Our research

Research must deliver benefit. It must benefit society. It should help humanity to progress. It must share knowledge and innovate. In this way, we can push the boundaries of our understanding. To achieve this, the CNRS has chosen to pursue research that leverages every field, in pursuit of sustainable progress, to deliver technological, scientific or societal advances.

1100 laboratories across the whole of France
80 laboratories outside France all around the world
28,000 scientists of 90 different nationalities

Research at the CNRS

Research for the benefit of society

10 discoveries that have changed the world

The Higgs boson

The existence of this particle was predicted in 1964 and observed for the first time in 2012. It gives mass to elementary particles.

Albert Einstein

Once the L2 bounded curvature conjecture in general relativity was resolved, researchers were able to set out a framework for resolving Albert Einstein’s equations (CNRS/UPMC/Université Paris-Diderot/Princeton University).


While studying fruit flies, researchers from the CNRS and the Université de Toulouse III discovered that micropeptides (atypical proteins in the genome) regulate cellular proteins.

Sodium-ion battery

These new batteries created by the CNRS, the Collège de France and the Sorbonne University, could replace the batteries currently used in laptops and electric cars. This is because the salt is able to store energy in a way that has a less damaging impact on the environment.

Bruniquel stalagmites

This study carried out by the CNRS, the University of Bordeaux and the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, showed that humans were living in caves around 176,500 years earlier than previously believed.

Antivirus software

Hundreds of malware programmes were used by researchers at the CNRS, the Inria and the Université de Lorraine, with the goal of creating a new antivirus software for the police and later for businesses.

Artificial brain

Electronic synapses capable of independent learning have been developed by the CNRS, Thales, the University of Bordeaux and Paris-Saclay University. This research opens up the possibility of creating an artificial brain.


The aim of this work on the condolence books filled in by Parisians after the attacks of 13 November 2015 was to study the construction and development of memory after these attacks, and it raised questions about some of the received ideas about the sociological processes involved.


While developing an optical lens capable of extended temporal scaling, scientists also improved our understanding and our ability to anticipate extreme events such as rogue waves. (CNRS/ University of Franche-Comté, etc.)


What if life came from comets? A ribose molecule, an essential component of living beings, has been successfully created in an artificial comet. (CNRS/Université Nice Sophia Antipolis and Université Paris-Sud)

Scientific Integrity at the CNRS

Scientific integrity is one of the founding principles of the CNRS. A guarantee of research credibility that builds trust with its public, scientific integrity is based on a system of rules and values, delivered by the Mission for Scientific Integrity (MIS) and the CNRS’s Scientific Integrity Officer.

Discover the MIS

At the CNRS, the values of deontology, scientific integrity, and ethics are fundamental and constitute the foundation of our responsibility in terms of research and innovation.

Learn about the responsible research


Ethics officer

The role of Ethics Officer derives from the law dated April 20th 2016 on ethics and the rights and obligations of civil servants and its implementing decree in April 2017. The Ethics Officer is legally responsible for responding to requests for advice from civil servants on ethics and more specifically on integrity, probity, neutrality, secularity, professional secrecy, the independence of researchers, hierarchical obedience, occupying more than one job and conflicts of interest.

Contact the Ethics Officer

Photo credit: © Jean-Claude MOSCHETTI / Géosciences Rennes / CNRS Images