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International cooperation tool kit

In order to optimize and structure the relationships with foreign partners, the CNRS aims to allow its research units to work with leading laboratories around the world. In this regard, cooperative resources are designed to help CNRS researchers and their foreign partners to find the best-suited means to achieve the type of collaboration they wish to establish. These tools are intended as a basis for discussion on how to implement collaboration between partners.

International Joint Unit (UMI and UMIFRE)
Single-location joint lab with permanent CNRS staff

Located either in France or in another country. Staffed by personnel from both the CNRS and the partner country. Headed by a director, jointly appointed by the CNRS and the partner institution. Duration: 4 - 12 years. Mirror structure = associated labs in France to facilitate cooperation and reciprocal exchange of scientists. Find out more

What is a UMI?

A UMI is a full-fledged laboratory, as found in universities and research organizations. It is based in a single location, in France or abroad, and brings together researchers, students, postdocs, and support staff from the CNRS and partner institution(s). The director of the UMI is jointly named by the CNRS and the foreign partner institution(s).

The UMIFRE

The "French Research Institutes Abroad" or UMIFRE are joint units between CNRS and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

How long does a UMI last?

Four years, possibly renewable twice after evaluation of the UMI activity.

Who can submit a UMI proposal?

An application to create a UMI must be submitted by its future director (a researcher or professor) to both the CNRS and the partner institution abroad.

How and when to submit a proposal?

Requests to set up a UMI can be made at any time to the relevant thematic institute of the CNRS and the partner institution abroad.

The application file includes a research proposal and a provisional budget plus total cost for 4 years.

How are proposals evaluated?

Scientific evaluation of proposals is carried out simultaneously by peer review, at the CNRS and at the partner institution. The selection of UMIs is competitive and based on mutual agreement between the partners.

In France, the National Committee for Scientific Research provides an evaluation.

As UMIs have the same status as the CNRS units, decisions concerning their creation must be ratified by the President of the CNRS.

Once the decision to create a UMI has been made, a contract, with research project description, consolidated provisional budget, management rules and intellectual property provisions is signed by the President of CNRS and by the heads of the foreign partner institution.

How is a UMI funded?

Human and material resources are provided to the UMI by the CNRS and the partner institution(s), in addition to funding from other sources, such as other research organizations, foundations, and private companies.

The salaries of researchers, Ph.D. students, postdocs and support staff are covered, as are equipment, running costs, research trips, and infrastructure expenses.

These expenses are jointly covered by the partners according to an annual provisional budget, following consultation between the administrative and scientific authorities in both countries.

International Associated Laboratory (LIA)
International lab "without walls"

Brings together two partner institutions (PI) that contribute human and material resources to a jointly-defined project. The laboratories retain their independence and legal status, keep their directors and stay in their individual locations. The LIA is coordinated by two PIs that submit a research program to the steering committee. Joint funding for mobility, small equipment. Duration: 4 - 8 years. Find out more

What is a LIA?

In order to structure collaboration between two research teams or laboratories (one in France and the other abroad) that already have joint publications, the creation of an international associated laboratory (LIA), a "laboratory without walls", can be requested.

The relationship between the two partners is formalized through a contract signed by the heads of both organizations, with provisions covering issues such as intellectual property rights.

Human and material resources are pooled to carry out the project. Teams or laboratories associated through an LIA retain their separate autonomy, status, director and location.

The LIA activities are coordinated by two co-principal investigators and by a scientific steering committee.

How long does a LIA last?

Four years, possibly renewable once.

Who can submit a LIA proposal?

In France, CNRS researchers or academic staff working in CNRS-affiliated research units willing to be co-principal investigators for the LIA.

Outside of France, researchers or academic staff from a research organization or university willing to be co-principal investigator for the LIA.

How and when to submit a proposal?

Proposals must be submitted to the relevant CNRS thematic institute and simultaneously to the partner institution abroad, according to their specific agenda.

How are proposals evaluated?

Proposals are evaluated at both the CNRS and the partner institution if this is provided for in a bilateral agreement.

At the CNRS, evaluation is carried out by the relevant thematic Institutes.

Once the decision to create a LIA has been made, an agreement with a research project description, a provisional budget, and intellectual property provisions is signed by the authorized representative(s) of the French and partner institutions abroad.

How is a LIA funded?

The CNRS and the partner institution earmark funding for LIA projects, in addition to other resources provided by the home institutions for research on the project.

Running costs, research trips, small equipment are eligible for funding.

Funding begins at the start of the fiscal year following the decision to create an LIA.

A scientific and financial report is required annually.

International Research Network (GDRI)

Brings together several laboratories from two or more countries to coordinate research on a specific topic. Funding is used mainly towards mobility, seminars and workshops. Duration: 4 - 8 years. Find out more

What is a GDRI?

A GDRI is a scientific coordination network gathering research teams in European and non-European countries. Its activities are coordinated by a scientific committee.

