The CNRS

The French National Centre for Scientific Research is among the world's leading research institutions. Its scientists explore the living world, matter, the Universe, and the functioning of human societies in order to meet the major challenges of today and tomorrow. Internationally recognised for the excellence of its scientific research, the CNRS is a reference in the world of research and development, as well as for the general public.

Snapshot

The National Centre for Scientific Research is an interdisciplinary public research organisation under the administrative supervision of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.

3,3 milliards d’euros de budget
33 000 personnes au service de la recherche
1 144 laboratoires de recherche en France et à l’étranger

Status : Public Scientific and Technological Establishment (EPST)

Date of creation : October 19, 1939

President : Antoine Petit

Headquarters : 3, rue Michel-Ange, Paris 16e

Research fields :
 

  • Biology
  • Chemistry
  • Ecology and environment
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Engineering and systems
  • Mathematics
  • Nuclear and particles
  • Physics
  • Information sciences
  • Earth sciences and astronomy

Audiodescription

A venir.

Missions

The French state has entrusted the CNRS with the role of advancing knowledge for the benefit of society. The organisation seeks to accomplish this national mission while respecting ethical rules and showing commitment to professional equality.

Identifier, effectuer ou faire effectuer, seul ou avec ses partenaires, toutes les recherches présentant un intérêt pour la science ainsi que pour le progrès technologique, social et culturel du pays.
Mission confiée par l’État au CNRS, décret du 24 novembre 1982

A five-pronged mission

1. Conduct scientific research

The CNRS conducts “research that is in the interest of science as well as the technological, social, and cultural advancement of the country”. Oriented toward the common good, this research approach is multidisciplinary in nature, long-term in outlook, and open to the unknown.

2. Transfer research results

The CNRS’s aim is for society to benefit from the advances it achieves, whether they relate to technologies, sustainable development, or societal issues. Numerous measures for technology transfer and application have been implemented to that effect, notably with industrial partners.

3. Share knowledge

The CNRS gives access to research results and data, for they are part of our common heritage. This sharing of knowledge is intended for different audiences, including the scientific community, the media, and the general public.

4. Train through research

Knowledge is also transmitted through training and the conduct of research, with the CNRS welcoming hundreds of future researchers, PhD students, and postdoctoral fellows in its laboratories each year.

5. Contribute to scientific policy

The CNRS participates in the national research strategy with its partners, notably at major French university locations. It also carries out evaluations and expert assessments on scientific matters.

Decree regarding the organisation and functioning of the CNRS (in French)


Promoting ethics in research

Integrity in research has become a key element in scientific policies. In recent years, norms defined on the European and international levels have prompted countries and research institutions to tackle this issue head on. As a pioneer in the domain, the CNRS is perfectly in keeping with the philosophy of the National Charter of Ethics for the Research Professions (2015).

L’activité de recherche a vocation à contribuer au développement des connaissances et à l’avancement de la science. Elle s’appuie sur des principes d’honnêteté, d’intégrité et de responsabilité sur lesquels la société fonde sa confiance en la recherche.
Comité d’éthique du CNRS, Pratiquer une recherche éthique et responsable

Un guide sur les bonnes pratiques

Centré sur l’activité concrète des chercheurs, le guide Pratiquer une recherche éthique et responsable rappelle le cadre de travail des chercheurs : fonction publique, droits et devoirs des fonctionnaires et responsabilité professionnelle (non-discrimination, lutte contre le harcèlement, égalité femmes-hommes) notamment vis-à-vis des doctorants. Il recense par ailleurs les règles de base de la production et du traitement des données scientifiques (fiabilité, traçabilité, etc.) et de leur publication (plagiat, droit d’auteur, libre accès, etc.). Le guide aborde également les questions de propriété intellectuelle et de conflit d’intérêts. Pour tous ces points, il formule des préconisations.

Le Comité d’éthique du CNRS

Créé en 1994, le Comité d'éthique du CNRS (Comets) est une instance consultative indépendante placée auprès du conseil d'administration du CNRS. Il représente toutes les disciplines et respecte la parité. Il a pour mission :

  • développer la réflexion sur les aspects éthiques suscités par la pratique de la recherche, ses enjeux et ses rapports avec la société
  • sensibiliser les chercheurs et les personnels à l'importance de l'éthique
  • formuler des avis assortis de recommandations

Le Comets n'intervient pas directement dans les controverses scientifiques et ne traite pas les cas particuliers, lesquels relèvent de la médiatrice du CNRS.

