Set up in April 2009, the French National Alliance for Life Sciences and Health (Aviesan) groups together the main stakeholders of life and health sciences in France.
Life sciences and health currently face a wide range of challenges:
• scientific challenges, posed by the profound conceptual changes that have taken place over the last 20 years;
• technological challenges, demonstrated by the increasing importance of imaging, sequencing, screening, data processing and extraction techniques;
• health challenges, indicated by the spread of chronic diseases, development of aging-related diseases, persistence of the infectious risk and the occurrence of emerging diseases;
• social challenges, reflected by the high expectations of citizens with regard to access to scientific and medical breakthroughs;
• economic challenges, highlighted by the high profitability of investments made in the biomedical sector.
Today, France is in fifth place in terms of scientific production worldwide in the field of life sciences and health. The publications of its main research organizations have a greater impact index than 1, which means that their influence gauged by quotations is above the international average. This high-quality research is carried out by all kinds of stakeholders: eight main public institutions with which universities and university hospitals are partnered.
Aviesan has been set up in response to the commitment to further step up these French research performances by fostering its consistency, creativity and excellence. This mission calls for scientific coordination of the main research themes – which concern all organizations – as well as operational coordination of projects, resources and funding.
Interview of André Syrota, Chairman of Aviesan
The purposes of Aviesan are to:
• coordinate the strategic analysis, scientific programming and operational implementation of life and health science research;
• give a fresh boost to translational research by speeding up the transfer of fundamental knowledge to clinical application;
• increase cross-disciplinarity by opening biology and medicine up to contributions from mathematics, physics, chemistry, information technology, engineering sciences, human and social sciences;
• ensure that projects are consistent in thematic and infrastructure terms;
• carry out clinical, economic and social promotion of knowledge, particularly by facilitating industrial partnerships;
• define shared standpoints in terms of European research and international cooperation;
• harmonize and cut down on red tape for laboratories so as to free up the creativity and excellence of teams.
These objectives will be performed within 10 thematic multi-organization institutes (ITMOs) whose primary role will be to chair the strategic debates within their own scientific community.
President: André Syrota, Chairman and CEO of Inserm
Vice-president: Catherine Jessus, Director of the CNRS’ Institute of Biological Sciences (INSB)
Aviesan’s Board of Directors
Aviesan has set up operational working groups in order to, on the one hand, foster the exchange of information between the various member institutions or associate members of the Alliance and on the other hand, the actions to be implemented in liaison with the Aviesan Council. This involves the following groups: