The French National Center for Scientific Research is a government-funded research organization under the administrative authority of the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research. It produces knowledge for the benefit of society.

With over 32,000 employees (including 26,000 permanent members of personnel – 11,600 researchers and 14,400 engineers, technicians and administrative members of personnel) and a budget in 2009 of 3.367 billion euros, 607 million of which it has personally funded, the CNRS practices its activity in all fields of knowledge, relying on more than 1,200 research and service units set up across France.

Eminent researchers have worked for CNRS laboratories at some point in their career and, with 16 Nobel Prize-winners and 9 Fields Medal winners, the CNRS has a long tradition of excellence.


Open to partnerships

Facts & figures :

  • Over 1,200 research and service units, almost 90% of which have partnerships with the French Ministry of Higher Education and other French research organizations
  • 3,765 main patents at the end of 2009
  • 382 new patents registered in 2009
  • 828 active licenses and 1,663 industrial contracts signed in 2009 with businesses
  • 503 innovative firms created since 1999
  • 5,000 foreign researchers welcomed annually in the laboratories
  • 1,714 foreign researchers with permanent positions at the CNRS
  • 85 cooperation agreements with 60 countries
  • 368 international scientific cooperation programs
  • 123 European and international associate laboratories and 90 European and international research groups
  • 22 international mixed units
  • representations in Brussels, Johannesburg, Moscow, Beijing, Santiago in Chile, Tokyo, Washington and Hanoï.

The CNRS is a member of the French National Alliance for Life and Health Sciences (Aviesan), set up in April 2009 along with the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), French National Institute for Agricultural Research (Inra), French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (Inria), French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm), French Research Institute for Development (IRD), Institut Pasteur, French Association of University Vice-Chancellors and French Association of University Hospital CEOs. Within Aviesan, the CNRS aims to help coordinate the national policy for life and health sciences (by organizing platforms, pooling initiatives and through national and international representation).


With a foothold in all knowledge fields


The French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) conducts research in all scientific, technological and societal fields thanks to its ten institutes.


Institute of Biological Sciences


The INSB’s mission is to develop and coordinate research in biological sciences with the aim of better understanding life in all its complexity, starting at the level of atoms and biomolecules, extending to cells and thought, through to organisms and populations.


Institute for Engineering and Systems Sciences


The INSIS’s mission is to ensure the Fundamental Research – Engineering – Technology continuum by taking the "systems" approach, starting with the development of disciplines at the heart of the institute.


Institute of Chemistry


The INC’s mission is to develop and coordinate research into developing new compounds, understanding chemical reactivity, and delving ever deeper into and predicting relationships between the structure of compounds at the atomic level and their properties.


Institute of Ecology and Environment


The INEE’s mission is to develop and coordinate research carried out in the fields of ecology and environment, including biodiversity and interactions between humans and environment.


Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences


The INSHS’s mission is to develop research on humans, from the development of language and knowledge to economic, social and political activities.


Institute of Physics


The INP’s mission is to develop and coordinate research in the field of physics, with two main motives: to understand the world and to respond to current societal challenges.


Institute for Mathematical Sciences and their Interactions


The INSMI’s mission is to develop and coordinate research in different branches of mathematics, combining fundamental aspects with applications.


Institute for Computer Sciences and their Interactions


The INS2I’s mission is to develop research in the fields of computer sciences and their interactions.


National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy (INSU)


The INSU’s mission is to develop and coordinate research with a national and international dimension in astronomy, earth sciences, ocean sciences, atmospheric and space sciences.


National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics


The IN2P3’s mission is to develop and coordinate research carried out in the field of nuclear, particle and astroparticle physics.

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