Éthique opérationnelle et bioéthique

Pour toutes les questions liées à la réglementation éthique, le Comets peut faire appel à des expertises internes ou externes au CNRS. Le Comets travaille notamment avec la cellule Réglementation et Bioéthique de l'Institut des sciences biologiques (INSB) du CNRS qui est la structure référente pour les questions d’éthique opérationnelle des laboratoires.

Concernant la certification de conformité aux règles éthiques des recherches impliquant l'être humain, il peut être fait appel en cas de besoin au comité d'évaluation éthique de l'Inserm (CEEI) ou Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Pour l'évolution de la législation et de la réglementation en matière de bioéthique et notamment les recherches impliquant la personne humaine, la cellule Réglementation et Bioéthique du CNRS est également compétente.

En savoir plus

Commitment to professional equality

The CNRS’s Mission for Women’s Integration, reporting directly to the CNRS president, is a pioneering governing body in France’s research landscape. For more than fifteen years, it has endeavoured to promote gender equality in the workplace, as well as the integration of gender in research programmes.

34,5 % de femmes parmi les chercheurs contre 49,7 % parmi les ingénieurs et techniciens. Malgré des progrès récents, la parité femme-homme n’est pas encore atteinte chez les scientifiques.
Elisabeth Kohler, Directrice de la mission pour la place des femmes

The “Acting for Professional Equality at the CNRS” action plan (2014) has four main focuses: striving for professional equality within the CNRS (recruitment, careers, honors); promoting an interdisciplinary “gender” approach in research; encouraging scientific and technical careers with young people, especially girls; developing European and international partnerships.

Visit the Mission for Women’s Integration website (in French)

Management

The CNRS has been led by scientists since the word go. This form of governance allows it to devote all of its resources to research... and to demonstrate its innovation capacity in terms of ethics and professional equality.

Institutional management

Management Board

The Management Board is the CNRS’s decision-making body. It firstly includes the CNRS President and CEO, who is a member of the scientific community, and is appointed by the Council of Ministers upon a proposal made by the French Minister of Higher Education and Research. The Management Board is also composed of a Chief Research Officer, a Chief Resources Officer, a Chief Technology Transfer Officer, and the President’s Cabinet Secretary.

Management Committee

The management committee includes the Management Board along with the ten Institute directors and the Communications Department.

Scientific organisation

CNRS Research Office (DGDS)

The DGDS conducts, alongside the president, the institution’s scientific policy. Elle coordonne l'action des dix instituts du CNRS, veille à promouvoir l'interdisciplinarité et organise les partenariats avec les divers acteurs de la recherche, à l'échelle régionale, nationale, européenne ou internationale. It coordinates the activities of the ten CNRS Institutes, promotes interdisciplinarity, and organises partnerships with various research players at the regional, national, European, and international levels. Dans ce cadre, et en relation étroite avec la direction générale déléguée aux ressources, elle s'appuie sur les compétences des délégations régionales. Within this framework, and in close collaboration with the CNRS Resource Office, it relies on the expertise of the regional offices.

The Institutes

The scientific management of the CNRS includes ten institutes that guide the organisation’s research strategy and coordinate the activities and projects of the laboratories reporting to them. Chaque institut couvre des champs disciplinaires plus ou moins étendus en biologie, physique, chimie, ingénierie, sciences humaines et sociales, mathématiques, écologie, sciences de l’information et sciences de l’univers. Each institute covers more or less extensive disciplinary fields in biology, physics, chemistry, engineering, the humanities and social sciences, mathematics, ecology, information sciences, and Earth sciences and astronomy...

Learn more about the institutes

Administrative organisation

CNRS Resource Office (DGDR)

The DGDR conducts, alongside the president, the institution’s administrative and financial policy. Elle est responsable du développement des ressources humaines et des activités de soutien à la recherche. It is responsible for the development of human resources and activities in support of research. Dans ce cadre, et en relation étroite avec le DGDS, elle s'appuie sur les compétences des instituts du CNRS. Within this framework, and in close collaboration with the CNRS Research Office, it relies on the expertise of the CNRS Institutes.

