The French National Centre for Scientific Research is among the world's leading research institutions. Its scientists explore the living world, matter, the Universe, and the functioning of human societies in order to meet the major challenges of today and tomorrow. Internationally recognised for the excellence of its scientific research, the CNRS is a reference in the world of research and development, as well as for the general public.


The National Centre for Scientific Research is an interdisciplinary public research organisation under the administrative supervision of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

Nearly 3.8 billion A budget of
33,000 people dedicated to research
More 1,100 research laboratories in France and abroad

Status : Public Scientific and Technological Establishment (EPST)

Date of creation : October 19, 1939

President : Antoine Petit

Headquarters : 3, rue Michel-Ange, Paris 16e

Research fields :

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology and environment
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Engineering and systems
  • Mathematics
  • Nuclear and particles
  • Physics
  • Information sciences
  • Earth sciences and astronomy



The French state has entrusted the CNRS with the role of advancing knowledge for the benefit of society. The organisation seeks to accomplish this national mission while respecting ethical rules and showing commitment to professional equality.

To identify and conduct, alone or with its partners, research that is in the interest of science as well as the technological, social, and cultural advancement of the country.
Mission entrusted by the state to the CNRS, decree of November 24, 1982

A five-pronged mission

1. Conduct scientific research

The CNRS conducts “research that is in the interest of science as well as the technological, social, and cultural advancement of the country”. Oriented toward the common good, this research approach is multidisciplinary in nature, long-term in outlook, and open to the unknown.

2. Transfer research results

The CNRS’s aim is for society to benefit from the advances it achieves, whether they relate to technologies, sustainable development, or societal issues. Numerous measures for technology transfer and application have been implemented to that effect, notably with industrial partners.

3. Share knowledge

The CNRS gives access to research results and data, for they are part of our common heritage. This sharing of knowledge is intended for different audiences, including the scientific community, the media, and the general public.

4. Train through research

Knowledge is also transmitted through training and the conduct of research, with the CNRS welcoming hundreds of future researchers, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows in its laboratories each year.

5. Contribute to scientific policy

The CNRS participates in the national research strategy with its partners, notably at major French university locations. It also carries out evaluations and expert assessments on scientific matters.

Decree regarding the organisation and functioning of the CNRS (in French)

Promoting ethics in research

Integrity in research has become a key element in scientific policies. In recent years, norms defined on the European and international levels have prompted countries and research institutions to tackle this issue head on. As a pioneer in the domain, the CNRS is perfectly in keeping with the philosophy of the National Charter of Ethics for the Research Professions (2015).

The purpose of research is to contribute to the development of knowledge and the advancement of science. It relies on the principles of honesty, scientific integrity, and responsibility, on which the public bases its confidence in research.
CNRS Ethics Committee, Integrity and Responsibility in Research Practices

A best practice guide

Centered around the concrete activity of researchers, the Integrity and Responsibility in Research Practices guide is a reminder of the framework in which researchers work: the civil service, the rights and obligations of civil servants, and professional responsibility (non-discrimination, gender equality, combatting harassment) notably with regard to PhD students. It lists the basic rules for the production and processing of scientific data (reliability, traceability, etc.), as well as for scientific publications (plagiarism, royalties, open access, etc.). The guide also touches on the issues of intellectual property and conflicts of interest, and provides recommendations for all of these points.

CNRS Ethics Committee

Created in 1994, The CNRS Ethics Committee (Comets) is an independent advisory body connected to the CNRS Board of Trustees. It represents all disciplines, and ensures gender equality. Its mission is to :

  • reflect on the ethical aspects of research practice, the main stakes involved, and relations with society
  • raise awareness of the importance of ethics among researchers and staff
  • formulate opinions together with recommendations

The Ethics Committee does not directly intervene in scientific controversies, and does not deal with specific cases, which fall under the purview of the CNRS ombudsperson.

