LINK-ISCR: an active collaboration between Japan and France

In its Bulletin of July (in French only), the CNRS Tokyo office cites the latest works between the IRL LINK and its mirror units, ISCR and CRISMAT. Despite the very difficult sanitary conditions, the collaboration is very resilient. The ISCR invites you to look back at more than 6 years of collaboration.
LINK-ISCR: an active collaboration between Japan and France

The Rennes Institute of Chemical Sciences (ISCR) and the University of Rennes 1 (UR1) played a major role in the creation of the International Research Laboratory (IRL 3629) Laboratory for Innovative Key Materials and Structures (LINK)* in 2014 thanks to the long-term collaboration with the National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS), Tsukuba, Japan, since 2001. From the early stage, ISCR was selected by the CNRS-INC and Saint-Gobain as the first mirror unit. The Rennes institute has since been joined by UMR CRISMAT in 2020.

This international collaboration between two major academic and a word-class industrial partners mainly focuses on the development and characterization of materials for energy and the environment. The objective of making this partnership a very successful player in the France-Japan scientific cooperation between NIMS, Saint-Gobain, UR1 and CNRS has been achieved. Over time, this collaboration attracted many ISCR teams and turned out to be a great opportunity for doctoral students and researchers from Rennes. Thanks to the support of the various partners and agencies, it even went beyond expectations by opening up to other laboratories as part of ANR projects (CRISMAT, IS2M, iLM, LSFC, LIPhy, etc.).

The main objectives of this collaboration

  • Produce quality fundamental research with a strong link with the Saint-Gobain company,
  • Participate in the structuring of scientific cooperation between Japan and France,
  • Train a new generation of researchers.

Key figures of the collaboration

  • 55 articles published jointly since 2015,
  • 5 ICR teams involved,
  • 5 ANR projects involving ISCR (2 PRCE (CLIMATE, HIGHTHERM) and 1 PRC (DUVNANO) in partnership with the LINK + 2 PRC (PHOTOCAT, MENHIR) on subjects initiated with the LINK),
  • 1 PEPS-CNRS exploratory project “AUTOMATE, thermoelectric materials and IA”,
  • 5 thesis financed at ISCR, 2 by ANR, 1 by CNRS, 1 by UR1 et 1 CIFRE thesis funded by Saint-Gobain Research Paris,
  • 3 thesis « NIMS » financed at LINK by Saint-Gobain KK (SGKK) and the NIMS,
  • 9 postdocs financed at LINK by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), SGKK, the NIMS and the CNRS-ANR,
  • 4 Workshops co-organized since 2015,
  • High mobility (56 from Japan and 45 to Japan between 2015 and 2020) under the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) NIMS-UR1 agreement (2010-2025),
  • Opportunity to continue their research work in Japan for several months (6 to 12 months) for 4 UR1 doctoral students, under the International Cooperative Graduate Program (ICGP) NIMS-UR1 agreement (2013-2023),
  • Obtaining a JSPS postdoctoral fellowship (12 to 24 months) for 5 young UR1 doctors (1 IPR and 4 ISCR), within the framework of the AAP CNRS-JSPS.  

Scientific results and highlights

  • Development of nanocomposites and thin films of interest for Saint-Gobain: proof of concept of the use of nanocomposites based on transition-metal clusters for "solar energy and control" applications,
  • Development of an original technique for depositing thin layers by electrophoresis of clusters of transition metals,
  • Tailoring and improvement of the thermoelectric and structural properties of thiospinel compounds by screening a variety of transition elements,
  • Support in the recruitment of a CNRS position (technical staff) and a UR1 associate professor at the ISCR,
  • Recruitment by Saint-Gobain of two doctors from UR1,
  • Prof. Naoki Ohashi, researcher at NIMS and Deputy director of LINK, received the insignia of Doctor honoris causa from the University of Rennes 1 on April 6, 2018, and the insignia of Chevalier de l'Ordre National du Mérite from Mr. Laurent Pic, French Ambassador to Japan, January 15, 2019.

The participants thank warmly all the partners for their support.

2021-07-16_ISCR_LINK_JMatChemC-F Grasset

* The IRL LINK is a joint International Research Laboratory (IRL) created by CNRS, NIMS and Saint-Gobain and located in Tsukuba, Japan in 2014. The IRL LINK was renewed for 5 years (2019-2023), after a 1st 5-year contract (2014-2018).

Learn more

CNRS in North-East Asia information report n°8, July 2021


  • Fabien Grasset,  Univ Rennes, CNRS, ISCR-CNRS UMR 6226, F-35000 Rennes, France
    fabien [dot] grassetatuniv-rennes1 [dot] fr
  • David Berthebaud, LINK Director
    David [dot] BERTHEBAUDatcnrs [dot] fr


Published July 16, 2021