Investments in the Future success stories

Coordination and management of Investments in the Future projects

Since 2010 INRA Transfert has assisted with setting up Investments in the Future projects and launching winning projects. A total of 13 Investments in the Future projects are currently being coordinated and managed by INRAE Transfert; which breakdown as follows:

Five biotechnology and bioresources projects

  • BREEDWHEAT Open or Close

    breedwheat def2

    BREEDWHEAT sponsored by the INRA Cereals Diversity and Ecophysiology joint research unit (UMR DGEC) in Clermont-Ferrand, aims to bolster the competitiveness of the French wheat breeding sector by addressing societal challenges to ensure sustainable production and quality. This pre-competitive project is planned to last nine years for a total investment of €34 million (including 9 million from the Investments in the Future programme). It involves 26 partners: 13 public research laboratories located at INRA centres and universities across France, 10 seed cooperatives and companies specialising in biotechnology, 2 technical institutes and the Céréales Vallée competitiveness cluster. In an unprecedented effort, BREEDWHEAT combines new high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping technologies to identify the genetic factors involved in properties of agronomic interest, such as yield, quality and biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. It will enable the development of new breeding methodologies and will use untapped genetic resources to identify and combine alleles of interest for new varieties that perform better under environmentally friendly growing conditions and are adapted to climate change. The project began on 1 September 2011.

    Contact information :

    Coordinator : Jacques Le Gouis –
    Project manager : Emmanuelle Lagendijk –


  • AMAIZING Open or Close

    amazingAMAIZING combines genotyping and phenotyping approaches that harness high-throughput analytical techniques to pinpoint the factors involved in properties of agronomic interest, such as yield, quality and biotic and abiotic stress tolerance. Ultimately, the project will lead to the development of breeding tools and methods that can be used directly by industry stakeholders to reinforce the competitiveness of the maize breeding and growing sectors in France.The project began on 1 October 2011.

    Contact information :
    Coordinator : Alain Charcosset –
    Project manager : Agathe Renard –

  • Genius Open or Close


    The mission of international farming is to ensure food security while replacing fossil fuels, reducing its environmental impact and adapting to climate change. While France and some European countries are addressing the genetic aspect of this challenge through genomic-only selection, a growing number of major agricultural countries are turning to transgenesis to expand the pool of available genes. Furthermore, transgenesis is already an indispensable technology for French scientists and seed breeders to remain competitive at the global level.

    Recent advances in transgenesis now offer answers to some concerns raised by citizens. In particular, the emergence of nuclease technology now makes it possible to alter plant genomes with very high accuracy. In this context, it is a strategic priority to maintain a high level of transgenesis expertise, to participate actively in the debate about these new technologies and to demonstrate their applicability and their value in a large number of cultivated species. The project, coordinated by the Plant Reproduction and Development joint research unit (UMR RDP) at INRA Lyons, will provide French scientists and breeders with cutting-edge expertise, along with the corresponding biological material and intellectual property, and will pave the way for high-throughput functional genomics capable of meeting the challenges that must be overcome. The biological material produced will either be taken directly to the seed market or optimised upstream. The technical information and ethical framework presented to French citizens and legislators could, in time, lead to an easing of the regulatory burden for experts and applicants. To achieve these objectives, the GENIUS project will bring together 15 public and private partners, including 9 public research units that work in the life sciences and social sciences and 6 private sector companies that specialise in breeding and biotechnology. This consortium will create synergies and reorganise entities – until now were focused on a single species or scope of application – into a real community united by a common technical objective. The 8-year project started on 1 September 2012. It will receive total funding in the amount of €21.3 million (including an ANR grant for €6 million).

