Description of the Institute

IRPHÉ is a multidisciplinary, mixed research institute involving Aix-Marseille University, CNRS, and École Centrale Marseille. Its research focuses on fluid mechanics; energy in general, including combustion and reactive systems; wave-front and interface physics; self-organization of non-equilibrium systems; biomechanics and biophysics; rotating flow and in particular, flows linked to astrophysics and geophysics; the interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere; as well as environmental applications of turbulence. All of the institute’s research focuses on fundamental knowledge. The first objective is understanding these phenomena and advancing understanding, which is the fundamental link between teaching and research. Each area of research is motivated by its applications and by technological restrictions found in applied research, as well as by effects observed in nature. The goal is to identify intrinsic characteristics in order to then apply this knowledge.

The aeronautic, automobile, space, and energy transportation industries all have critical stakes in this economic transformation phase, as well as the areas of materials science, life sciences, and numerous social concerns such as health, the environment, and associated risks. Theoretical, experimental, and computational methods are used to explore each subject.

IRPHE Organizational Chart

Director: Stéphane Le Dizès                      

Associate Director: Laurence Pietri

IRPHE Organization

IRPHE has a staff of nearly 100 in a variety of facilities.


The Institute has 83 permanent employees and numerous students and visitors:

  • 13 CNRS researchers
  • 29 teaching professors (from Aix-Marseille University and Centrale Marseille)
  • 14 engineers, technicians, and administrators
  • 28 doctoral students

Notable resources

  • Subsonic wind tunnels (including one at 50 m/s, section 0.64 m2)
  • Wave flume
  • Hydraulic channels
  • Hexapod
  • Laser velocimetry systems
  • Combustion units
  • Rotating table
  • Simulated vascular system
  • 3D printing
  • Work stations with cluster computing (292 core)
  • Mechanical manufacturing workshop and design office


  • Approximately 50 articles per year in international journals
  • Seven thesis defenses per year
  • R&D Contracts: SAFRAN, Liebherr Aerospace, Airbus Helicopters, Areva, Total, Air Liquide Santé International, PSA Peugeot-Citroën, IRSTEA.
  • ANR Contracts, European contracts (Marie Curie Research Fellowship)
  • International Partnerships: Monash University, Melbourne; University of California, Berkeley (UCB); University of Mexico and University of Guadalajara; University of Göttingen and University of Cottbus (Germany); University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); DTU Denmark; KTH Stockholm; EPFL Lausanne.