Operational ethics and bioethics

For all questions relating to regulations on ethics, the Comets can resort to both an internal and external audit. The Committee notably works with the Bioethical Regulation Unit of the CNRS’s Institute of Biological Sciences (INSB), the organisation that addresses all issues related to operational ethics in laboratories.

When it comes to ensuring compliance with ethical research rules involving human beings, the Inserm’s Ethics Evaluation Committee (CEEI) or the Institutional Review Board (IRB) can be approached if needed.

Changes in the legislation and regulation of bioethical matters — especially research involving human beings — also fall under the remit of the CNRS’s Bioethical Regulation Unit.

Find out more

Commitment to professional equality

The CNRS’s Mission for Women’s Integration, reporting directly to the CNRS president, is a pioneering governing body in France’s research landscape. For more than fifteen years, it has endeavoured to promote gender equality in the workplace, as well as the integration of gender in research programmes.

Women represent 34.5% of researchers, and 49.7% of engineers and technicians. Despite recent progress, gender parity has not yet been achieved among scientists.
Elisabeth Kohler, Director of the Mission for Women’s Integration

The “Acting for Professional Equality at the CNRS” action plan (2014) has four main focuses: striving for professional equality within the CNRS (recruitment, careers, honors); promoting an interdisciplinary “gender” approach in research; encouraging scientific and technical careers with young people, especially girls; developing European and international partnerships.

Visit the Mission for Women’s Integration website (in French)

Un employeur engagé

Le label européen « HR Excellence in Research » (HRS4R)

  • La Stratégie européenne des ressources humaines pour la recherche (HRS4R)
    Depuis 2005, le CNRS s’inscrit dans une démarche d’amélioration continue visant à une meilleure prise en compte des recommandations de la Charte européenne du chercheur et du Code de conduite pour le recrutement des chercheurs.
    Le CNRS a ainsi obtenu de la part de la Commission européenne le label « HR Excellence in Research » le 10 février 2017 lui permettant ainsi de valoriser son environnement de travail et la qualité de sa gestion des ressources humaines.
    Dans le cadre de son plan d’actions HRS4R (2017-2020), le CNRS a pris des engagements dans cinq domaines prioritaires : la déontologie et l’intégrité scientifique, le recrutement, la Qualité de vie au travail (QVT), la non-discrimination et le développement professionnel.
  • Plan d’actions révisé (2019-2021)
    Deux ans après l’obtention du label « HR Excellence in Research », l’évaluation intermédiaire, conduite par le comité de pilotage HRS4R, a mis en exergue le fait que les actions prévues en 2017 et 2018 avaient été pour la grande majorité d’entre elles réalisées, voire enrichies pour certaines.
    Le plan d’actions révisé a repris les actions du plan initial, enrichi de 15 nouvelles actions venant en soutien des principaux axes stratégiques de la politique de l’établissement.
  • Renouvellement du label HRS4R (2022-2024)
    L’année 2023 est celle du renouvellement du label HRS4R pour le CNRS. Dans cette perspective, un bilan des actions de la période précédente a été dressé et un nouveau plan d’actions, à destination de tous ses personnels, est proposé à la Commission européenne pour les trois années à venir.

Engagement pour l’égalité professionnelle

La Mission pour la place des femmes au CNRS, rattachée à la présidence du CNRS, est une instance pionnière dans l’univers de la recherche en France. Depuis 2001, elle s’attache à promouvoir l’égalité professionnelle entre les femmes et les hommes, et l’intégration de la dimension de genre dans les programmes de recherche.

34,6 % de femmes parmi les chercheurs contre 49,7 % parmi les ingénieurs et techniciens. Malgré des progrès récents, la parité femme-homme n’est pas encore atteinte chez les scientifiques.
Elisabeth Kohler, Directrice de la mission pour la place des femmes

Le plan d’action « Agir pour l’égalité professionnelle au CNRS » (2014) comporte quatre axes de travail principaux : agir pour l’égalité professionnelle au sein du CNRS (recrutement, carrières, distinctions) ; promouvoir la transversalité de l’approche « genre » en recherche ; valoriser les carrières scientifiques et techniques auprès des jeunes, notamment les filles ; développer les partenariats européens et internationaux.

