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CNRS in brief

The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research) is a government-funded research organization under the administrative authority of France's Ministry of Research.


Founded in 1939 by governmental decree, CNRS has the following missions:
> To evalulate and carry out all research capable of advancing knowledge and bringing social, cultural, and economic benefits to society
> To contribute to the application and promotion of research results
> To develop scientific communication
> To support research training
> To participate in the analysis of the national and international scientific climate and its potential for evolution in order to develop a national policy

CNRS research units are spread throughout France, and employ a large body of permanent researchers, engineers, technicians, and administrative staff. Laboratories are all on four-year, renewable contracts, with bi-annual evaluations.
There are two types of labs:
> CNRS labs:
fully funded and managed by CNRS
> Joint labs: partnered with universities, other research organizations, or industry

As the largest fundamental research organization in Europe, CNRS is involved in all scientific fields, organized into the following areas of research:
> Life sciences
> Physics
> Chemistry
> Mathematics
> Computer science
> Earth sciences and Astronomy
> Humanities and Social sciences
> Environmental sciences and Sustainable development
> Engineering

CNRS conducts some twenty interdisciplinary programs in order to promote exchange between fields, ensure economic and technological development, and solve complex societal problems.

The CNRS annual budget represents one-quarter of French public spending on civilian research. This funding comes from various sources:
Government and public funding
> CNRS funds, primarily from industrial and EU research contracts and royalties on patents, licenses, and services provided.


Budget for 2009
€3.36 billion of which €607 million comes from revenues generated by CNRS contracts

32,000 employees: 11,600 researchers, 14,400 engineers and technical staff, and 6000 non-permanent employees

 > 10 thematic institutes
> 19 regional offices, ensuring decentralized direct management of laboratories
> 1100 research units–90% are joint research laboratories with universities and industry

Industrial Relations (2007)
> 1680 contracts signed by CNRS with industry in 2007
> 30 current agreements with major international industrial groups
> 3103 patent families
> 729 licenses and other financially remunerating active acts
> €58.2 million in royalties
> 394 companies created between 1999 and 2008

DAE and dRI, two offices devoted to international relations
CNRS carries out research activities throughout the world, in collaboration with local partners, thus pursuing an active international policy.
The Office of European Affairs (DAE) and the Office of International Relations (DRI) coordinate and implement the policies of CNRS in Europe and the rest of the world, and maintain direct relations with its institutional partners abroad.
The DAE and the DRI promote cooperation between CNRS laboratories and foreign research teams through a set of structured collaborative instruments developed for this purpose. At the same time, they coordinate CNRS actions with those of other French and international research organizations as well as the activities of the Ministries of Research and Foreign Affairs.
To carry out their mission, the DAE and the DRI–with head offices in Paris–rely on a network of eight representative offices abroad, as well as on the science and technology offices in French embassies around the world.

In numbers:
Exchange agreements: 85 (with 60 countries)
Foreign visiting scientists: 5000 (PhD students,
post-docs, and visiting researchers)
Permanent foreign staff members:
> About 1700 researchers of whom more than 1200 come from Europe
> International Programs for Scientific Cooperation (PICS): 368
> International Associated Laboratories (LEA + LIA): 123
> International Research Groups (GDRE + GDRI): 90
> International Joint Units (UMI): 22

Contact: Antonia Alcaraz,


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