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What's New Across the Rhine ?

Franco-German Bilateral Science Relations: Return to Normal after the War

The CNRS Bureau in Bonn serves as an mediator for the CNRS with German research organisations and also as relay between German and French fundamental research. From a bilateral base, relations are becoming multilateral as the two scientific communities both become involved in European Networks of Excellence.

France and Germany have been working together for some time in a sprawling web of industrial, scientific and technical collaborative relations. New firms springing from  industrial alliances and mergers are the fruit of a long habit of generating know-how in common. If recent political analysis has noted the Franco-German motor shifting to a lower gear, nothing of the sort is happening in the sphere of research. The CNRS is hard at work prolonging and strengthening a long academic tradition of cooperative knowledge production born after the Second World War.

Numerous programs of exchange link young German and French people, including ones involving the CNRS, various public and private institutions and the scientific and cultural attachés of the Embassies of France and Germany. As for scientific collaboration, there are three main types of programmes:
 institutional agreements setting up joint projects among university laboratories, public research organisations, and national research centers and taking the form of PICs (common projects)*, LEA (associated laboratories)*, or GDRE (research nets)*.
 individual agreements1 among those involved in a particular project, whether to share common equipment for a project (COPAS project in French Guyana) or to create a new research entity (Marc Bloch Center in Berlin, French Historical Mission to Göttingen);
 spontaneous collaboration among scientists or research teams or groups through co-publication, international conferences, workshops, or via the Internet.

In perfect phase with the vision embodied in the Sixth Framework Programme and the emergence of a European Research Area, Franco-German bilateral projects are opening up to include participants from other European countries. All research actors are seeking complementarity, and in general the momentum in the case of France and Germany is coming from cores formed by bilateral relations. Additional proof that European community science is best built bottom-up, from bilateral timber.




Bernard Heusch
Direction des relations internationales du CNRS
Bureau de Bonn, Allemagne
Tel: +49 (0) 228 302-280/-281

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