Site de la Mission pour la place des femmes au CNRS

Prévention des conflits


La médiatrice du CNRS, Pascale Beyma, intervient dans la prévention et la gestion des difficultés relationnelles et des conflits interpersonnels dans le cadre du travail, ayant des répercutions au niveau individuel et collectif. Dans le respect du code national de déontologie du médiateur, elle met en œuvre les principes fondateurs de la médiation que sont l’indépendance, la confidentialité des échanges, l'écoute, l’impartialité, la neutralité, et le caractère volontaire de la démarche.

Dans le cadre de cette mission, la médiatrice peut être amenée à faire des observations ou des propositions d'amélioration d’organisation ou de fonctionnement. Elle ne dispose cependant d’aucun pouvoir décisionnaire. Chaque année, elle adresse un rapport anonymisé au président-directeur général du CNRS et rend compte de ses activités devant le Comité d'hygiène, de sécurité et des conditions de travail (CHSCT) du CNRS.
Sont exclus du champ d'intervention de la médiatrice : les problématiques en rapport avec l'intégrité scientifique et la déontologie.


Tel que prévu par la loi du 6 août 2019 relative à la transformation de la fonction publique, le CNRS met une cellule d'écoute et de soutien à la disposition des agents qui s'estiment victime ou témoin d'un acte de violence, d'un acte de discrimination, d'actes de harcèlement moral ou sexuel ou d'agissements sexistes.

Le fonctionnement du dispositif fait l'objet d'une circulaire dédiée. Les fonctions de référent signalements sont assurées par Joël Moret-Bailly, qui est assisté d'une Cellule signalements.

Prévention des risques professionnels

L'activité de recherche, aussi diverse que passionnante, n'est pas sans risques pour la santé et la sécurité du personnel. Le CNRS s’engage à bâtir un environnement de travail sain et à intégrer les questions de santé et de sécurité à l'ensemble de ses activités pour limiter les accidents et incidents. 
Pour ce faire, il s’agit, en lien avec les représentants du personnel au sein des instances de dialogue social compétentes (Comité social d’administration, Formation spécialisée en santé, sécurité et conditions de travail…) :

  • De mener à bien l'évaluation des risques professionnels dans ses 1100 laboratoires, en France et à l’étranger.
    Chaque unité doit réaliser et mettre à jour annuellement un Document unique d'évaluation des risques professionnels (DUERP). Afin d’aider les laboratoires dans cette démarche, le CNRS a développé un outil informatique. 
  •  De mettre en œuvre annuellement un programme national de prévention des risques professionnels et d’amélioration des conditions de travail, se déclinant en 17 programmes régionaux et autant de plan d'actions que de laboratoires.
    Le programme national, conçu collectivement par 4 directions (Coordination nationale de médecine de prévention, Coordination nationale de prévention et sécurité , Direction des ressources humaines et Direction de la stratégie financière, de l'immobilier et de la modernisation) tient compte avant tout de la réalité du terrain mais aussi des orientations stratégiques ministérielles en la matière.
  • De développer une documentation et une communication régulière en matière de prévention et sécurité.
    Le pôle santé sécurité met à disposition des unités guides et documents sur les principaux risques rencontrés dans les laboratoires.
  • De former le personnel aux questions de santé et sécurité au travail et d’animer le réseau des assistants de prévention (2200 personnes).
    Près de 8000 personnes sont formées en moyenne chaque année sur les questions de sécurité du travail (premiers secours, nouveaux entrants, risques spécifiques, …). Les assistantes et assistants de prévention, présents dans toutes les unités, bénéficient également d’une formation initiale et continue.


