Public Research Organizations [fr]


  • Public research outside of universities, engineering schools, CHU and grands établissements is produced by Public Scientific and Technical Research Establishments (EPST) and Public Industrial and Commercial Establishments (EPIC).
  • The number of full-time equivalent (FTE) researchers working for companies and the administration in 2008: Industry (98 700), administration included Higher Education (104 100), Services (34 900).

The list of organizations according to the size of their domestic expenditure on R&D (DIRD):


  • CNRS: National Centre for Scientific Research
  • INRA: National Institute for Agronomic Research
  • INSERM: National Institute for Health and Medical Research médicale
  • INRIA: Research Institute for Development
  • IRD: Institut de recherche pour le développement
  • CEMAGREF: National Centre for Agricultural Machinery, Rural Engineering, Water and Forest Management
  • INRETS: National Institute for Transport and Safety Research
  • LCPC: Central Laboratory for Roads and Bridges
  • INED: National Institute for Demographic Studies


  • CEA: Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies
  • CNES: National Centre for Space Studies
  • ONERA: National Aerospace Research Centre
  • IFREMER: French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea
  • CIRAD: Agricultural Research Centre for International Development
  • IRSN: French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety
  • BRGM: French Geological Survey
  • ANDRA: French National Agency for Radioactive Waste Management
  • CSTB: French Building Research Institute
  • IPEV: Institut polaire français Paul Émile Victor
  • LNE: National Laboratory for Meteorology and Testing
  • INERIS: National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks
  • ADEME: French Agency for Environment and Energy Management

CNRS and CEA are the top two organizations among the French research agencies in terms of DIRD, the number of personnel, and scientific development.

Focus on...



CNRS is under the administrative authority of the Ministry for Higher Education and Research. With more than 34 000 employees, an initial budget for 2012 of 3.3 billion euros, including 776 million euros from its own funds, and locations across France, CNRS conducts research in all areas of knowledge by relying on more than 1 100 research and service units. In 2012 CNRS has been ranked first publisher wolrdwide by SCImago ranking

The main pluridisciplinary research organization in France, CNRS conducts research in all scientific, technological and social disciplines. CNRS is among the 100 Best Gobal Innovators (Thomson & Reuters, 2012), it is the first recipient of the ERC Grant since the creation of the program in 2007.

CNRS works in all major disciplines which are divided across ten institutes, three of which are national.

  • INSB : Institute of Biological Sciences
  • INC : Institute of Chemistry
  • INEE : Institute of Ecology and Environment
  • INSHS : Institute for the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • INS2I: Institute for Computer Sciences
  • INSIS : Institute for Engineering and Systems Sciences
  • INSMI : National Institute for Mathematical Sciences
  • INP : Institute of Physics
  • IN2P3: National Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • INSU : National Institute for Earth Sciences and Astronomy

CNRS has offices across the entire country: 19 regional centres are responsible for direct and local management of laboratories and for relationship-building with local partners and territorial authorities.

  • More than 1 100 research and service units; 93% of units work in partnership with higher education establishments and other French research organizations;
  • 670 innovative companies created since 1999 ;
  • 5 000 foreign researchers work in French laboratories every year; 1 714 foreign titular researchers at CNRS; 50 cooperation agreements with 40 countries; 331 international programs in scientific cooperation; 127 European and international affiliate laboratories; and 112 European and international research groups; 30 mixed international research units;
  • permanent representations abroad (Brussels, Hanoi, Malte, Moscow, New Delhi, Beijing, Pretoria, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Tokyo, Washington)

Find more about the research made in CNRS on the "podcast video CNRS" website .

2. CEA

A major actor in research, development and innovation, the Commission for Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies conducts research in four key areas: low-carbon energies, information technology and health technology, Very Large Research Infrastructures (TGIR), defence and global security.

For each of these four key areas, the Commission relies on high-level fundamental research and provides support to the industry.

CEA has 10 centres located nationwide. The Commission develops numerous partnerships with other research organizations, local authorities and universities. CEA is a member of national alliances conducting research in energy (ANCRE), life and health sciences (AVIESAN), digital technologies and sciences (ALLISTENE), and environmental sciences (AllEnvi).

CEA in 2010:

  • 15 867 salaried employees
  • 10 research centres
  • 4,3 billion euros in budget
  • More than 650 registered priority patents
  • 150 companies created since 1984 in the innovative technologies sector
  • 52 mixed research units (UMR) link CEA with its research partners
  • 25 Equipex (Equipements of excellence)
  • 16 Labex (Laboratories of excellence)
  • 31 corresponding research laboratories work in collaboration with CEA.

You can download the pdf document which gives more informations regarding others French research institutions:

PDF - 617 kb
"French research institutions" booklet
(PDF - 617 kb)

Created on August 19, 2011
Last update on September 13, 2012


Last modified on 21/02/2013

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