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France aspires to take helm as leading European country in healthcare

Centres of excellence will work in partnership with universities

The new research institutes are in the Greater Paris area, Lyon, Nice, Montpellier and Bordeaux Pic: On the road again / Shutterstock

Twelve new medical research centres of excellence have been announced as France lays out its plan to become “the leading European country in innovation and sovereign healthcare”.

Greater cooperation with the private sector is a focus of the government’s €7.5 billion five-year investment plan, called Innovation Santé 2030.

The 12 Instituts hospitalo-universitaires (IHUs) will be research institutes, initially created by president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2009. They will be situated within a hospital and working in partnership with a university. Each one will specialise in research and development in a particular clinical area. 

They are designed to be centres of excellence in terms of research, treatment, prevention, training, and technology in the field of healthcare, to attract talented researchers and clinicians, and to form partnerships with industry.

Read more: France begins rolling out free health check-ups for key age groups

Out of the 12 new IHUs announced, eight are in the Greater Paris area, while the others are in Lyon, Nice, Montpellier, and Bordeaux. Each will receive €10 to €40 million from the government. They will bring the total number of IHUs in France to 19.

Five new ‘bioclusters’ – geographical areas designated as ‘innovation ecosystems’ of labs, research and treatment centres, and healthcare businesses – have also been announced. 

Each will specialise in a different area of healthcare, from oncology to genetics, with three in the Greater Paris area, and the other two in Lyon and Marseille. Their aim is to attract businesses and establish services to facilitate public-private partnerships, including with universities, research organisations, hospitals and clinics.

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