The CNRS has been led by scientists since the word go. This form of governance allows it to devote all of its resources to research... and to demonstrate its innovation capacity in terms of ethics and professional equality.

Institutional management

Management Board

The Management Board is the CNRS’s decision-making body. It firstly includes the CNRS President and CEO, who is a member of the scientific community, and is appointed by the Council of Ministers upon a proposal made by the French Minister of Higher Education and Research. The Management Board is also composed of a Chief Research Officer, a Chief Resources Officer, a Chief Technology Transfer Officer, and the President’s Cabinet Secretary.

Management Committee

The management committee includes the Management Board along with the ten Institute directors and the Communications Department.

Scientific organisation

CNRS Research Office (DGDS)

The DGDS conducts, alongside the president, the institution’s scientific policy. It coordinates the activities of the ten CNRS Institutes, promotes interdisciplinarity, and organises partnerships with various research players at the regional, national, European, and international levels. Within this framework, and in close collaboration with the CNRS Resource Office, it relies on the expertise of the regional offices.

The Institutes

The scientific management of the CNRS includes ten institutes that guide the organisation’s research strategy and coordinate the activities and projects of the laboratories reporting to them. Each institute covers more or less extensive disciplinary fields in biology, physics, chemistry, engineering, the humanities and social sciences, mathematics, ecology, information sciences, and Earth sciences and astronomy.

Learn more about the institutes

Administrative organisation

CNRS Resource Office (DGDR)

The DGDR conducts, alongside the president, the institution’s administrative and financial policy. It is responsible for the development of human resources and activities in support of research. Within this framework, and in close collaboration with the CNRS Research Office, it relies on the expertise of the CNRS Institutes.

Regional organisation

Regional offices

The CNRS's eighteen regional offices play a role in managing and offering local support for the laboratories located throughout France. They work in collaboration with the CNRS’s academic partners, and notably assist in developing industrial projects and European programmes.

Learn more about the CNRS Regional Offices

Financing in the service of public research

The funding of CNRS activities is mostly provided by public service subsidies approved in the budget, supplemented by various resources known as CNRS-generated income. The latter is connected in particular to research contracts, which are signed as a result of successful applications to calls for proposals — primarily with French and European public organisations, and to a lesser degree with private companies. Funding is also derived from subsidies from other institutions (universities, research organisations, etc.).

Main features of the CNRS budget :

  • Nearly €3.8 billion budget;
  • 74% of resources come from public service subsidies, and nearly 27% from CNRS-generated income (research contracts, funding from calls for proposals, provision of services, etc.);
  • More than 80 % of the CNRS-generated income comes from research contracts (nearly 821 M€ in 2021).


Nearly 3.8 billion budget
Nearly 27 % CNRS-generated income

(research contracts, funding from calls for proposals, provision of services, etc.)

86.5 % of funding devoted to laboratories

A committed employer

Recipient of the HR Excellence in Research Award

In February 2017, the CNRS received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its European human resources strategy for researchers (HRS4R). The institution was recognized for helping build the European Research Area, as well as for the quality of its human resources policies.

Permanent employees recruited by competitive entrance examination

The CNRS employs nearly 33,000 people, including over 15,000 researchers, 14,000 engineers, and approximately 4,000 technicians. Permanent employees work alongside contract employees, and are recruited through external competitive entrance examinations, which open in December for researchers and June for engineers and technicians. More than 90 nationalities are represented in its research units. 

More than 200 occupations

The research activities of the ten thematic institutes include all fields of knowledge, and are organised into 41 sections and 5 interdisciplinary commissions under the administrative supervision of the National Committee for Scientific Research. The engineers and technicians who contribute to and support research fall into over 200 occupations from numerous professional fields, including sciences of the living world, chemical sciences, the humanities and social sciences, computer science, information, administration, and management.

Quality of life at work, a priority

In the world of research, in which personal commitment is decisive for the successful outcome of scientific programmes, quality of life at work is an essential lever for success. The CNRS made it one of its HR priorities by implementing a dedicated plan through 2019.