    Contact information :
    Coordinator : Peter Rogowsky –
    Project manager : Laure Trannoy –


  • ProBio3 Open or Close


    The ProBio3 project sponsored by INRA started on 1 July 2012; its scientific oversight is handled by the Microbiological Engineering, Systemic Analysis and Process Innovation team at the Processes and Biological Systems Engineering Laboratories (LISBP), an INRA-CNRS joint research unit at INSA Toulouse.It seeks to develop a new biofuel production chain: BIOcatalytic PROduction of lipid BIOproducts from renewal raw materials and industrial by-products: BIOkerosene application. This 90-month innovative project garnered an investment of €24.6 million and is receiving €8 million in assistance from the General Commission for Investment. This project is a fundamental priority of the aviation industry with the strong growth in kerosene projected in the coming years. Its objectives are to: Identify non-utilised renewable or industrial resources suited to the nutritional demands of oleaginous micro-organisms; Develop intensive bioprocesses to produce lipids for biokerosene use; and Demonstrate the feasible of the sector (m3) with an evaluation of the environmental, economic and societal impacts.

    The expected impacts are: Advances in the fundamental knowledge about lipid metabolism in oleaginous micro-organisms and micro-algae by analogy;Acceleration in the development of industrial strains and fermentation strategies by high-throughput technologies;A realistic study of scaling for an industrial pilot project;Competitive advantages for a leadership position in the microbial production of lipids to meet a 2Mt BioJetFuel annual target by 2020; andJob creation along the entire supply chain.This project includes:Eight academic partners (LISBP, IGM/UPSud, MICALIS, IJPB, IMFT, Toulouse White Biotechnology, SQPOV, Toulouse School of Economics); four industrial firms (EADS, Tereos Syral, Airbus, Sofiproteol), the IFPen research centre; and three national technical centres (CREOL, CVG, ITERG). They will lead seven working groups with their interdisciplinary expertise in an array of fields, including life sciences, process engineering and economic and social sciences.

    Contact information :
    Coordinator : Carole Molina-Jouve -
    Project manager : Laure Akomia -

  • BFF - Biomass For the Future Open or Close


    Biomass For the Future (BFF) is one of the 8 winning projects chosen in the second call for Biotechnology and Bioresources projects in the Health and Biotechnology excellence category of the Investments in the Future programme.

    The BFF project is led by the Jean-Pierre Bourdin Institute (IJPB) at the INRA centre in Versailles-Grignon, one of the largest European research institutes in the field of plant biology. The project pools the skills and expertise of 22 partners (9 public laboratories, 1 technical institute, 10 SMEs and large groups working in biotechnology, agronomy, seed, construction composites and materials, and 2 urban municipalities) which are required to design and implement an infrastructure to support the production and industrial use of miscanthus and sorghum biomass in the pioneering communities. BFF aims to tackle the environmental and social issues surrounding the production and use of biomass to foster the development of tomorrow's green industries:

    • Develop crops intended for non-food biomass in France by creating new varieties and farming systems for miscanthus (northern France) and sorghum (southern France) which have a low environmental impact and suitable composition for industrial applications; and
    • Structure the entire industrial value chain for the biomaterials and bioenergy sectors by promoting the organisation of production systems at the local level with the participation of industrial firms and stakeholders in the regions concerned.

    The project proposes innovative multidisciplinary approaches that combine modelling and systems biology to characterise the architecture, metabolism and composition of the plants best suited to biomass production. The project will help to reclaim 'marginal' farmland and to develop new, local green economies while involving all the stakeholders in a given geographical area.

    Contact information :
    Coordinator : Herman Höfte -
    Project manager : Laure Trannoy -



Three Infrastructures
  • PHENOME Open or Close

    phenomePhenome will equip the French scientific community with an infrastructure and a series of methods to characterise genotype panels of different species (the main agronomic species) under various scenarios associated with climate change. Its objectives are to: (i) build or finalise platforms with extensive instrumentation at five sites in France that, as a whole, can meet needs pertaining to the main agronomic species within environmental constraints; (ii) develop hardware and software applications with technological breakthroughs and invent new sensors, analytical methods and databases compatible with millions of data points; and (iii) disseminate techniques and methods to the French phenotyping community (seed companies, technical institutes, public research entities) and facilitate the emergence of French SMEs involved in developing phenotyping methods. The Phenome consortium includes 12 academic groups and 2 technical institutes.

