Our challenges

The CNRS as a stakeholder is fully committed to the life of the community. As such, it plays an active role in responding to the challenges facing us all today. Going beyond this commitment, the CNRS has a genuine responsibility to ensure scientific research and innovation serves the cause of sustainable progress for the benefit of society as a whole.

The CNRS's challenges

From exploring living beings, space and matter to the study of human societies, the CNRS is committed to leveraging all the fields of science to shed light on and gain insight into current global challenges in all their complexity.


Protecting the oceans

From continents to the deepest seas, from a molecule to the global system, via ecosystems, human societies and the myriad ways in which they use the ocean: sharing knowledge with decision-makers, professionals and citizens to offer the oceans the very best protection requires coordination that goes well beyond just the marine sciences.
To understand our oceans in all their aspects, the CNRS brings together researchers from across all disciplines.

Learn more about the CNRS and the Ocean

The Ocean needs science - all the sciences in fact. By its very nature this is an interdisciplinary subject and the CNRS encourages people to think of this as a crucial sustainability issue to ensure the long-term preservation of the Man-ocean system
Antoine Petit, Chairman and CEO

Making scientific knowledge and processes accessible to as many people as possible

Knowledge sharing consists of a range of initiatives that aim to inform various audiences (schools, decision makers, general public, interested parties) about scientific knowledge and enquiry. It is in part connected to the democratisation of knowledge, and the role of science and scientific enquiry in our daily lives.

Open science: Our road map

The CNRS has set itself the goal of sharing its scientific output with the largest audience and making it easily accessible. The Roadmap defined by the CNRS aligns with open science and focuses on four major objectives:

  • Retaining control over our scientific output with 100 % of CNRS publications to ultimately be in open access;
  • Developing a culture of data management/sharing among all stakeholders in the data life cycle, based on implementing the FAIR principles (data are findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable);
  • Developing and promoting infrastructure and tools that enable people to search for and analyse scientific content independently;
  • Transforming the individual assessment of researchers so that
    • It is compatible with the objectives of open science;
    • And takes the contribution made by researchers to open science into account for their assessment.

Scientific expertise

Institutional scientific expertise initiatives are founded in a rigorous approach that is a guarantee of quality and objectivity and aim to shedding light on given subjects to inform public decision-makers and debates about the major issues facing society.

To go further: collective scientific expertise at the CNRS


Scientific mediation

The CNRS delivers and supports countless science mediation and outreach initiatives involving a range of audiences:

Explore the unexpected

The public are invited to explore the unexpected through the CNRS’s “Échappées inattendues” initiative, where they can discover and learn from scientists. These events or talks offer an opportunity to raise questions about our society, its transition, the state of our knowledge or even the major planetary challenges.


Out of the ordinary open days

During its 'Visites Insolites' (unusual visits) open days, the CNRS opens the doors of its laboratories, observatories, science hubs and research sites across France for the general public to dive right in to the heart of research and explore unique installations and experiences, face to face with the scientists that work there.


Three-minute thesis

The Three-minute thesis competition offers PhD students a chance to present their research subject in front of a diverse audience. Each student has three minutes to give a clear, concise but engaging presentation of their research project.


A Zest for Science on YouTube

“Zeste de Science” is a popular science YouTube channel that decodes the latest research via videos made by scientists.


The scientific mediation medal

The scientific mediation medal recognises scientists and research support staff for individual or collective actions, either on a specific project or their ongoing work, which highlight the value of science to society and help disseminate scientific information and knowledge beyond the walls of their laboratories.

Find out more about the scientific mediation medal


The CNRS Foundation

The purpose of the CNRS Foundation is to support ambitious and unrestricted research that gets to the heart of modern social and economic issues. You can get involved too!

Discover the CNRS Foundation website (in French)


Photo Credit: © Christian MOREL / LISN / CNRS Images