The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research) is a public organization under the responsibility of the French Ministry of Education and Research.
"Pushing back the frontiers of science". A film directed by Carla Bekinos and produced by CNRS Images (2014). Music: "Skyline" by Cyrus-Shahrad, with the kind authorization of Cézame Music Agency. Photographs: CNRS Photothèque.
Founded in 1939 by governmental decree, CNRS has the following missions:
- To evaluate and carry out all research capable of advancing knowledge and bringing social, cultural, and economic benefits for 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 fields
As the largest fundamental research organization in Europe, CNRS carried out research in all fields of knowledge, through its ten institutes:
- Institute of Biological Sciences (INSB)
- Institute of Chemistry (INC)
- Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE)
- Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (INSHS)
- Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies (INS2I)
- Institute for Engineering and Systems Sciences (INSIS)
- Institute of Physics (INP)
- National Institute for Mathematical Sciences (INSMI)
- National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3)
- National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy (INSU)
CNRS encourages collaboration between specialists from different disciplines in particular with the university thus opening up new fields of enquiry to meet social and economic needs. CNRS has developed interdisciplinary programs which bring together various CNRS departments as well as other research institutions and industry.
Interdisciplinary research is undertaken in the following domains:
- Life and its social implications
- Information, communication and knowledge
- Environment, energy and sustainable development
- Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials
- Astroparticles: from particles to the Universe
CNRS laboratories (or research units) are located throughout France, and employ a large body of tenured researchers, engineers, and support staff.
Laboratories are all on renewable four-year contracts, with bi-annual evaluation by the National Center for Scientific Research. There are two types of labs:
- CNRS intramural labs: fully funded and managed by CNRS (called UPR, or unités propres de recherche, in French)
- Joint labs: partnered with universities, other research organizations, or industry (called UMR, or unités mixtes de recherche, in French)
CNRS's annual budget represents a 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.