challenges and alternatives that exist in urban areas as well as the potential impacts of digital technology on the city.

As part of a partnership between IFSTTAR, Arcadi Île-de-France and Université Paris-Est, a series of conferences-debates entitled   “Sensitive urban mapping” was held at the Maison de la Poésie in Paris. On this occasion, players in the fields of scientific innovation, literary and artistic creation had an opportunity to meet one another and reflect on how they see the city of yesterday and today.