INEE Institute of Ecology and Environment

Understanding the biosphere: the key to action

At the interface of social, earth and life sciences, the CNRS Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE) has developed an integrative approach to environmental sciences that aims to promote global ecology at every scale of time and space. INEE is a fundamental research institute that combines research with action, and contributes to the advancement of knowledge for sustainable development.

Stéphanie Thiébault, Director

Mission and goals

INEE's mission is to bring the environmental sciences to the fore as an integrated scientific field. Its goals are to promote creativity and undertake fundamental research of excellence, and to set up and develop innovative tools in global ecology through the development of partnerships. Research is carried out by a network of laboratories in the fields of evolutionary science, biodiversity, ecology and human-environment interactions.

Interdisciplinarity at the heart of INEE's mission

INEE is an interdisciplinary institute that plays a central role in the environmental sciences by integrating issues associated with the biological sciences, geosciences and social sciences. The Institute mobilizes a community of scientists from a variety of disciplines, and coordinates a wide range of interdisciplinary research into terrestrial and marine ecosystems and environments.

Ten interdisciplinary areas:

  • biodiversity: structure, dynamics and functioning;
  • from ecology to global ecology;
  • environmental sustainability;
  • chemical ecology and ecological chemistry;
  • ecotoxicology;
  • health ecology;
  • new biomes/major anthroposystems;
  • environmental assessment;
  • ecological and environmental engineering;
  • human-environment interactions and evolution.

International presence

INEE is highly active at the international level and takes part in the European Research Area. The Institute collaborates with teams on every continent, especially in biodiversity hotspots in Africa, Asia and Oceania. Its commitment to research in French Guiana has enabled it to build strong relationships in South America, with Brazil in particular.

Avicennia mangrove forest, in an experimental plot located in French Guiana's Sinnamary estuary.

Five priority research themes

  • Biodiversity, evolution, adaptation;
  • human impact on the environment: from modification to transformation;
  • feedback of ecosystems on global change;
  • coastal and marine environments: interactions and processes;
  • functional ecology, analysis and management of ecosystem services.

Apis mellifera honey bee (Laboratoire microorganismes : génome et environnement, à Clermont-Ferrand).


INEE uses specific tools to observe, experiment and model the past and present, in order to understand how ecosystems and anthroposystems work and predict their evolution. These tools are organized in networks so as to pool resources. They include:

  • ecotrons;
  • ecological research stations;
  • long-term socio-ecological research sites (Zones ateliers - ZA);
  • Human-Environment Observatories (OHM);
  • global ecology databases.

Key figures

  • 2 621 researchers and academics, including 661 from CNRS, 1 494 engineers and technicians, including 590 from CNRS, and 1 356 PhD students and 214 postdoctoral fellows*
  • 82 research and service units 2 research federations*
  • 16 research networks*
  • 12 international associated laboratories, 12 international research networks, 28 international programs for scientific cooperation
  • 44 patent families

* Source: Labintel, 12/10/2015 – processed by CNRS / SAP2S