Regional organisation

Regional offices

The CNRS's eighteen regional offices play a role in managing and offering local support for the laboratories located throughout France. They work in collaboration with the CNRS’s academic partners, and notably assist in developing industrial projects and European programmes.

Learn more about the CNRS Regional Offices
 

Financing in the service of public research

The funding of CNRS activities is mostly provided by public service subsidies approved in the budget, supplemented by various resources known as CNRS-generated income. The latter is connected in particular to research contracts, which are signed as a result of successful applications to calls for proposals — primarily with French and European public organisations, and to a lesser degree with private companies. Funding is also derived from subsidies from other institutions (universities, research organisations, etc.).

Main features of the CNRS budget :

  • A €3.3 billion budget;
  • 77% of resources come from public service subsidies, and 23% from CNRS-generated income (research contracts, funding from calls for proposals, provision of services, etc.);
  • half of the CNRS-generated income comes from research contracts (375 M€ in 2016), and a third from project or research programme funding (255 M€ en 2016). A little more than 1/10th of research contracts are concluded with private companies.

 

3.3 billion budget
23 % CNRS-generated income

(research contracts, funding from calls for proposals, provision of services, etc.)

86.5 % of funding devoted to laboratories

A committed employer

Recipient of the HR Excellence in Research Award

In February 2017, the CNRS received the European Commission’s HR Excellence in Research Award for its European human resources strategy for researchers (HRS4R). The institution was recognized for helping build the European Research Area, as well as for the quality of its human resources policies.

Permanent employees recruited by competitive entrance examination

The CNRS employs nearly 33,000 people, including over 15,000 researchers, 14,000 engineers, and approximately 4,000 technicians. Permanent employees work alongside contract employees, and are recruited through external competitive entrance examinations, which open in December for researchers and June for engineers and technicians. More than 90 nationalities are represented in its research units. 

More than 200 occupations

The research activities of the ten thematic institutes include all fields of knowledge, and are organised into 41 sections and 5 interdisciplinary commissions under the administrative supervision of the National Committee for Scientific Research. The engineers and technicians who contribute to and support research fall into over 200 occupations from numerous professional fields, including sciences of the living world, chemical sciences, the humanities and social sciences, computer science, information, administration, and management.

Quality of life at work, a priority

In the world of research, in which personal commitment is decisive for the successful outcome of scientific programmes, quality of life at work is an essential lever for success. The CNRS made it one of its HR priorities by implementing a dedicated plan through 2019.

Integrating people with disabilities

Finally, the Mission for the Integration of People with Disabilities has implemented an action plan seeking to recruit and facilitate the professional integration of these agents. 

Visit the Careers website

Image 1
Like this glass blower working for the Kastler Brossel laboratory, the CNRS employs highly-qualified professionals in a wide variety of occupations© Frédérique Plas / CNRS Photothèque / LKB

Organisational chart

Management Board

President and CEO

Cabinet Secretary

Chief Research Officer

Chief Resource Officer

Chief Technology Transfer Officer

CNRS Research Office

The Research Office (DGDS) coordinates the activities of the ten CNRS Institutes, promotes interdisciplinarity, and organises partnerships with various research players on the regional, national, European, and international levels.

Institutes (10)

Institute of Biological Sciences (INSB)

Institute of Chemistry (INC)

Institute of Ecology and Environment (INEE)

Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences (INSHS)

Institute for Information Sciences and Technologies (INS2I)

Institute for Engineering and Systems Sciences (INSIS)

National Institute for Mathematical Sciences and their Interactions (INSMI)

Institute of Physics (INP)

National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3)

National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy (INSU)

CNRS Service Departments (4)

Department for the Territorial Organisation of Research (Dastr)

European Research and International Cooperation Department (Derci)

Innovation and Business Relations Department (Dire)

Scientific and Technical Information Department (Dist)

Mission for interdisciplinarity

Computing-Data mission

Mission pour la stratégie et les relations internationales

General Secretariat of the National Committee for Scientific Research

Very Large-Scale Research Facilities Committee

CNRS Resources Office

The CNRS Resources Office (DGDR) conducts the administrative and financial policy of the institution, and is responsible for the development of human resources and research support activities. The DGDR is directed by Christophe Coudroy.

