Recent evolution in the organization of CNRS; increasing impact of public research in the society of innovation
On 11 October 2011 Prof. Vladimir Mayer (CNRS, France) devilered a seminar on "Recent evolution in the organization of CNRS; increasing impact of public research in the society of innovation".
On 11 October 2011 Prof. Vladimir Mayer, Institute of Social Sciences of Politics, CNRS, and University Paris-XII Nanterre - ENS Cachan (France), delivered a special seminar on the increasing impact of public research in the knowledge economy using the example of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) - the largest public research organization in France - to illustrate how public research institutions can adapt to the changing framework conditions and the requirements imposed by the knowledge economy and knowledge society.
The French Public Research Sector follows a dual approach: research is performed by public research organizations and by universities. In total around 166 000 persons work for public research in France including 99000 scientists of which 54000 staff are employed by faculties in universities and 45 000 scientists in public research institutes. In addition approximately 222000 persons (including 130000 scientists) are working for research in private labs.
The CNRS is a governmental organization under the administrative authority of the France’s Ministry of Research. CNRS follows the missions of coordinating, performing and evaluating the fundamental research in France; advancing knowledge having cultural, social and economic impact; contributing to the promotion and application of research results; training for and through research; international and European cooperation as well as fostering bilateral scientific collaboration and promoting the European Research Area. The CNRS employs a total 90810 staff in all CNRS affiliated research units of which 14670 are permanent researchers, 25810 permanent teachers-researchers at universities, 23440 support staff (e.g. engineers, technicians, administrators) and 26890 PhD students, post-docs, visitors. The CNRS budget accumulated to 3,1 billion € (2,5 b€ state funding) in 2009 of which two thirds were personal cost.
CNRS researchers have proven successful in terms of academic output since the inception of CNRS. During the last 50 years CNRS researchers were awarded 13 Nobel Prizes (of which 6 physics, 4 biology, 2 chemistry and 1 economy), 25 500 articles/yr in international scientific journals thus CNRS publications account for 55% of all publications in France, 6.5% of all publications in European research area and 2.5 % of all publications in the world. Roughly half of CNRS publications are co-authored publications with contributors from abroad.
Until recently the CNRS was headed by a “tandem – duo”, e.g. a President and a Director General which were both appointed by the Government for a four year period once renewable. Thus far the President was responsible for defining the strategy, general policy and relationship with universities, industry and foreign partners while the Director General assures the scientific, administrative and financial functioning. Since 2010 the CNRS leadership structure was adjusted now being headed by a “triangle” led by the President who is again nominated by the government on a 4 years fixed term appointment with a onetime extension option. The President is assisted by the Chief scientific Officer and the Chief Officer for resources
CNRS nowadays develops fruitful relationships with the industry, helps laboratories to enhance their research and transfers technology to the business world. Thus far CNRS has signed 25 framework agreements with major industrial groups, filed 4382 main patents by 2010 (out of which 432 new patents filed in 2010), has 864 active licenses (generating over 50 million EURO revenue per year), concludes about 1,700 industrial contracts concluded with companies every year. To total 593 innovative companies were established since 1999 of which over 200 are still active.
To achieve these excellent results CNRS has developed several tools. Firstly a Directorate of innovation and relations with enterprises was established succeeding the former Directorate of industrial policy. The Directorate is transferring scientific results into practical application by means of contracting, patents, licenses, marketing, innovation, incubators, spin off companies. The directorate in principle includes entities – the FIST SA (France Innovation Scientifique et Transfert) and OSEO (Innovation).
FIST SA is offering services to define strategies for commercializing of technologies and intellectual property related matters, to identify potential users and negotiate contracts as well as optimizing the management of patents and licenses.
OSEO is offering support to CNRS staff on patenting, licensing, technological operations, capital transfer through a network of partnership services. There are 20 people working in the Regional Delegations who advise and assist researchers in contracting activities and detect and follow activities which have a technological and patenting potential. In order to strengthen collaborations between SME and public research a repertory of competences in CNRS laboratories was created and a School of innovation established which initiates contacts between SMEs and researchers detecting and following activities having technological potential
These activities have led to the commercialization of 1500 technologies in all scientific disciplines, the analysis of 300 new technologies par year, the management of 3200 priority patents, the exploitation of 800 licenses and the negotiation of 100 new licenses per year.