In order to establish a flexible partnership bringing together several French and foreign research teams around a specific scientific topic, it is possible to apply for the creation of an International Research Network.

How long does a GDRI last?

Four years, possibly renewable once.

Who can submit a GDRI proposal?

In France, CNRS researchers, as well as academic staff from other research organizations working in CNRS-affiliated joint units.

Outside of France, researchers and academic staff from a research organization or university.

How and when to submit a proposal?

Proposals can be submitted at any time, to the relevant CNRS thematic institute and simultaneously to the partner institutions abroad.

How are proposals evaluated?

Scientific evaluation of proposals is carried out simultaneously at both the CNRS and the partner institutions. At the CNRS, evaluation is overseen by the relevant thematic institutes.

Once the GDRI has been approv

ed, an agreement, detailing the scientific content, composition of the scientific committee and provisional budget, is signed by the authorized representative(s) of the French and partner institutions abroad.

How is a GDRI funded?

The network is funded by all partners, and the resources are used towards the organization of conferences, seminars, symposiums, workshops, thematic schools or work meetings on the network's specialized topic.

Funding begins at the start of the fiscal year following the decision to create a GDRI.

A scientific and financial report is required annually.

Joint Research Projects (PRC)

Jointly selected and financed by the CNRS and a partner institution abroad. Researchers must respond to a joint annual call for proposals. Funding is dedicated to mobility: visits, meetings, and small equipment. Variable duration, not renewable. Find out more

What is a PRC?

A PRC is a research project jointly carried out by two researchers, one affiliated to a CNRS laboratory and the other to a foreign research partner. The PRC is jointly assessed and selected by the CNRS and the partner organization following a joint call for proposals.

As part of its cooperation agreements with funding agencies and foreign research bodies, the CNRS finances joint research projects (PRCs) enabling two research teams to work together. Young researchers are strongly encouraged to participate in these PRCs.

What is the duration of a PRC?

The duration of a PRC varies according to the calls for proposals, and is generally of two to three years, not renewable.

Who qualifies for a PRC?

In France, CNRS researchers, academics and researchers from other organizations working in a CNRS research unit.

Outside of France, researchers and academics from an eligible research organization or university.

How and when to apply?

A call for proposals is published annually with each of the partners. The start and closing dates vary according to the countries concerned. The foreign partner must simultaneously file an application with their supervisory organization. A consolidated provisional budget must be provided with the scientific project.

How are applications assessed?

Scientific assessment is carried out in parallel in each country, by the CNRS and its partner organization. At the CNRS, the assessment is coordinated by the scientific Institutes. Projects are selected jointly.

How are PRCs funded?

Funding is provided by the CNRS and its partner. Each organization finances its researchers' travel and living expenses. In the case of the CNRS, funding normally covers "additional international costs", i.e. assignments, meeting expenses, operating costs and small equipment. We recommend checking the funding conditions for each call for proposals.

A scientific and financial report is required annually.

International Program for Scientific Cooperation (PICS)

Cooperation Project based on an ongoing collaborative relationship. Researchers must respond to an annual call for proposals. Funding is dedicated to mobility: visits, meetings, and small equipment. Three-year duration, not renewable. Find out more

What is a PICS?

A PICS is a joint research program aimed at supporting joint research projects carried out by two teams, one from the CNRS and one from abroad. Funding required by the cooperation to support exchanges comes from both partners.

In situations where cooperation with a foreign partner is well-established, and has resulted in joint publications in scientific journals, it is possible to formalize the relationship through a PICS.

This is a more involved form of cooperation than a plain exchange of researchers in that it is based on pre-existing joint research, and has a longer time frame.

It brings together two research teams and the participation of young researchers (Ph.D.s and postdocs) is encouraged.

How long does a PICS last?

Three years, non renewable.

Who can submit a proposal?

In France, CNRS researchers, as well as academic staff from other institutions who work in CNRS-affiliated research units.

Outside France, researchers and academic staff from a research organization or university.

How and when to apply?

A call for proposals is published annually on the website of the CNRS European Research and International Cooperation Department (DERCI). The two-stage application process begins on March 1 and finishes on the first week in June. Funding begins at the start of the following year. Before submitting a proposal, CNRS researchers must seek approval from the relevant thematic institute. Once they have obtained it, they can request an application form from the DERCI.

The foreign partner must simultaneously submit a proposal to their home institution. A provisional budget is to be presented with the research project proposal.

How are applications evaluated?

Proposals are evaluated at both the CNRS and the partner institution if this is provided for in a bilateral agreement.

At the CNRS, evaluation is carried out by the relevant thematic Institutes.

How are PICS funded?

Both institutions participate in PICS funding. This covers research trips, meetings, and running expenses if needed..

Funding begins at the start of the fiscal year following the decision to carry out a joint project within the framework of the PICS.

A scientific and financial report is required annually.