Personal tools

You are here: Home / The Institute / General presentation

General presentation

Welcome word

The IUEM is a research institute devoted to the ocean and the coastal environment, where scientists from all disciplinary backgrounds unravel the mysteries of the marine realm, from the deep sea floor to the waves at the surface, from microorganisms to complex ecosystems and global biogeochemical cycles, and spanning the short time scale of storms to the long time scale of continental drift. Our objective: To help societies to cope with crucial challenges in the ocean and coastal environment including; erosion and the consequences of tectonic movement, climate change, scarcity of resources, development of marine renewable energies, and the alarming decline of biodiversity.
The IUEM is a University Institute where master and PhD students learn about marine sciences from a unique multidisciplinary perspective, and benefit from innovative training opportunities at the junction between science and society.
The IUEM is a European Institute and active leader in the European strategies for a Blue Growth and for "Healthy and productive oceans"; an institute open to the world through the development of international laboratories.
The IUEM is a marine observatory at the western tip of Brittany, in the metropolitan area of Brest. A splendid setting where land meets the ocean and where the mysteries of the ocean and coastal environments will be discovered during the 21st century!


The European Institute for Marine Studies (IUEM) is a multidisciplinary organization that aims to:

  • increase understanding of the marine environment,
  • to study and observe the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere and the coast,
  • to train researchers and scientists in this field,
  • to contribute to the investigations of natural or human-induced modifications in the marine environment.


IUEM has three complementary and mutually beneficial missions:

  • Research: seven laboratories (six joint research units - UMR - and one associated team - EA)
  • Education: Masters degree in Marine and Coastal Sciences and a doctoral programme in Marine Sciences
  • Observation: observatories of coastal and offshore environments, part of the joint service unit.


IUEM is an important component of the University of Western Brittany (UBO). It includes all the laboratories whose research topics relate to the marine environment, from the fields of life sciences, sciences of the universe, or social sciences.

IUEM has the status of an Observatory of Sciences of the Universe (OSU) and, as such, is attached to the National Institute of Sciences of the Universe (INSU/CNRS). IUEM’s Joint Service Unit (UMS) is run by the University of Western Brittany (UBO), French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Institute of Research for Development (IRD) in collaboration. IUEM’s Joint Research Units (UMR), are run by UBO and CNRS in collaboration with Ifremer and/or the IRD depending on the laboratory.

Equipment and facilities

The IUEM building comprises 11,000 m² of office space, laboratories and classrooms in the Brest Iroise Science Park, where more than half of the French marine scientific community is found. IUEM has additional working space in other UBO buildings and in the Ifremer centre in Brest. In addition to a few small boats IUEM operates a 12-meter research vessel, the Albert Lucas, named after the famous French marine biologist. The boat is dedicated to achieving the three missions of the institute: research, education and observation. It is also used by the Iroise Marine Park.IUEM is a partner in several multi-organizational services – PSO (centre for oceanographic spectrometry), Caparmor (marine computing centre) and Bibliothèque La Pérouse (marine sciences documentation centre).


IUEM is one of the most important marine science research centres in France, with more than 260 permanent researchers, teaching staff, engineers and technicians and a further 70 contractual staff. Currently, there are 325 doctoral and Masters’ students.


    Picture of the month