Mission for the Monitoring of and Relations with Regional Offices and Institutes

CNRS Service Departments (6)

Accounts and Financial Information (DCIF)

Financial Strategy, Real Estate and Modernisation (DSFIM)

Human Resources (DRH)

Legal Affairs (DAJ)

Information Systems (DSI)

Security Department (Dirsu)

Occupational Health and Safety Department (3)

Presentation

Occupational Health and Safety Department’s mission

National Prevention and Safety Coordination (CNPS)

National Department for Occupational Health (CNMP)

Governing bodies reporting to the president

Internal Audit Department

Communications Department

Ethics Committee

Ombudsperson

Mission for Women’s Integration

European and International Policy Council (CPEI)

Déléguée à la protection des données

Defence and Security Officer

Référent intégrité scientifique

Référent Déontologue du CNRS

Regional offices

Eighteen regional offices serve as the primary CNRS representatives for the institution’s partners in the field. Theses offices play a role in managing and supporting the laboratories spread out across France. They assist in particular in implementing industrial projects and European programmes.

Research units

The CNRS has approximately 1,100 laboratories located throughout France. Most are Joint Research Units (UMR) operating in association with a university, a higher education establishment, or another research institution. To these laboratories must be added 36 international Joint Units (UMI).

Board of Trustees

The CNRS Board of Trustees analyses and establishes, upon consultation with the Scientific Board, the main lines of the CNRS policy relating to the cultural, economic, and social needs of the entire French nation. It defines the principles that govern its relations with socioeconomic partners, as well as universities and national, foreign, or international organisations operating in its fields of activity. The Board of Trustees is presided over by Antoine Petit.

National Committee for Scientific Research

Attached to the CNRS, the National Committee for Scientific Research (CoNRS) advises on the governance of the organisation and the management of the Institutes. Thanks to the research of its governing bodies, it contributes to the development of the institution’s scientific policy, analyses its context and prospects, participates in the recruitment and career path of researchers, and monitors the activity of research units.

Achievements

Present in all fields of knowledge, the CNRS ranks among the leading global research institutions for its excellent research and innovation achievements.

The CNRS at the top of international rankings

Created during the 2000s, international rankings compare research and higher-education institutions based on quantitative and qualitative criteria. They are established by private information analysis companies, commercial scientific publishers, or public research groups. The emergence of international rankings and their presence in the research landscape should be seen in the context of global competition between institutions.

1er au classement Nature Index

Avec un total de 4 589 articles référencés en 2017, le CNRS occupe la première place du classement international des institutions scientifiques proposé par le magazine Nature (classement Article Count, 2016). Il devance l’Académie des sciences de Chine, la société allemande Max-Planck, l’université américaine de Harvard et le Conseil supérieur de recherche scientifique espagnol.

Nature Index

 

2e au classement Scimago Institutions Rankings

Selon le classement SIR (Scimago Institutions Rankings) 2017, le CNRS est la deuxième plus importante institution de recherche mondiale en nombre de publications scientifiques. Désormais devancé par l’Académie des sciences de Chine, le CNRS se maintient devant l’université de Harvard (États-Unis). Ce classement évalue plus de 5 100 universités et organismes de recherche à travers le monde et se fonde sur l'indexation des publications scientifiques mondiales dans la base de données Scopus.

Scimago

 

4e institution de recherche la plus visible sur le Web

Le CNRS figure au 4e rang mondial et au 2e rang européen selon le classement mondial « Webometrics », dédié à la visibilité des instituts de recherche sur le Web.

Webometrics

 

5e déposant de brevets en France

Le CNRS arrive à la 5e place du palmarès des principaux déposants de brevets publiés en 2017 auprès de l'Institut national de la propriété industrielle (Inpi). C’est le deuxième organisme de recherche du classement après le CEA.

Site de l'Inpi

 

8e organisme public de recherche le plus innovant

Pour Thomson Reuters, le CNRS se place au 8e rang mondial des organismes publics de recherche les plus innovants au monde.

Thomson Reuters