Carnot Irstea

French National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture

A targeted research institute, Irstea has a long-established track record for its work with public and private partners. Its multidisciplinary skills bring solutions to both industrial and social challenges in the agricultural and environmental fields. Irstea has been an accredited Carnot Institute since 2006 for all aspects of its work.


Core business

Natural resources

Hight competences

Mechanics and processes
Soft sciences
Key figures

Key figures

Permanent staff (full-time equivalent)
1 100
including PhD Students
Global budget
86 M€
incomes with industry
14 M€


Institut Carnot Irstea
Industry relations and public policy support department
1, rue Pierre-Gilles de Gennes
CS 10030 – 92 761 Antony cedex

Carnot Director
+33 (0)1 40 96 61 24

Élisabeth VIDAL
+33 (0)6 80 81 62 38

Email contact


Environmental research: support for innovation and sustainable land management


Keeping in step with economic and societal needs

Irstea maintains and develops an in-depth knowledge of its fields of expertise through its remarkable variety of partners ranging from technology providers to public policy makers :

  • Large corporate groups ( EDF, Suez, Veolia, RTE etc.), insurance groups;
  • Consultants and engineering firms (Asconit Consultants, Artelia etc.);
  • Suppliers of agricultural technology and services (Sulky-Burel, Pellenc, AGCO etc.) and agri-foods (BEL, Bongrain etc.);
  • Start-ups (Biomae, Greentropism);
  • Majority state-owned companies (BRL, CACG, Compagnie des Alpes etc.), cooperative groups and companies (Limagrain);
  • Agricultural co-operatives and companies (e.g. Compagnie Fruitière), agricultural technical institutes (Arvalis, Ctifl etc.);
  • Public bodies (government departments, ONEMA, water companies, local authorities).

In addition to its partnership work, Irstea contributes to the French and European regulatory systems (WFD, operator safety, spreading certification etc.) and to the definition of quality assurance labels and industrial standards (for hydraulic structures, agricultural machine safety,avalanche protection, off-road robotics etc.).

Working with SATTs: a boost up of the innovation ladder

Irstea is a shareholder in two SATTs (Technology Transfer Acceleration Companies), AxLR and Grand Centre, and  works several others. Working with SATTs funds IP protection,prototyping and market research, in close connection to industry needs.

Irstea is an active member of a number of competitiveness clusters notably with strongly internationalized clusters  Axelera, EAU, French Water Cluster and Viameca.

Our strengths

  • 30 years of experience with our public and private partners
  • Dual expertise: researchers and engineers
  • Multidisciplinarity: physical sciences, life sciences, mathematic, economic sciences, human and social sciences
  • Methods: laboratory and field experiments and testing, in situ measurements, theoretical modelling, technological research, assessment methods
  • Action-oriented research on local and regional scales


Resources for businesses

  • CIFRE fellowships: the CIFRE programme helps businesses to hire doctoral students co-directed by public laboratories (26 CIFRE theses directed by Irstea researchers in 2015).
  • Incubation/creation of businesses: facilities and support for R&D start-ups (2 new projects hosted each year).
  • Supplying technology: transferring our research results through licences, patents, software programmes, expertise, databases and PVRs (plant variety rights) etc. (75 patent families).
  • Technological research platforms: annual contracts of 1,7 M€ with industry partners.

Science and Technological facilities available to businesses

Irstea offers contract research, test facilities, consulting, through its  eight technological platforms (agricultural equipment, geomaterials, geosynthetics, wastewater treatment, agri-food production processes etc.) and as many field-based, full-size experimental centres (natural hazards, hydrology, ecotoxicology, etc.).

Quality and standards

Many of our laboratories are already certified to ISO 9001 and/or ISO 17025 or have alternative certifications and accreditations. Irstea expects to receive an ISO 9001 certification for all research units in 2017.