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Research activities


Paris-Sud University is recognised globally for the exceptional quality of its research. In 2016, it was rated second amongst French universities in the Shanghai ranking, and in its forty years of existence it has accumulated numerous prestigious awards and honours.

Research at Paris-Sud - the figures

  • 2,500 researchers and 1,500 engineers, technicians and administrators working in over a hundred laboratories
  • Over half of the University’s building space, covering 580,000 m², is devoted to research.
  • Some 5,000 international publications every year, with an above-average citation index in most disciplines.
  • 2 Nobel Prizes in Physics, 4 Fields Medals

A rich variety of scientific disciplines and fields

Research at Paris-Sud spans a large spectrum of scientific disciplines and fields. Some examples:

  • Research work in mathematics and physics at Paris-Sud University is one of the highest international calibre. Besides making significant contributions to our understanding of the Universe, it provides the foundation for research in other fields, such as computer science, chemistry and biology.
  • Driven by its close ties with chemistry and biology, pharmaceutical research at Paris-Sud University focuses primarily on therapeutic innovation, active principles, therapeutic target identification, and drug vectorisation.
  • Medical research, be it fundamental, clinical or translational, is behind Paris-Sud University’s leading role in key areas such as oncology, immunology and biotherapy, neuroscience and reproductive endocrinology, and public health.
  • In the field of sport and physical education, Paris-Sud University conducts cutting-edge research, particularly on human motricity, the psychological and social aspects of sport, and risk behaviour.
  • Research in the social sciences at Paris-Sud University focuses on law, economics, and managing new technologies and innovation, with ramifications extending to the history of science and technology. The University is also an international centre for studies in canon law.


Sharing technical platforms

Networking the equipment and human resources needed to support research is high on the list of Paris-Sud’s priorities. This is achieved through the implementation of technical platforms that can also be made available to industry. The proximity of major research organisations (CEA, CNRS, Inserm, Inra and Inria) who can share these tools constitutes a significant advantage.

Competitiveness clusters and research networks

By bringing together research laboratories, higher education institutions and companies, competitiveness clusters aim to develop the synergy and the kind of innovative, collaborative projects needed for all participants to excel in their respective fields, both in France and throughout the world. In partnership with other institutions on the Saclay Plateau such as Systematic, Paris-Sud University conducts multidisciplinary initiatives in complex systems and information and communication technology.

The University actively participates in several competitiveness clusters such as Medicen, in therapeutic innovation, Moveo, in research and development in the automobile industry and public transport, and Astech, in aeronautics, space, and embedded systems. It is also a partner in other Advanced Research Topic Networks such as the Physics Triangle, Digitéo, Paris-Île-de-France Neuroscience School, and the Jacques Hadamard Mathematics Foundation.



Technology transfer through strong industrial partnerships

Research technology transfer has always been one of the University’s main interests, as demonstrated by the publication of results, research training, the links between research and teaching, and its industrial partnerships.

Since 2003, Paris-Sud has been working towards the technological transfer of its research output through its Industrial and Commercial Activity Office, whose role is to protect intellectual property by patenting, and to facilitate its transfer into socio-economic circles (by licensing, or creating start-ups). Some fifty patents are filed or published every year, primarily in the medical, physics, and engineering science fields.

Contract research undertaken by the University amounts to €19 million per year. This includes European contracts under the the Framework Programme non-European contracts in collaboration with various partners (ANR, RTRA, FUI), and supply contracts.

The success of all these transfer initiatives is the result of research activities linking laboratories and businesses, of active support for maturation of results, and the awareness among staff of the importance of intellectual property and technological transfer. The biennial Technology Transfer Prize (Prix de la Valorisation) is awarded to a scientist from the University for the most original and promising project.

A well-established international presence

Paris-Sud University is part of the international network of major research universities. Both in Europe - as a member of the League of European Research Universities (LERU) – and around the world, it jointly supervises 160 theses through collaborative agreements with 145 universities in 85 countries.