Founded in 1964, the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) is a public scientific and technological institute which operates under the joint authority of the French Ministry of Health and French Ministry of Research. As the only French public research institute to focus entirely on human health, in 2008 Inserm took on the responsibility for the strategic, scientific and operational coordination of biomedical research. This key role as coordinator comes naturally to Inserm thanks to the scientific quality of its teams and its ability to conduct translational research, from the laboratory to the patient’s bed. The decree adopted in March 2009 will enable Inserm to perform its research missions in the face of the new scientific, health and economic challenges of the 21st century. Scientific monitoring and expertise are now part of the Institute’s official missions. In early 2008, 10 thematic institutes were created in the light of this new coordination role, in association with Inserm. The aforementioned decree secures a long-term future for them and clearly defines their remit, an inventory of French research in their field, how this research is to be managed and their objectives. From the outset, Institute has forged close partnerships with the other public and private research establishments as well as hospitals to fulfil its missions. 80% of Inserm’s 318 research units are currently set up in university hospitals or cancer research centers. The research campuses of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), along with the Pasteur and Curie Institutes, also house Inserm research divisions. With the law on the independence of universities placing them at the heart of the research policy, they will also be a key partner of Inserm. In April 2009, national coordination was strengthened by the Alliance nationale pour les sciences de la vie et de la santé (French National Alliance for Life and Health Sciences), which Inserm co-founded with other research institutes and the Conférence des présidents d’université (Association of University Presidents). To extend the strategic and programmatic coordination of research to all life and health sciences, the Alliance relies on 10 multi-body thematic institutes jointly overseen by two research institutes (Inserm, CNRS, French Atomatic Energy Commission/CEA or French National Institute for Agricultural Research/Inra), depending on the research field. Lastly, Inserm plays a leading role in creating the European Research Area and boosts its standing abroad through close partnerships (teams and partner laboratories abroad).