French Research Ecosystem

The Ministry of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation oversees the work of public research bodies and of higher education and research institutions via:

  • definition of the National Research Strategy which is focused on tackling the major scientific, technological, environmental and societal challenges of the 21st century.
  • allocation of resources from the national research budget (in 2016, €13 billion for higher education and €7.71 billion for research efforts, including the ANR - national research agency that awards funding in response to calls for proposals.
  • evaluation of results through HCERES - High Council for the Evaluation of Research and Higher Education

Strong collaboration in public research

A large share of public research is undertaken in higher education institutions (universities and Grandes Ecoles), in close cooperation with public research institutes, such as the CNRS (the National Center for Scientific Research). Other types of institution also play a role, such as competitiveness clusters, scientific cooperation foundations and university foundations, etc.

Most of the 3,000 research institute present across the country are specific to a single institution. 30% however are joint research units (UMR - unités mixtes de recherche), meaning that they are common to two or more institutions (research institute, university etc). UMR status is a mark of recognition for a research institute, which makes it possible to recruit CNRS personnel and gives access to the organisation’s funds and international cooperation tools.  These joint research units are characterised by the diversity of their team members’ status and duties. CNRS researchers, engineers and technicians work alongside academics, researchers, engineers, technicians, PhD students, postdoctoral fellows from other institutions.

Research at Centrale Nantes

Research at Centrale Nantes is conducted in six institutes, five of which are joint research units with the CNRS. Four institutes also work jointly with a third (or more) research partner - university, grande école or research institute. These six institutes bring together nearly 900 research personnel and over 300 PhD students.

The Nantes-based NExT (Nantes Excellence Trajectory) project was selected by an international jury to become an I-SITE (Initiatives Science, Innovation, Territoires, Economie) within the PIA 2 - Investment for the Future Programme. The NExT project aims to reinforce the research and academic dynamic to make Nantes a world-class university site for health and engineering. The €369m grant will accelerate the transformation of the Nantes site, building on closer links between the university and Centrale Nantes.

The project: industry and health of the future

Led by the University of Nantes, Centrale Nantes, Nantes University Hospital and Inserm, the NExT project aims to make Nantes a world-class university site, recognized for its expertise in research, training and innovation on two major and interdisciplinary societal issues: future health (innovative biotherapies, nuclear medicine and cancer, precision medicine etc) and the industry of the future (advanced production technologies, ocean engineering etc).

An exceptional allocation for excellence projects

These new means will finance structuring projects which very ambitious in terms of research and training while reinforcing the existing collaboration between the partner institutions. This allocation triggers the creation of a new university model in Nantes, founded in particular on the regrouping of the Centrale Nantes and the University of Nantes.

French Research in the world

Public research in France

Published on February 20, 2019 Updated on March 14, 2019