The CNRS has been led by scientists since its creation in 1939. This form of governance enables it to devote all of its resources to fulfilling its missions.
CNRS governing bodies
The Management Board is the CNRS’s decision-making body, and notably includes its Chairman and CEO. The Management Board also consists of Chief Officers for Science, Resources, and Innovation, as well as the Chairman and CEO’s Principal Private Secretary.
CNRS Chairman and CEO
The CNRS Chairman and CEO, who comes from the scientific community, is appointed by the Council of Ministers upon the proposal of the Minister for Higher Education and Research. The role has been fulfilled since January 24, 2018 by Antoine Petit, the holder of an agrégation in mathematics and a doctorate in computer science.
The Scientific Board
The CNRS Scientific Board oversees the coherence of the organisation’s scientific policy in conjunction with the other advisory scientific bodies of the National Committee.
It notably advises on:
- the broad orientations of CNRS scientific policy;
- common principles for assessing the quality of research and researcher activity;
- the creation or elimination of programmes involving one or more institutes;
- the methods used to distribute financial and human resources among the institutes, programmes involving multiple institutes, and shared services;
- the Strategic Plan and the Multi-annual contract signed by the government and the CNRS.
Board of Trustees
The CNRS Board of Trustees analyses and establishes, after consultation with the Scientific Board, the main lines of the organisation’s policy in relation to the nation’s cultural, economic, and social needs.
Funding in the service of public research
Funding for CNRS activities is chiefly provided by public service subsidies passed as a budget bill, supplemented by the organisation’s other resources, known as “CNRS-generated income.” The latter can take different forms:
- Research contracts following calls for proposals, primarily with public organisations (French and European), and to a lesser degree with private enterprises.
- Subsidies received from other institutions (universities, research organisations, etc.).
CNRS Scientific Office (DGDS)
The DGDS steers, alongside the Chairman and CEO, the organisation’s scientific policy. It coordinates the activities of the ten CNRS institutes, promotes interdisciplinarity, and establishes partnerships with various actors in research on the regional, national, European, and international level.
The CNRS’s scientific management includes the ten institutes that steer the organisation’s research strategy within their discipline, and coordinate the activities and projects of the laboratories under their supervisory authority.
The National Committee for Scientific Research
Attached to the CNRS, the National Committee for Scientific Research (CoNRS) advises on the organisation’s governance and the management of the institutes. Thanks to the research of its governing bodies, it helps develop the institution’s scientific policy, analyses the context and prospects, participates in the recruitment and career path of researchers, and monitors the activity of research units.
Laboratories managed in partnership
The CNRS has over 1,100 laboratories spread across all of French territory. Their teams, which include 33,000 individuals in the service of research and innovation, are engaged in the production and transmission of knowledge. The building blocks of the CNRS, these laboratories shape the local scientific landscape, and are for the most part joint research units (UMR) associated with a university, higher education institution, or other research organisation. For a laboratory, obtaining UMR status is a marker of recognition in the world of research in both France and abroad. These national laboratories are joined by 80 international research laboratories, a number that is constantly growing.
The organisation of innovation
The CNRS Innovation Office (DGDI)
The CNRS Innovation Office pursues, alongside the Chairman and CEO, the policy for transferring research results, in addition to technology transfer and interactions with socioeconomic actors. It notably coordinates the activity of the Business Relations Department, the Legal Affairs Department, the CNRS Innovation national subsidiary, and the Partnership and Transfer Network. It relies, more broadly, on all CNRS entities involved in the technology transfer process.
The mission of the Business Relations Department is to organise and develop industrial partnerships between CNRS laboratories and major enterprises and SMEs, in close collaboration with CNRS institutes and regional offices. It is also a stakeholder within the regional innovation ecosystem.
Created in 1992, CNRS Innovation is the organisation’s national technology transfer structure.
With 30 years of experience in supporting and transferring innovative technology toward industry, it is committed to serving scientific projects:
- intellectual protection of inventions; establishment of licensing contracts for protected technologies; project prematuration; start-up creation.
CNRS Resources Office (DGDR)
The CNRS Resources Office (DGDR) conducts the organisation’s administrative and financial policy, and is responsible for the development of human resources, as well as research and innovation support activities.
The CNRS is present across all of French territory via its 17 regional offices. The primary point of contact for local partners and regional authorities, these offices provide direct and local management for laboratories, notably offering assistance in establishing industrial projects and for European programmes.
The CNRS is also present in Europe and abroad with its network of offices located in key sites for global research, including Brussels, Melbourne, New Delhi, Ottawa, Beijing, Pretoria, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Tokyo, and Washington.
Photo Credit: © Christian MOREL / IRISA / CNRS Images