The Mission for Scientific Expertise (MPES)

The CNRS Mission for Scientific Expertise (MPES) supports decision-making and informs public debate by sharing knowledge and providing independent, interdisciplinary scientific insight on complex societal issues. More specifically, the MPES organises and coordinates collective scientific expert reviews that the CNRS manages in response to external requests or on the organisation's own initiative.

Expertise supporting decision-making and serving society

The development of the CNRS's scientific expertise strategy is based on the principles set out in the Institutional Scientific Expertise Charter

The CNRS is continually developing its capacity for scientific expertise to provide public policy support. The aim of this strategy is to inform public decision-making and debate on specific issues by providing insight into the current state of available scientific knowledge on these subjects at the time of the study.

This expertise is based on the work of the CNRS’s own researchers and its network of partners. By guaranteeing the independence of scientific views and organising interdisciplinary dialogue, the CNRS gives society access to the latest international research results.

Scientific expert reviews that are collective, independent, plural and impartial

The CNRS sets up groups of experts and supports them in carrying out collective scientific expert reviews in response to external requests or on its own initiative.

The MPES organises and coordinates the experts' work scientifically and methodologically. It also ensures the principles of competence, independence, impartiality and plurality set out in its Institutional Scientific Expertise Charter are respected.

The CNRS's scientific expert reviews are collective in nature. The organisation mandates groups of experts to analyse and summarise all the scientific literature available on the subject of a given expert review.
There are 4 main stages in a collective scientific expert review.

  • Request management

The MPES team initially dialogues with those requesting an expert review to analyse their requirements and properly frame the request. If the CNRS is capable of carrying out the requested expert review, the next step of this phase involves writing a set of specifications (cahier des charges). If it is an external request, the CNRS and the requesting body sign a formal agreement thereon.

  • Organisation of the expert review

The MPES is responsible for making sure all the necessary skills are brought together to carry out an expert review in a team with scientific leaders managing the experts who carry out the study.

It works with support from the ten CNRS Institutes to identify the right experts on the basis of their scientific activity and their competence in the area of expertise. It also analyses applications from scientists volunteering to take part in an expert review.

The MPES makes sure there is no undue influence on the expert review. It ensures the experts' impartiality, independence and the absence of any conflicts of interest before they start work on a review conducted under the CNRS's responsibility.

The MPES supports the scientific leaders in organising the expert review. This involves creating the bibliographical corpus the review will be based on and also distributing and planning out the work of the group of experts.

  • Carrying out the expert review 

The MPES provides methodological support for the scientific leaders and experts working on the expert review by liaising with the CNRS research support departments and making sure the rules on scientific expertise are respected.

Each sub-group of experts is asked to analyse and summarise a sub-section of the bibliographic corpus. Collective work sessions are organised to make sure all the relevant conclusions are included in the expert report and that all the points set out in the specifications are covered including issues that may be controversial or for which knowledge is lacking.

This work culminates in a collective expert report and a synthesis intended to be accessible to a wide audience. 

The expert report and the accompanying synthesis are collectively approved by the group of experts.

  • Promotion of the expert review 

The CNRS is responsible for the publication of the collective expert report and all associated communication activities. The expert report and its accompanying synthesis are published on the CNRS website with access for all. If those requesting the review are in agreement, a conference is set up to present the results of the review to a wide audience.

Making scientific expertise accessible to as many people as possible

The MPES coordinates communication activities regarding the CNRS's scientific expertise initiatives, targeting a wide audience – those who request expert reviews, stakeholders in the field of expertise and, more broadly, society as a whole, socio-economic actors and citizens interested in the subjects at hand.

The MPES centralises all questions about this work, particularly requests for new expert reviews and for information on collective scientific expert reviews led by the CNRS.

It publishes the list of ongoing expert reviews as well as the collective expert reports and the associated syntheses which are made available to all.

Organisation and contacts

The MPES is directed by Adeline Nazarenko and is made up of a small team which manages expert reviews.

The MPES works closely with the CNRS's ten Institutes and Mission for Transversal and Interdisciplinary Initiatives (MITI) to coordinate all the relevant actors involved in collective scientific expertise work. It also liaises with the National Committee for Scientific Research (CoNRS) and the CNRS research support departments.

If you require any information about the CNRS scientific expertise work in general or specific past, ongoing or upcoming expert reviews please contact the MPES at

Photo credit: CNRS Images photo library.