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Scientific committees

Evaluation by Hcéres


Inria, like all higher education and research institutions, is evaluated by an independent administrative authority, the High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (Hcérès), which replaced the Agency for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (AERES). The AERES evaluation report on Inria for the period 2009-2012 was published in 2014. The Hcéres evaluation report on Inria for the period 2013-2017 was published on 13 June 2019.

The High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (Hcéres) is an independent administrative authority.

Hcéres seeks to follow best international practice in the performance of its missions. With regard to evaluation criteria, its methods are based, on principles of objectivity, transparency and equal treatment for all organisations assessed, and, with regard to the selection of the individuals responsible for evaluations, on world-class scientific expertise, neutrality and balance in the representation of themes and opinions. Hcéres seeks to prevent conflicts of interest in the composition of the expert committees responsible for carrying out evaluations. It may perform evaluations directly or verify the quality of evaluations performed by other bodies by validating the procedures used. Hcéres enables the organisations and institutions that it evaluates directly to present, at their request, observations throughout the evaluation procedure, and at its conclusion.

Hcéres is responsible for:

  • evaluating higher education institutions and groupings, research bodies, scientific cooperation foundations and the French National Research Agency, or, where applicable, overseeing the quality of evaluations carried out by other bodies;
  • evaluating research units on request from the overseeing institution, in the absence of validation of evaluation procedures or in the absence of a decision by the overseeing institution to use another evaluation body or, where applicable, to have validated research unit evaluation procedures carried out by other bodies.

If a unit is overseen by more than one institution, only one evaluation shall be carried out. If the institutions jointly decide to use another evaluation body, Hcéres shall validate the evaluation procedures used by this body. In the absence of a joint decision by the institutions to use another body, or in the event that the evaluation procedures are not validated, Hcéres shall evaluate the research unit;

  • evaluating the programmes and degrees offered by higher education institutions or, where applicable, validating evaluation procedures developed by other bodies.
  • ensuring that all missions defined by law and the specific status of higher education and research personnel is taken into account in their evaluations;
  • ensuring that activities relating to the dissemination of scientific, technical and industrial culture are properly taken into account in the career progression of higher education and research personnel;
  • conducting a posteriori evaluation of investment programmes and private bodies receiving public funding for research or higher education. 

Hcéres may also take part in evaluating foreign or international research and higher education organisations, under European or international cooperation programmes or at the request of the competent authorities.

Hcéres also includes a Science and Technology Observatory (OST) responsible for strategic research and analysis.

I would like to highlight the quality and relevance of the evaluation report, which is a valuable document at a time when the Institute is entering into a new contract with the State for the period 2019-2023 with a Contract of Objectives and Performance (COP). Its recommendations shed light on the momentum and the concrete actions we plan to implement. I share the committee's overall and detailed analysis and agree with the recommendations that have emerged from this analysis.

                           Bruno Sportisse, Inria's Chairman and CEO

Findings and recommendations

The committee underlined "the excellence of the institute's research as well as the originality and efficiency of its organization into centres and project teams that allow it to adapt in an agile manner to developments in its scientific field and to invest in site policies as part of a coherent national strategy". He also highlighted "Inria's know-how in technology transfer that could be further exploited", in particular through the creation of technology start-ups. The committee also highlighted the quality of partnerships with French higher education and research institutions, which is an essential element of Inria's success.

To strengthen the effectiveness and impact of the institute, the committee also proposed numerous constructive recommendations for the future, which are consistent with the actions proposed under COP 2019-2023 currently being developed with the Inria ministries responsible for research and industry (the ministries in charge of research and industry respectively), in particular:

  • Make scientific choices;
  • Strengthen the capacity to take risks and to develop new themes and/or areas of application, not only in terms of exploratory actions, but also in the creation of new project teams;
  • Develop the start-up creation program by building on the know-how acquired and expanding the project base to partners and accepting less selectivity;
  • Continue the development of industrial partnerships in order to support companies in their digital transformation, develop more joint teams or laboratories with large companies and set up specific actions with technological SMEs/ETIs in the digital field to support them in their innovation;
  • Develop software and data strategies;
  • Develop a scientific mediation strategy to support the digitalization of society;
  • To have a stronger participation in European projects based on its leadership role;
  • Better structure its international development strategy;
  • Strengthen Inria's national and international image and partnership capacity;
  • Offer diversified statutes to researchers to increase the attractiveness of the organization at all levels;
  • Improve policy to increase diversity and parity in recruitment;
  • Encourage internal and external mobility with other organizations (universities, Inserm, INRA...) and the industrial sector;
  • Strengthen social dialogue;
  • Develop multiannual financial programming;
  • Implement a more diversified range of metrics to measure research excellence and impact.

Keywords: Management team Hcéres Evaluation