Integrating people with disabilities

Finally, the Mission for the Integration of People with Disabilities has implemented an action plan seeking to recruit and facilitate the professional integration of these agents. 

Visit the Careers website

Like this glass blower working for the Kastler Brossel laboratory, the CNRS employs highly-qualified professionals in a wide variety of occupations.© Frédérique Plas / CNRS Photothèque / LKB

Organisational chart

Management Board

Chairman and CEO

Principal Private Secretary

Deputy CEO for Science

Deputy CEO for Resources

Deputy CEO for Innovation

CNRS Research Office

The Research Office (DGDS) coordinates the activities of the ten CNRS Institutes, promotes interdisciplinarity, and organises partnerships with various research players on the regional, national, European, and international levels. The DGDS is directed by Alain Schuhl.

CNRS Service Departments (7)

European and International Affairs Department (DEI)

Research Open Data Department (DDOR)

Public Partnership Support Department (DAPP)

Mission for interdisciplinarity ( MITI)

Mission for Scientific Expertise (MPES)

Very Large-Scale Research Facilities Committee (TGIR)

General Secretariat of the National Committee for Scientific Research

Institutes (10)

Institute of Chemistry (INC)

Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE)

Institute of Physics (INP)

Institute of Biological Sciences (INSB)

Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (INSHS)

Institute for Engineering and Systems Sciences (INSIS)

National Institute for Mathematical Sciences and their Interactions (INSMI)

National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy (INSU)

Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies (INS2I)

National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3)

CNRS Resources Office

The CNRS Resources Office (DGDR) conducts the administrative and financial policy of the institution, and is responsible for the development of human resources and research support activities. The DGDR is directed by Christophe Coudroy.

Senior Executives Office Director (DDCS)

CNRS Service Departments

Human Resources (DRH) (2)

Senior Executives Office Director (DDCS)

Mission for Women’s Integration (MPDF)

Financial Strategy, Real Estate and Modernisation (DSFIM)

Accounts and Financial Information (DCIF)

Legal Affairs (DAJ)

Information Systems (DSI)

Security Department (DIRSU)

Transversal Steering Support Mission (MTAP)

Occupational Health and Safety Department (3)


Occupational Health and Safety Department’s mission

National Prevention and Safety Coordination (CNPS)

National Department for Occupational Health (CNMP)

Innovation officer

Business Relations Department (DRE)

CNRS Innovation

Governing bodies reporting to the president

Communications Department

Ethics Officer / Whistleblower

Scientific Integrity Officer

Ethics Committee


Internal Audit Department

Data Protection Office (DPD)

Defence and Security Officer

Mission for Women’s Integration (MPDF)

Regional offices

Eighteen regional offices serve as the primary CNRS representatives for the institution’s partners in the field. Theses offices play a role in managing and supporting the laboratories spread out across France. They assist in particular in implementing industrial projects and European programmes.

Research units

The CNRS has approximately 1,100 laboratories located throughout France. Most are Joint Research Units (UMR) operating in association with a university, a higher education establishment, or another research institution. To these laboratories must be added 36 international Joint Units (UMI).

Board of Trustees

The CNRS Board of Trustees analyses and establishes, upon consultation with the Scientific Board, the main lines of the CNRS policy relating to the cultural, economic, and social needs of the entire French nation. It defines the principles that govern its relations with socioeconomic partners, as well as universities and national, foreign, or international organisations operating in its fields of activity. The Board of Trustees is presided over by Antoine Petit.

National Committee for Scientific Research

Attached to the CNRS, the National Committee for Scientific Research (CoNRS) advises on the governance of the organisation and the management of the Institutes. Thanks to the research of its governing bodies, it contributes to the development of the institution’s scientific policy, analyses its context and prospects, participates in the recruitment and career path of researchers, and monitors the activity of research units.


Present in all fields of knowledge, the CNRS ranks among the leading global research institutions for its excellent research and innovation achievements.

