An activity that is complementary to expertise and studies

An activity that is complementary to expertise and studies

Enrich expertise via new knowledge

To accomplish its missions, Cerema provides, mainly at the request of the State, consulting services, assistance, studies, inspection, innovation, appraisal, testing and research, providing back-up to public policies (Confer law 2013-431 of 28 May 2013).

This leads it to conduct research actions, to create, manage and support research units and its own department units or units associated with other technical or research bodies, as well as higher education institutions (decree no. 2013-1273 of 27 December 2013).

Cerema carries out applied research, with strong links to the organisation’s other activities:

  • with the “core activities”: studies, appraisal, assistance and consulting,
  • with the inspection and testing activities,
  • with innovation, whether it be technological or linked to uses.

In this way research is enriched by questions raised in the other activities, and contributes to enriching them in turn through new knowledge. The internal familiarity between on the one hand engineers and experts working on operational problems, and on the other hand researchers specialised in the world of research, is a major asset for all the beneficiaries of Cerema’s work.

A link between the world of research and the needs of regions in France.

A link between the world of research and the needs of regions in France.

Its role as a knowledge broker for regions in France

Cerema devotes roughly 7% of its activities to applied research, contributing directly to a research project. Its research activities enable it to open up the doors of the world of research to socio-economic players in the French regions.

Cerema itself only participates in research activities on a few targeted themes. But in its projects it takes account of the needs and expectations of the socio-economic players, businesses and local authorities. In this context it places its innovation tools and capabilities at the disposal of the socio-economic world.

In line with this position, which is very strongly oriented towards partnership-based research, Cerema received the “Tremplin Carnot” label in June 2016, in recognition of its research activity in support of the socio-economic world.

This label guarantees the quality of its role as a knowledge broker for French regions.


There are two parts to this role of knowledge broker:

  • to enrich expertise thanks to new scientific and technical knowledge at the highest level of the state-of-the-art, and when necessary for studies and appraisals in the field, to mobilise the most relevant skills that exist within the academic world;
  • in the opposite direction, to facilitate the conversion of needs observed in the field into new research subjects, that can be explored by teams and institutions from the world of research.

Strong partnerships

Strong partnerships

In many cases, Cerema intervenes to support the research of other organisations by implementing its capacities for observation, experimentation, analysis and appraisal. In this way, strong long-standing collaboration has linked Cerema with Ifsttar in particular in several research fields such as acoustics or durability of transport infrastructures.

Similarly, Cerema’s teams liaise closely in the research field with other organisations in the ministry’s scientific and technical network (such as RSTEA, BRGM, INERIS, IGN) and with schools supervised by the MEEM, the Ministry for the environment, energy and the sea (ENPC, ENTPE).

Every department of Cerema has also developed links with higher education and research players in its region, and also with companies and local authorities on specific research themes.

At the border of many disciplines

At the border of many disciplines

Many different research themes are relevant to Cerema’s areas of activity. They are in varied disciplines ranging from human and social sciences to earth sciences or chemistry, and also including engineering sciences.

Cerema is therefore capable of mobilising various suitable tools and integrating research results into all of its areas of activity. This is particularly the case for areas such as infrastructure, risks, and increasingly the area of energy transition and the economics and sociology of mobility.

It has the capability to bring together specialists in human and social sciences to work together with experts in engineering sciences, and to devise original approaches to solve tomorrow’s public policy issues.

Cerema’s specialists are used to working in this cross-sectoral way. They are able to mobilise multi-disciplinary teams to successfully complete the research projects they are assigned.

Contributing to the orientation of national and European research programmes