    Phenome will be an essential tool for (i) the academic community, enabling the development of original programmes in genetics/genomics; (ii) private seed companies which will have access to the infrastructure through collaborative projects and bilateral contracts; (iii) French SMEs which will benefit directly from the project via subcontracting and indirectly to facilitate their access to the international markets for phenotyping and precision agriculture. The project began on 1 September 2012.


    Contact information :
    Coordinators :
    François Tardieu -
    Jacques Le Gouis -
    Project manager : Pamela Lucas -

  • CRB ANIM Open or Close

    crb animalCRB ANIM - Network of Biological Resource Centres for Domestic Animals

    The goal of this project is to integrate and strengthen the biological resource centres (CRBs) which preserve reproductive material and genome material for the domestic animal species raised in France, including mammals, birds, fish and shellfish. The CRB-Anim network comprises public research organisations (INRA, CNRS); institutions of higher education (Université de Tours, Université de Rennes I, AgroParisTech, national veterinary schools); a science foundation (FRB) and two private platforms; GIE LABOGENA and the company ANTAGENE, which host genomic collections for breeders. This national infrastructure has six hubs located near Paris, Rennes, Tours and Lyons, which store about 530,000 biological samples (seeds, embryos, cells, tissue, DNA, RNA). CRB-Anim addresses two priorities of the National Research and Innovation Strategy: (1) health, diet and well-being; and (2) environmental urgency to preserve biodiversity. This project is one of the winners of the 2011 Investments of the Future call for projects and will receive €11 million over a total period of eight years. This project addresses two major challenges for science and society: the erosion of biodiversity, particularly in farmed species that are subjected to intensive breeding; and the boom in genomics, which ushers in a new era in understanding the relationship between phenotype and genotype and leveraging the phenotypic wealth achieved through the domestication of animals. This research work must have access to characterised biological samples and tools to cryopreserve biological resources.

    Contact information :
    Coordinator : Michèle Tixier-Boichard -
    Project manager : Laure Akomia -

  • MetaboHUB Open or Close

    metaboHUB logo

    The MetaboHUB infrastructure project is intended to create a national metabolomics and fluxomics platform that will place France among Europe's leaders in the field. This infrastructure will provide metabolomics tools and services to academic laboratories and the private sector to advance research and innovation in all areas where understanding and analysing the metabolome is a decisive factor: nutrition, health, agriculture and biotechnology. 
    MetaboHUB brings together four metabolomics platforms: 'Bordeaux Metabolome Platform' (INRA, Université de Bordeaux and CNRS); 'MetabolomeIDF' (Paris-Saclay, CEA and Université Pierre et Marie Curie); MetaToul (Toulouse, Université Paul Sabatier, INSA, INRA, CNRS and INSERM) and 'Exploration du Métabolisme' (Clermont-Ferrand, INRA and Université Blaise Pascal). Each platform has developed cutting edge methods and knowledge in specific scientific fields, including health, nutrition, the environment and green and white biotechnology. Initially, the powerful synergies between these platforms will translate into sharing the methods deployed in a metabolomics/fluxomics study along the entire analysis chain, namely from bench-top techniques to bioinformatics tools ('wet to dry metabolomics'). Thus the MetaboHUB will be equipped with everything needed to design new methodological tools to overcome today's obstacles. In a subsequent phase, MetaboHUB will put its skills, methods and tools to work in large-scale projects developed in collaboration with public and/or private actors.  Positive effects are expected in all the fields mentioned above (health, environment etc.). 