The CNRS at the top of international rankings

Created during the 2000s, international rankings compare research and higher-education institutions based on quantitative and qualitative criteria. They are established by private information analysis companies, commercial scientific publishers, or public research groups. The emergence of international rankings and their presence in the research landscape should be seen in the context of global competition between institutions.

4e au classement Nature Index

En 2020, le CNRS est au 4e rang mondial du classement Nature Index, le classement international des institutions scientifiques de la revue Nature.

Nature Index

2e au classement Scimago Institutions Rankings

Selon le classement SIR (Scimago Institutions Rankings) 2019, le CNRS est la deuxième plus importante institution de recherche mondiale en nombre de publications scientifiques. Désormais devancé par l’Académie des sciences de Chine, le CNRS se maintient devant l’université de Harvard (États-Unis). Ce classement évalue plus de 5 100 universités et organismes de recherche à travers le monde et se fonde sur l'indexation des publications scientifiques mondiales dans la base de données Scopus.


6e déposant de brevet en France

Le CNRS se place pour la cinquième année consécutive à la 6e place du palmarès de l'Institut national de la propriété industrielle (Inpi) des déposants de brevets publiés en 2022 et confirme ainsi sa place d’acteur majeur de l’innovation.

Inpi : palmarès 2022

Le CNRS dans le Top 100 des innovateurs mondiaux en 2023

En 2023, le CNRS maintient sa place dans le Top 100 Global Innovators™, rare organisme de recherche à se distinguer dans ce classement international. L’organisme est également reconnu en 2023 parmi les 50 organisations les plus souvent citées par le Top 100 Global Innovators™ 2023.

Top 100 Global Innovators

Lire l'article

Activity report

The CNRS activity report presents a selection of the scientific results of the research carried out in the laboratories, most often in collaboration with universities, research organizations, grandes écoles, industry or even foreign research institutions. This brochure also highlights the CNRS strategy in terms of technology transfer, partnerships and modernisation of its administration.

Activity report per year :


Au sein d’une équipe, d’un laboratoire, d’un service, d’une délégation ou encore d’un grand équipement, les personnels du CNRS travaillent sur l’ensemble du territoire à développer ou accompagner un projet de recherche.

Des permanents recrutés par concours et des contractuels

Le CNRS emploie plus de 33 000 agents : plus de 28 900 scientifiques (plus 16 500 chercheurs et près de 12 400 ingénieurs et techniciens) et près de 4 100 ingénieurs et techniciens dans les fonctions supports. Les permanents sont recrutés par voie de concours externes, ouverts en décembre pour les chercheurs et en juin pour les ingénieurs et techniciens. Plus de 90 nationalités différentes évoluent au sein des unités.
Le CNRS recrute aussi par voie contractuelle (cliquer ici) et offre des opportunités de parcours professionnels (mobilité interne, concours interne, évolution de carrière).

Plus de 200 métiers

Les activités de recherche au sein des dix instituts thématiques couvrent tous les champs de la connaissance qui s’organisent en 41 sections et 5 commissions interdisciplinaires relevant du Comité national de la recherche scientifique. Les ingénieurs et techniciens, qui accompagnent et soutiennent la recherche, se répartissent en plus de 200 métiers à travers plusieurs branches d’activités professionnelles : sciences du vivant, sciences chimiques, sciences humaines et sociales, informatique, information, gestion et pilotage.

La qualité de vie au travail, une priorité

Dans le monde de la recherche, où l’engagement personnel est déterminant pour le succès des programmes scientifiques, la qualité de vie au travail est un levier essentiel de réussite. Le CNRS en a fait une de ses priorités RH en mettant en place un plan dédié (en savoir plus).

L'insertion des personnes en situation de handicap

La Mission pour l’insertion des personnes en situation de handicap met en œuvre un plan d’action visant à recruter et faciliter l’intégration professionnelle de ces agents.