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The Court of Auditors calls for a radical evolution of the research institute

As the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (Inserm) prepares to change its president and CEO in the next few days, the Board of Auditors published, on Monday, January 23, a scathing report on its accounts and management for the period from 2015 to 2021.

In an environment where there are a large number of research organizations involved in the field of life sciences, Cambon Street judges consider this position “Inserm’s situation is individually held, which has not been the subject of clarifications either from it or its supervisory authorities.” They criticize the Ministry of Higher Education and Research for not classifying Inserm as a leader in health research. Inserm is not spared. He is accused of not having it Refocusing on specific disciplines And continue To be present in all areas of the biomedical sciences, despite the constant duplication between its research activities and those of other organizations, in particular the National Center for Scientific Research.. However, the court points out that Inserm’s work is of high quality. The impact of its publications, across the board, is above the global average. »

On the financial front, the situation is hardly exciting for the judges. Between 2015 and 2019, Inserm posted four years of losses, the financial specialist notes. “This situation was not the subject of a real recovery plan on its part, or a request for a return to balance on the part of the oversight ministries.”. For example, the surplus for fiscal years 2020 and 2021 “Atypical, due to the slowdown in activities related to the health crisis and the recording of exceptional revenues.”. In his response, Gilles Bloch, whose term at the helm of Inserm will not be renewed, specifies that the income earned, in particular in 2021, is not entirely linked to “External factors”revenue from the patent portfolio is going “The result of a long-term and profitable development strategy that should continue to feed the institution’s budget in the coming years, even if in smaller proportions than in 2021.”.

Poor management of human resources

Another weakness of Inserm: human resources management, which is being considered by the court “Not connected to scientific strategy”taking into account arrangements that make it possible to take permanent contracts for selected profiles of clinicians or researchers “not enough”. As a result, in the 1980s, if 30% of legal researchers at Inserm had medical training, this rate continued to decline: 20% in the 1990s, reaching 8.96% in 2015 and 6.5% in 2020. The unfortunate situation of the administrative authority, because doctors Promoting research, from lab bench to bedside”.

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