Public research laboratories are partially funded by universities, public research bodies, and financing agencies, in particular the French National Research Agency (Agence Nationale de la Recherche – ANR). Laboratories also receive funds from French regional governments, charitable associations, industry associations, and the European Union.
Created in 2005, the French National Research Agency funds research projects selected through international excellence criteria. The Agency operates primarily through calls for proposals in line with national priorities and impacts all the major areas of research and innovation.
Funding via projects enables support for the most ambitious projects and the best-performing research teams. The 2016 intervention budget was around 600 M€ and projects are funded for an average period of 3 to 4 years.
ANR’s activities aim at:
- Rallying teams around societal and S&T challenges
- Speeding up knowledge creation and transfer, and fostering academic-industry partnerships
- Promoting collaborative work and interdisciplinary dialogue
- Preparing a new generation of talents
- Facilitating European and international collaborations
- Developing science and technology
From 2005 to 2016, the ANR has funded 15 600 projects, bringing together more than 22,000 public and private research teams, for a total spending of €6.5 billion.
In terms of private research, the French government supports programmes for innovation implemented by small and medium size enterprises through the state-owned firm Bpifrance and the research tax credit. The attractiveness of France at the international level and the support received by foreign firms contribute to the funding of private research.
Bpifrance’s main missions are to :
- support innovation in SMEs,
- guarantee bank financing,
- invest in future strategic sectors (ICT, NBIC, etc)
The High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES – Haut Conseil de l’Evaluation de la Recherche et de l’Enseignement Supérieur) is an independent administrative authority.
Crated in 2013, HCERES seeks to follow best international practice in the performance of its missions. With regard to evaluation criteria, its methods are based, on principles of objectivity, transparency and equal treatment for all organisations assessed, and, with regard to the selection of the individuals responsible for evaluations, on world-class scientific expertise, neutrality and balance in the representation of themes and opinions. HCERES role is to evaluate directly or verify the quality of evaluations performed by other bodies on a five years basis by validating the procedures used.