The CNRS plays an essential unifying role in the effective functioning and influence of French research by virtue of its partnerships with academia, industry and regional authorities. This partnership-based approach structures the organisation’s science, innovation, and education policy.
Multiple forms of cooperation
Since the creation of associated laboratories in 1966, partnerships and diversity have been the rule for CNRS research structures. The organisation’s 1,100 laboratories have all signed agreements and conventions with partners. In addition, 90% of its laboratories are joint research units (UMR), which bring together personnel from the CNRS and one or more other institutions (university, school, other organisation, etc.) to work on jointly defined subjects. .
Industrial actors are essential partners of the CNRS, working alongside the academic world (higher education and public research). This cooperation, which is sometimes little known to the public, takes the form of joint research projects, patents, domestic and international public-private research organisations, and the creation of start-ups. These are so many concrete realisations that make the CNRS a key player in the French innovation landscape.
Strength concentrated at strategic sites
Centres of excellence
The CNRS is an essential contributor to the construction of world-class university sites that coordinate learning, research, and innovation. By promoting synergies and optimising resources, this site-based policy seeks to create champions of academic research in France who can compete with the world’s best multidisciplinary universities.
The Investments for the Future Programme
Present throughout France, the CNRS is well positioned to promote this programme. It is a full-fledged participant in the Investments for the future (PIA) scheme through its role in Idex (Initiatives of excellence) projects and I-sites (Science Innovation Territory Economy Initiatives). A founding member of 14 networks of universities and higher-eductation institutions (ComUEs), it is present in the administrative boards of numerous universities.
With its partners, the CNRS signs site agreements that define a shared scientific strategy, and provide a functional framework for joint research units (resources, contracts, etc.). The organisation helps structure sites by contributing its research excellence, scientific networks, industrial partnerships, international cooperation, and access to large research infrastructure.
The actors of the CNRS site policy
The CNRS Research Office (DGDS) coordinates the institution’s site policy through the directors of its ten Institutes.
The Department for the Territorial Organisation of Research (Dapp) is in charge of assisting higher education institutions in their new responsibilities within the French research system. It coordinates the various operations through which the CNRS contributes to the development and promotion of large scientific clusters, working hand-in-hand with local actors and authorities.
The CNRS’s 18 regional offices, each under the responsibility of a regional representative, serve as the primary point of contact for the organisation’s partners in the field. They provide laboratories with essential services in human resources, financial management, partnerships and technology transfer, information systems, hygiene, and security. This cooperation has intensified in recent years in response to a commitment to ensuring coherent management of joint research units in the higher education and research landscape.