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Associate teams programme

Frequently ask questions

What is the scope of the programme with regard to my international research activities?

The 'Associate Teams' programme finances mobility, promoting collaborations between an Inria project-team and a partner team abroad on a jointly defined research project. Associate Teams do not cover all of Inria’s international cooperations. The main aim of the programme is to support lasting partnerships: an associate team is financed for 3 to 6 years, and this funding can serve as a springboard to submit research projects to national, foreign and European funding bodies.

What are the aims of the programme from Inria’s point of view?

  • To bolster the scientific potential of the project-teams
  • To boost Inria’s capacity to attract Master’s and PhD students and researchers
  • To enhance the institute’s international profile and influence

Is the Associate Teams programme selective?

 In the past years the selection rate goes from 30% to 50%.

Which countries are targeted by Inria’s international policy?

The Associate Teams programme is open to projects with all countries. Each year, geographical priorities oh the programme are stated in the call for projects.

I have a good working relationship with a team in Europe. Can I set up an associate team with this partner?

Yes, the Associate Teams programme also supports collaborations with European countries. The goal is to set up a limited number of associate teams with Europe, in order to foster new collaborations. It is expected that proposals present a clear strategy to get additional funding (in particular from H2020 framework programme) that will increase its impact.

Eligible countries : European Union Member States, Members of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and Israel.

Can two Inria project-teams take part in the same associate team?

Yes, but a single Inria coordinator must be designated and the budget of the associate team will be paid entirely to the Inria centre to which this coordinator belongs.

Who should be the coordinator of the associate team for Inria?

Any scientist conducting research work within an Inria Project-Team. A young researcher may be a coordinator for an associate team, as long as one or more permanent members of his/her team are involved in the project.

My Inria project-team has not been officially constituted. Can I apply for an associate team to be created?

If your Project-Team is still in the process of being approved by Inria management, you can still answer the call for Associate Teams projects. The associate team will only be funded from the moment when the Inria project-team is officially created. An associate team ceases to exist when the Inria Project-Team to which it is linked ceases to exist.

Can an associate team include two different partners abroad?

Yes, but only one partner, linked to a given organisation, will be considered as the main partner. Each partner appoints a coordinator (Principal Investigator).

Do I have to sign an agreement with my partner to establish an associate team?

An agreement is not required to create an associate team. On an optional basis, a specific agreement may be signed (for example, when the partner’s parent institution so requests) in order to set out the terms of the financial commitment, the allocation of intellectual property, joint supervision of a thesis, etc. Such agreements are negotiated by the Inria centre to which the coordinator belongs.

Is it possible to finance a thesis grant, a top-up grant or internship expenses out of the associate team’s budget?

No, the associate team’s budget is for funding mobility and short- or medium-term visits.

Can I use the associate team’s budget to pay the costs of a researcher’s participation in a conference?

No, the actions paid for out of the associate team’s budget must directly contribute to exchanges between the partner teams and to the advancement of their joint research.

Can I use the associate team’s budget to buy equipment?

No, the actions paid for out of the associate team’s budget must directly contribute to exchanges between the partner teams and to the advancement of their joint research.

How is the budget for my associate team paid?

The EIPD (European and International Partnerships Department) transfers the annual budget allocated to your associate team to the Inria centre to which you belong. Usually, grants are allocated during the first quarter of the associate team creations' year, but activities may start from publications of results.

How are proposals for Associate Teams assessed?

Associate Team projects are submitted to the EIPD via the portal :
The scientific evaluation of the applications is supervised by the International Relations Working Group of Inria’s Scientific and Technological Orientation Council (COST-GTRI), which calls upon two external experts per project. This evaluation concerns:

  • The scientific objectives
  • The proposed work programme
  • The exchange programme and its compatibility with the division of tasks between the partners
  • The participation of experienced researchers, young researchers and students
  • The scientific quality of the partner teams
  • The strategy to obtain other funding, in particular from the H2020 framework programme

Inria’s general management will decide on the list of selected Associate Teams, based after consultation of the EIPD. This selection is based on the scientific evaluation and on the pertinence of the projects with regard to Inria’s strategic international actions (see "Which countries are targeted by Inria’s international policy?")

How do I report on the activities and results of the associate team?

The coordinator of each associate team must create a website dedicated to the activities conducted within the associate team, which is referenced and accessible from the website of the participating project-team. This website serves as a reference for the monitoring of the associate team’s activities and thus as a basis for continuiong the associate team for the following year. This website must provide the public information that you wish to disseminate about the activities conducted within the associate team (presentation of members, programme of work and annual exchanges, scientific advances, joint publications, jointly supervised theses, etc.). A short report that describes the progress of the work must be submitted every year. Researchers are strongly encouraged to deposit their joint publications in HAL, and to mention the associate team in the annual activity report of their Inria project-team. At the end of the third year, the coordinator is invited to present a review of the associate team’s work to the EIPD and the COST-GTRI, both in the form of a written report and orally at the annual Associate Teams programme seminar.

What is the difference between continuation and renewal of an associate team?

An associate team is created for a period of 3 years. The associate team funding usually follows in the second and third years, on the proviso that the EIPD and the COST-GTRI are able to verify that the stated activities have indeed been carried out over the year that has elapsed (via the updated associate team website, cf. above question). At completion of its third year, an Associate Team is eligible to ask for the renewal of the funding for another round of three years: the coordinator hence submits a renewal proposal, which will undergo the same evaluation process as the other creation proposals.