PressCNRS international magazine

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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 information

> 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 contracts, renewable, 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 in the following areas of research: 


> Life sciences

> Physics

> Chemistry

> Mathematics

> Computer science

> Earth Sciences and Astronomy

> Humanity and social sciences

> Environmental Sciences and

   Sustainable Development

> Engineering



CNRS conducts some twenty interdisciplinary programs. One major objective is to promote inter-disciplinarity in order to improve knowledge, ensure economic and technological development or solve complex societal problems. They concern the following fields:


> Life and its social challenges

> Information, communication and knowledge

> Environment, energy and sustainable development

> Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials

> Astroparticles



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.





… And Figures


Budget for 2007

€2.834 billion of which €513 million come from revenues generated by CNRS



31,239 employees: 

11,677 researchers, 14,456 engineers and technical staff, and 5106 non permanent employees




> 1190 research units–83% are joint research laboratories with universities and industry

> €10.3 million devoted yearly to interdisciplinary research programs


Industrial Relations in (2006)

> 4000 contracts signed by CNRS with industry 

> 39 current agreements with major international industrial groups

> 7450 patents

> 1057 licenses and other financially remunerating active acts in 2005

> €53.3 million in royalties

> 246 companies created from 1999 to 2005




DAE and DREI, 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 DEA 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:  80 (with 60 countries)

> Foreign visiting scientists: 5000 (PhD students, post-docs and visiting researchers)


Permanent foreign staff members:

> 1714 researchers of whom 57% come from Europe

> 295 engineers and technicians


> International Programs for Scientific Cooperation (PICS): 316

> International Associated Laboratories (LEA + LIA): 54

> International Research Groups (GDRE + GDRI): 56

> International Joint Units (UMI): 10


Budget for 2007: €10M


Contact: Isabelle Chauvel,


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