To respond to the societal challenges and company requirements, the Institute has signed nearly 3000 collaboration contracts with actors in the public and private spheres since 2002. The INSHS contributes its innovative expertise in fields as varied as rehabilitation, violence, addiction, public policies, culture and regional planning at different levels (national, regional, etc.) and at all strata of society.

The INSHS - a springboard for innovation

To support scientific projects which create or respond to a requirement of need of companies, public actors or society, the INSHS's Technology Transfer Unit detects and supports projects with potential for transfer. It advises HSS research teams throughout France and in other countries in collaboration with the Services partenariat et valorisation (SPV, Partnership and Technology Transfer Services) of the CNRS regional offices, the Business Relations Department(DRE), the CNRS Innovation Office (DGDI) and the CNRS Innovation section.

All fields of HSS research can produce results with potential for transfer. These projects are all linked to a great many important economic, cultural and social issues.

Five types of results can be considered as innovation:

  • inventions or discoveries which can be immediately implemented by socio-economic actors with the aim of obtaining a competitive advantage through filing a licence or a patent;
  • method/methodology and/or know-how;
  • databases;
  • graphic, visual, audiovisual or artistic creations;
  • software programmes.

Key figures

Source : Pôle valorisation, InSHS, 15/10/2019

3170 contrats de collaboration de recherche
34 logiciels

déposés à l’Agence pour la Protection des Programmes

7 structures communes de recherche

(laboratoires communs et chaires industrielles)

17 brevets
36 licences
40 start-up

(dont 29 en activité)

Innovation transfer tools

The humanities and social sciences bring high added value to many applied research processes. They lead to innovations that can be taken up by society, the economic sphere and the public authorities. The INSHS's innovation policy is particularly based on sharing data and knowledge.

Research collaboration contracts

The constant reciprocal exchanges between research teams, the economic world and civil society are ever-increasing and produce numerous projects and initiatives aimed at transferring new knowledge, services, tools and technical products.

In this context, the INSHS laboratories have signed more than 3000 collaboration contracts since 2002.

The average duration of these research collaboration contracts varies considerably, but generally ranges from one to three years with a precise objective defined by a roadmap.

Associated research laboratories

Partnerships with industrial corporations …

Joint research laboratories are covered by a specific type of research collaboration contract. The seven INSHS LabComs are an example of public-private partnerships which contractually unite a research unit and a company to work on a four-year development project with joint governance.

These laboratories' steering committees bring together representatives of their partner institutions to monitor role and steer the programme with the support of the joint laboratory's scientific management.

… to combine research and innovation

The LabComs provide access to equipment, platforms and datasets for the laboratories involved. They generate a wealth of scientific output and filed patents while enabling results to be put to use. For companies, they guarantee scientific excellence and facilitate the emergence of technical and software innovations which create significant added value. These LabComs are also particularly suitable for students wishing to complete a Cifre (Industrial Agreement for Training through Research) thesis.

Protecting innovation with patents and licences

To help leaders of innovative projects transfer those innovations, the INSHS and the CNRS's technology transfer managers work together to file patentsand sign operating licences. The personnel involved need to first inform the management of their unit and contact the partnership and technology transfer managers (RSPVs) at their CNRS regional delegation. These RSPVs inform the Institute's Technology Transfer Unit to proceed with an assessment of the application. CNRS Innovation, the subsidiary in charge of managing the patent portfolio, examines the application and according to their decision the most suitable innovation transfer process is implemented for the project.

Start-up companies

The Allègre law of 1999 – currently being thoroughly revised with the Pacte law – provides for a fiscal and legal framework which is favourable to both innovative companies and collaborative work between researchers.

There are three possible scenarios for this – setting up a company which enables the researchers involved to return to their original institutions or stop working in the public sector if they so desire; a scientific assistance scheme through which researchers contribute their skills for 20% of their time while still being paid by their public sector employers; and participation in the governance of a company.

The pre-maturation programme

This programme provides financial support for certain breakthrough projects with transfer potential which are at too early a stage of development to qualify for maturation support by a CNRS Technology transfer company (SATT). The selected projects are monitored and funded for a maximum of twelve months.

Projects involving fundamental research are excluded from this programme.

Since 2019, the CNRS has expressed its opinion that usage, cultural and social innovations should be considered in the same way as technological innovation.


The Institute offers twenty-four training courses as the main Institute and eight courses as a secondary Institute for academics or those in industry.

Eleven research units provide training in study, planning and modelling (of monuments, heritage and the environment), social issues and the processing and usage of data.

Innovatives SHS. The exhibition which promotes research in the humanities and social sciences

The INSHS created the Innovatives SHS exhibition, a splendid showcase for the diversity of expertise of humanities and social sciences researchers. The Institute has already organized four of these events - in Paris in 2013 and 2015, in Marseille in 2017 and in Lille in 2019.

The exhibitors come from research teams of all kinds - research units in France and other countries, host teams, Labcoms and start-up companies. They respond to a call for applications the year before the exhibition and are selected by a committee of innovation transfer experts from the INSHS, the Houses of Human Sciences and the CNRS regional delegations.

At these exhibitions researchers present their innovation transfer projects which have often been developed in collaboration with an industrial company, a local authority or an association.

In addition, the exhibition encourages meetings and sharing experiences between exhibitors themselves as well as between exhibitors and visitors. It is an event which is highly conducive to helping partnerships to begin and develop.

Innovatives SHS