    Contact information :  
    Coordinator : Dominique Rollin -
    Project manager : Caroline Sautot -


Two pre-industrial demonstrators

INRAE Transfert supports TWB in particular with the following:

  • Annual scoping of the comprehensive business development plan
  • Organisation of kick-off meetings with existing and potential customers
  • Production of external communication materials (websites, brochure, posters)
  • Implementation of collaborative work platforms
  • Annual reporting to the ANR

In addition, INRAE Transfert assists Métagénopolis in developing its contractual research portfolio with industrial clients

  • TWB - Toulouse White Biotechnology Open or Close


    The mission of Toulouse White Biotechnology (TWB) is to contribute to the development of a bio-economy based on the use of renewable carbon as a raw material to fuel industry in the future while respecting existing food and feed chains. To this end, TWB has a two-pronged approach:

    • facilitate the public research/industry interface in the field of white biotechnology; and
    • promote the development of new approaches in sustainable production by using innovative biological tools (enzymes, micro-organisms) and competitive processes.

    The target areas of application are the production of intermediate products for the chemicals industry, biomaterials, biopolymers and biofuels.TWB covers a wide range of research and industrial development activities, from biological engineering (enzymatic and metabolic engineering, synthetic biology) to the development of processes on the pre-industrial pilot scale.TWB carries out its projects with creativity using ethical approaches and applying the principles of sustainable development. TWB leverages synergies with the Processes and Biological Systems Engineering Laboratories (LISBP) at the Toulouse INSA (INRA joint research unit 792, CNRS joint research unit 5504). There are also active collaborations with other public laboratories, such as that with the Genopole biocluster in Evry.Different types of collaborative projects in research and development are offered:

    • so-called 'pre-competitive' projects are conducted ahead of applied research and generate industrial property (IP) for the public domain.
    • so-called 'competitive' projects are funded by TWB partners or third parties into more applied research themes that lead to opportunities in the short or medium term, for which the IP generated remains the property of the manufacturer.

    Technical platforms featuring high-tech equipment are made available to researchers and technical staff as part of the research projects. Services are also provided via these platforms. TWB, which was selected for the Investments in the Future programme in March 2011, is backed by a joint service unit overseen by the trio of INRA, INSA and CNRS (INRA joint service unit 1337; CNRS joint service unit 3582). Certified by the Carnot 3BCAR Institute, the joint service unit is managed by INRA, which coordinates the operations of the entity's executive bureau through its subsidiary INRA Transfert. The executive bureau is responsible for the day-to-day operation of TWB under the authority of the Consortium's Strategic Advisory Committee.This public-private consortium brings together some 30 public and private partners who share common socio-economic goals and work together to steer and accelerate TWB projects.


    Contact information :
    Coordinator : Pierre Monsan -
    Project manager : Olivier Galy -
    Business Management : Michel Manach -

  • MGP - MetaGenoPolis Open or Close

    MetaGenoPolis - INRAE

    MGPS illustration

    MetaGenoPolis (MGP) is an INRAE centre expert in gut microbiome research applied to human and animal health and nutrition, funded by the Programme des Investissements d'Avenir (Laureate 2012 and 2019). MGP's expertise in the analysis of the gut microbiome and its implications for health and nutrition has been widely recognized in the international scientific community since 2010.

    In collaboration with industry, academia and clinics, MGP conceives and implements projects tailored to the partner’s need. ISO 9001 certified, the protocols and procedures are constantly maintained at the cutting edge of technology. To explore the link between the microbiome, nutrition and health, MGP has innovative technological platforms accompanied by an ethical center UCLy (Catholic University of Lyon).

    MGP offers end-to-end microbiome analysis services, including DNA extraction, library preparation, shotgun sequencing, quantitative and functional metagenomics, big data storage and computing facilities, bioinformatics, statistical analysis, and data interpretation.

    One of MGP's ambitions is to create, via a citizen science project, a public database of the gut microbiomes of 100,000 French individuals, one of the objectives of which will be to better understand the heterogeneity of the gut microbiome of healthy French people. MGP also aims to develop more industrial partnerships and the creation of start-ups to accelerate microbiome science and innovation in health and nutrition.

    image MGP INRAE

    Directors :

    Alexandre Cavezza -

    Florence Haimet -