Centre national de la recherche scientifique

The Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS ) (German National Centre for Scientific Research) is assumed to be French national research organization, the Research Ministry and is dedicated to basic research. It is similar to the German Max Planck Society, but focused much larger and thus less closely. The CNRS is the largest research organization in Europe.

In 2004, the CNRS employs 11,600 scientists from a total of 26,000 employees and a budget of 2.2 billion euros. Current research at the two national institutes for nuclear and particle physics and oceanography, and astronomy or to any of the eight départements scientifiques ( Engl.: academic departments ).

The research areas of the eight départements scientifiques:

  • Nuclear and Particle Physics
  • Engineering
  • Earth sciences
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Life Sciences
  • Chemistry
  • Physical and Mathematical Sciences
  • Communications, information sciences and technology

The CNRS has also been involved in the development of free software license CeCILL.

The CNRS was established on 19 October 1939. Predecessor companies were the Caisse nationale de la recherche scientifique and the Office national des recherches scientifiques et des inventions, which were merged in 1938.

The headquarters of the CNRS Paris, the research sites, however, are spread all over France.

The research organization has overseas offices in Bonn, Brussels, Johannesburg, Moscow, Beijing, Santiago de Chile, Tokyo, Tunis, Washington, DC and Hanoi.


  • Institut de chimie (INC )
  • Institute Écologie et environnement ( INEE )
  • Institute of Physics (INP )
  • Institut national de physique Nucléaire et de physique of particules ( IN2P3 )
  • Institute of Sciences biologiques ( INSB )
  • Institut des sciences humaines et sociales ( INSHS )
  • Institut national des Sciences Mathématiques et de leurs interactions ( INSMI )
  • Institut des sciences et de leurs informatiques interactions ( INS2I )
  • Institut national des sciences de l' univers ( INSU )
  • Institut des sciences de l' ingénierie et des systèmes ( INSIS )


The CNRS is chaired by the President Alain Fuchs since 20 January 2010.

Excellent CNRS research

Nobel Prizes

  • Nobel Prize in Physics 1966: Alfred Kastler, École normale supérieure ( Director of Research at CNRS from 1968 to 1972 ): New spectroscopic methods
  • 1991: Pierre -Gilles de Gennes, Collège de France, ESPCI: liquid crystals
  • 1992: Georges Charpak, ESPCI and CERN ( researcher at CNRS from 1948 to 1959 ): the invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber
  • 1997: Claude Cohen- Tannoudji, Collège de France and École Normale Supérieure ( 1960-1962 CNRS ): cool and trap atoms with laser light
  • 2007: Albert Fert, Since 1995, researchers from CNRS and Thales Joint. Price together with Peter Grünberg: GMR effect
  • 2012: Serge Haroche, from 1967 to 1975 at the CNRS. Price with David Wineland.
  • 2008: Luc Montagnier, émérite Professeur à l' Institut Pasteur, Unité d' Viral Oncology, directeur de recherches au CNRS et honoraire membre of the Academies des Sciences et de Médecine. Together with Françoise Barré -Sinoussi and Harald zur Hausen: HIV
  • 2011: Jules Hoffmann, director of the Institute for Molecular and Cellular Biology in Strasbourg ( group leader at the CNRS since 1978). Together with Bruce Beutler and Ralph M. Steinman: activation of innate immunity

Fields Medals

Researchers at CNRS