National Acceleration Strategy PEPRs
France's national acceleration strategies provide support for ongoing transformations through well-identified products, services, uses and players. These strategies were developed by the State to accelerate such transformations at the national level in a comprehensive and coordinated way in terms of standards, finance, taxation and so forth.
Following work carried out by a college of expert representatives of the industrial and scientific spheres including the CNRS's Chairman and CEO Antoine Petit, the Interministerial Innovation Council identified around fifteen key markets requiring accelerated development and massive investment. These included Health, Agriculture and Food, the Digital sphere, Culture, Education, Mobility and Sustainable Development.
These priority investment strategies have been formulated to respond to important environmental, economic, national sovereignty or technological independence issues. They are intended to cover an innovation's entire life cycle - from the emergence of the original idea in a research laboratory or university to its commercialisation. This includes all the university training required by tomorrow's scientists and entrepreneurs and all the essential collaboration projects between laboratories and companies.
PEPRs are thus backed up by a whole national strategy and should help remove any scientific barriers or obstacles linked to this strategy.
There is a €2 billion overall budget allotted to these PEPRs. The State sets the budget allocated to a PEPR in a mission letter which also designates the institutions assigned to lead and implement the programme. Next, the PEPR is defined in tangible terms in a framework document written by the steering institution(s). Currently a total of twenty PEPRs have been identified, sixteen of which are led or co-led by the CNRS.
These PEPRs are designed for emerging transformations at their very beginnings or earliest stages. The French State chooses to accompany and support a study of the potential of the given transformation through an exploratory PEPR. In this way the PEPR paves the way for a scientific policy to be implemented in areas of national and European interest which could potentially afford multiple benefits.
There is an overall budget of €1 billion for these Exploratory PEPRs which are selected through a call for programmes with responses evaluated by an international jury. The French State follows the jury's opinions and designates the winning programmes that will receive funding. The scientific application file for the call for programmes then becomes the selected PEPR's framework document and specifies the steering institutions and budget. The latter may be subject to arbitration.
Priority Research Programmes - the PEPRs' precursors
Priority Research Programmes (PPRs) are the precursors of the PEPRs and are funded in the framework of the future investment programme (PIA3). The aim of the 'Priority Research Programmes' initiative is to construct or consolidate French leadership in given research fields.
How are PEPRs funded?
Within each acceleration or exploratory PEPR, projects are implemented in operational terms as follows:
- For targeted projects that are already mature when the PEPR's framework is defined, the coordinating institution(s) leading the project and the National Research Agency (ANR) sign an agreement.
- For the case of projects requiring a call open to the entire scientific community, the ANR launches a call for projects or for expressions of interest on the theme of the programme.