By structuring our fundamental research around challenges and specifying scientific sub-challenges, it is possible to share scientific reasoning processes and pool low-TRL activities on the basis of common scientific objectives.
Collaborative research formats vary, from strategic framework agreements to simple research agreements. Collaboration methods can take a variety of forms:
- jointly supervised theses,
- post-doctoral research,
- temporary personnel exchanges (researchers and PhD students, for example),
- chair funding,
- collaborative projects, notably with public funding (ANR and H2020 in particular),
- partnerships within scientific interest groups,
- cooperation within the framework of joint research structures set up by partners,
- collaborative projects initiated by IFPEN and shared between academia and industry (joint industry projects - JIPs).
Concerning researcher exchanges within the context of collaborative projects, IFPEN’s researchers may supervise or support thesis work conducted in other laboratories, host researchers from outside laboratories or themselves go to work temporarily in other laboratories.
Collaboration within the framework of chairs involves IFPEN researchers becoming chair holders. These chairs make it possible to combine research activities of the highest level of excellence with the dissemination of knowledge to students. Chairs stand apart from other forms of partnership, both in terms of their associated prestige and excellence, and the long-term commitment involved (from three to five years).
Lastly, JIPs (Joint Industry Projects) are an original form of collaboration between IFPEN and industrial and academic partners. Their long-term research and development program is funded by several sponsors.
JIPs make it possible for IFPEN teams to develop and validate methodologies and technologies in line with concrete problems. As for the partners, they benefit from IFPEN’s expertise and the latest technological advances.
By way of example, for scientific challenge No. 2, research was conducted within the framework of the Oxygen JIP (Impact of oxygen on H2S cracking of steels), launched in 2016 for a period of three years in collaboration with the Institut de la Corrosion de Saint-Étienne (French Corrosion Institute in Saint-Étienne) and six industrial partners (Arcelor-Mittal, GE Oil & Gas, Salzgitter Mannesmann Forschung, Technip, Total and Vallourec). The project has made it possible to evaluate the impact of oxygen traces on the corrosion of steels in the presence of H2S. IFPEN is now in a position to anticipate steel corrosion and fracture risks in NET fields such as geothermal energy and biogas. The success of this JIP has given rise to another JIP with the Corrosion Institute concerning the effects of high pressures on steel fracture risks in the presence of H2S (fugacity effects). This project is set to be launched in 2019.