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Research at USJ

Research Structures Definitions

Scientific research is generally carried out in specific locations, which provide researchers with the means to carry out their activity. These places are often laboratories, but not always. There is not one universal standard definition of research structures but definitions; USJ has chosen to set up its definitions and standards in order to have the same name for research structures in all its institutions.

Research Laboratory

The research laboratory (LR) is the immediate setting for research life, allowing researchers working on related issues to interact.
In general, the title of the laboratory is that of the respective discipline.
The laboratory houses all the infrastructure and material resources necessary for the smooth running of ongoing research projects.
There are laboratories for the natural sciences as well as for humanities and social sciences.
They bring together researchers, technicians and administrative staff who, ideally, collaborate on one or more research projects or topics. These researchers share the resources and means gathered in the laboratory.

Research Unit

It is defined by a certain subject, which can be carried out in several laboratories.
The research unit supports one or more research axes. Each axis can group together one or more topics. The themes are developed by research teams working in a discipline that corresponds to the requirements of the research.
Several RUs may, if the case arises, be grouped together within a Research Centre.

Research Center

A Research Centre (RC) is an operational research structure, which can group together several subjects, or even several research units, with research, diagnostic and training activities.
A center brings together research units, services and expertise with the aim of coordinating their scientific activity and pooling their resources. The center is headed by a director, who may be assisted by a deputy director.
The activity of the RC encompasses various aspects and combines the activities of the laboratories and research units that make it up.

The activities are:

  • conduct research projects as part of existing research units affiliated with this center;
  • conduct research projects in collaboration with external partners;
  • work on contract with social partners to upgrade products, improve quality or increase productivity;
  • host interns from other universities;
  • provide continuing education activities for social partners;
  • offer consulting services and provide expertise within the framework of concluded contracts;
  • provide technological information and transfer of technical expertise;
  • host foreign senior researchers working on the same topics for a short or long period of time.

Research Space

A place where several research structures coexist, with researchers and PhD candidates working on diverse subjects, but using the same premises and the same research tools.


Several activities are carried out within an observatory:

  • Research activities in one or more fields;
  • Establishment and/or setting up of a data and information bank, dissemination to the general public;       
  • University-Government partnership.

Research Clusters

The research and higher education clusters (PRES) are the most efficient and most suitable means of linking together several institutions working on similar subjects.
It is a dynamic structure that brings together several institutions, hospitals or other structures around a single axis or topic based on diverse activities: research, diagnosis and teaching.
In general, clusters are experts in a given discipline