European research and international cooperation
The european research and international cooperation office (DERCI) implements and promotes CNRS's European and international cooperation policy. Single point of entry for French and foreign institutional partners with regard to the organization's international initiatives, it performs the following missions:
- Selecting thematic and geographical priorities, setting up win-win cooperations and structuring partnerhips
- Making CNRS international initiatives a major tool to enhance French research attractiveness and visibility abroad
- Improving dialogue and joining forces with other organizations, universities and alliances to propose coordinated initiatives at the European and international level.
CNRS international strategy
CNRS's notoriety abroad is illustrated by hundreds of structuring initiatives, which the organization has formalized with its foreign partners. Around 55,000 missions are also carried out throughout the world each year. In addition, over 200 researchers (including secondees) perform research in foreign institutions for durations of one year or over. Joint publications with international partners also bear witness to CNRS's international dynamism. They make up over half of the organization's publications.
Around 50 official delegations visit CNRS every year. This testifies to international partners' interest, not only for CNRS laboratories but also for its research organization and governance. With 31.6% foreign researchers recruited in 2011, CNRS is widely accessible to international scientists.
International cooperation tools
CNRS's international cooperation tools are structured at multiple levels:
- Bilateral conventions established by CNRS make it possible to organize researchers' mobility in order to set up new collaborations.
- International Programs for Scientific Cooperation (PICS) deal with financing initiatives between teams that have already established links through joint publications or student traning programs.
- International Associated Laboratories (LIA) lay the bases of cooperation around a joint project, mostly between one or several French teams and a main partner abroad. They sometimes foreshadow the creation of an International Joint Unit.
- International Research Networks (GDRI) allow teams from two or more countries to collaborate on a joint scientific project.
- International Joint Units (UMI), which are proper joint laboratories, have the same status as CNRS joint research units (UMR) in France. These UMIs are most often backed by one or several French laboratories, making up a "mirror UMI". Moreover, CNRS is a partner of the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 27 joint units - French institutes abroad (UMIFRE).
Collaborative projects are organized on the basis of researchers' proposals, which are subjected to a selection process within the CNRS authorities and in liaison with international partners.
CNRS participation in European programs
CNRS is a major player in the development of the European research area and thus an important contributor to the European integration process. It participates in the main five research programs of the European Commission, with which it has signed over 900 contracts since the launch of the 7th Framework Program for Research and Development (FP7). In particular, the results obtained by French researchers in the ERC1 "Starting Grants", "Advanced Grants", “Synergy Grants” and "Proof of Concept" programs have further strengthened CNRS's position as the organization that is home to the largest number of scientists in Europe. CNRS also took part in the new "Synergy" call for proposals, aimed at financing interdisciplinary projects. Moreover, CNRS participates actively in the European Commission's international cooperation projects (INCO2).
Examples of interdisciplinary and multilateral programs
The MISTRALS program
The MISTRALS program (Mediterranean Integrated STudies at Regional And local Scales) is a ten-year observation and interdisciplinary research project dedicated to understanding the processes at work in the Mediterranean Basin, as well as global change, whether natural or human-induced. Its ultimate goal is to predict the evolution of habitability conditions in this ecoregion and propose appropriate measures to optimize them. Coordinated by CNRS and the Institute for Research and Development (IRD), MISTRALS currently gathers some 300 French researchers and just as many foreign scientists.
The SEED program
The Sino-French program for the Environment and Sustainable Development (SEED), proposed by CNRS, seeks to establish a platform of resources, exchanges and expertise for Sino-French cooperation in the environment and sustainable development sectors. It relies on the experience gained during the China-INEE interdisciplinary program initiated in 2008 between CNRS and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). It seeks to mobilize all French actors to enhance the visibility of French-Chinese initiatives in the fields of urban ecology and the environment, biodiversity and ecological engineering, coastal resources and management, water resources and management. To date, over 100 researchers from six CNRS institutes have taken part in this initiative.
Key figures (assets in 2011)
- 50 framework agreements for researchers' exchanges with some 40 countries
- 331 International Programs for Scientific Cooperation (PICS)
- 127 International Associated Laboratories (LIA)
- 112 International Research Networks (GDRI)
- 30 International Joint Units (UMI)
- 27 Joint Units between CNRS/MAE French Research Institutes Abroad (UMIFRE)
- 11 CNRS representative offices abroad (Beijing, Brussels, Hanoi, Malta, Moscow, New-Delhi, Pretoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, Tokyo, Washington)
1 - ERC : European Research Council
2 - INCO programs:
- INCONET (political dialogue between the EU and another region in the world),
- BILAT (helping third countries' researchers participate in the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development),
- ERA-NET (coordinating national research programs with a third country or region),
- ACCESS4EU (strengthening European researchers' participation in third countries' programs),
- INCO-LAB (opening international laboratories to European partners)