The National Center for Scientific Research, or CNRS, is a public organization under the responsibility of the French Ministry of Education and Research.
Founded in 1939 by governmental decree, the CNRS aims to:
Evaluate and carry out all research capable of advancing knowledge and bringing social, cultural, and economic benefits for society.
Contribute to the promotion and application of research results.
Develop scientific information.
Support research training.
Participate in the analysis of the national and international scientific climate and its potential for evolution in order to develop a national policy.
As the largest fundamental research organization in Europe, the CNRS carries out research in all fields of knowledge, through its ten institutes:
Institute of Biological Sciences
Institute of Chemistry
National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy
Institute of Ecology and Environment
Institute for Engineering and Systems Sciences
Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences
Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies
National Institute for Mathematical Sciences
National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics
Institute of Physics
The organization's annual budget represents a quarter of French public spending on civilian research. It originates from various sources:
Government and public funding;
CNRS-generated income, primarily from industrial and EU research contracts and royalties on patents, licenses, and services provided.
The CNRS encourages collaboration between specialists from different disciplines, in particular with universities, thus opening up new fields of inquiry to meet social and economic needs. The CNRS has developed interdisciplinary programs, which bring together several departments as well as other research institutions and industry.
Interdisciplinary research is undertaken in the following domains:
Life and its social implications
Information, communication and knowledge
Environment, energy and sustainable development
Nanosciences, nanotechnologies, materials
Astroparticles: from particles to the Universe
CNRS laboratories (or research units) are located throughout France, and employ a large body of tenured researchers, engineers, and support staff.
Laboratories are all on renewable four-year contracts, with bi-annual evaluation by the CNRS. There are two types of labs:
Intramural labs, fully funded and managed by the CNRS.
Joint labs, in partnership with universities, other research organizations, or industry, both in France and abroad.