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History

Research and education in marine science are closely linked to the history of Brest and the surrounding areas, situated in western France. The Royal Naval Academy was founded here in 1752, on the initiative of a group of naval officers who were highly interested in science. This is also where the famous navigator La Pérouse set sail in 1785 to explore the world, to correct and complete maps and to provide detailed descriptions of the natural environment that he encountered.

The establishment of IUEM is one of the most important events in the recent history of Brest, which was long dominated by scientific institutions serving French military interests (such as the Naval Academy and the Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service – SHOM). Things began to change when non-military institutions were set up here, such as the National Centre for the Exploitation of the Oceans (CNEXO, which became Ifremer in 1984) in 1967 and the University of Western Brittany (UBO) in 1971.

IUEM emerged at the end of the 20th century in this "hotspot" for marine science. Initially, it consisted of only a few marine laboratories and university training programmes. However, the institute soon received strong support from the Ministry of Higher Education and Research, the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and local and regional authorities, enabling it to develop into the joint research unit of international repute that it is today.

Some highlights in the history of IUEM...

IUEM finally has its own building! Comprising 1100 square meters of the most modern working space (laboratories, offices, lecture rooms and an amphitheater) at the Brest Iroise Science Park. The amalgamation launched in 1991 has proved so successful that there is already a shortage of space: plans for extension are being considered.
This same year IUEM is recognized by UBO as a multidisciplinary internal school.

1991

The birth of the "IUEM concept". Launched by Paul Tréguer, the project aimed to advance academic marine research in Brest and to promote it both nationally and internationally.

1992

The Ministry approved the creation of the Marine Sciences Doctoral Programme (EDSM) integrating a wide range of disciplines (life and earth sciences, law, economics, geography). It is the first multidisciplinary doctoral programme in France.

1994

IUEM finally has its own building! Comprising 1100 square meters of the most modern working space (laboratories, offices, lecture rooms and an amphitheater) at the Brest Iroise Science Park. The amalgamation launched in 1991 has proved so successful that there is already a shortage of space: plans for extension are being considered.
This same year IUEM is recognized by UBO as a multidisciplinary internal school.

1998

The first IUEM Director, Paul Tréguer, was appointed by the Minister for a five-year term. His mandate was renewed once (2003-2007).
The IUEM observatory of the coastal marine environment is incorporated into the French Coastal Environment Observation Service (SOMLIT) of the CNRS.

2000

CNRS recognizes IUEM as a Research Federation (FR 2195). IUEM becomes member of the National Network of Marine Research Stations.

2004

Formation of Europôle Mer (see International Relations)

2007

IUEM celebrates its 10th anniversary! It is recognized internationally as a major centre of marine research and continues to develop. David Nelson, from Oregon State University, is appointed as director by the Minister of Higher Education and Research.

2008

In June, Yves-Marie Paulet succeeds David Nelson as Director of IUEM.
IUEM broadens its institutional basis. IRD (Research Institute for Development ) is welcomed as yet another « tutelle » (see General presentation) by two of its laboratories (LPO and Lemar).

2009

Building of the IUEM research vessel has finally started, in Le Croisic in southern Brittany.

2010

The IUEM research vessel is launched in March; it is named Albert Lucas as a tribute to the famous UBO professor and marine biologist.
Construction of the new building is expected to start before the end of the year.
All laboratories and other structures of IUEM actively prepare the next four-year plan (2012-2015).

2011

Under the “Investments for the Future” economic stimulus package, (formerly known as the Great National Loan - Grand Emprunt), IUEM coordinated teams from Ifremer, the University of South Brittany (UBS), University of Nantes, and Centrale Nantes (school of higher education) to create the cluster of excellence LabexMer “A changing ocean”.

2012

LabexMER conducted its first projects, hosted international chairs, organised an international PhD programme, and supported international research and training initiatives. Implementation of LabexMER’s third phase, which will provide common facilities for IUEM’s six UMRs, is now underway, with an expected completion date in June 2014.

2014

Anne Marie Tréguier becomes the new director of IUEM.

2015

The third installment will be delivered in December.

Picture of the month

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