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New pact to boost French research

The French government has launched important measures to restructure the country's research sector. The Research Orientation bill, to be submitted to parliament at the beginning of 2006, is one of them. The core objective behind proposed reforms is to give research a new impetus and more flexibility for adapting to today's competitive environment.
The bill proposes €6 billion of additional funding for research and the creation of 3000 new positions this year. The goal is to increase the sector's resources by 27% and to implement 21,000 new recruitments between now and 2010.

A High Council of Science and Technology would be created for advising the nation's authorities on research and technology matters. The National Research Agency (ANR, see box), a new funding agency responsible for financing projects, would become permanent. The proposal wants to establish a unified, coherent, and clear evaluation system. An Agency for Research Evaluation (AER) would clearly define the criteria to be applied by committees composed of nationally and internationally recognized authorities. The bill aims to improve cooperation between the various actors of scientific research (universities, schools, institutes, teaching hospitals, etc.) and to stimulate innovation and R&D in the private sector.

Finally, integration of the French system into the European research community would be encouraged by supporting European partnerships and bi-national laboratories. The reforms are expected to allow for greater participation of foreign scientists in the French evaluation system, while supporting the mobility of French researchers.  

Sebastian Escalon


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