France’s research minister, Valerie Pecresse, announced on May 21 that France’s main research agency, the Centre National de la Recherhe Scientifique (CNRS), will be split into six specialized institutes. They will focus on mathematics, physics, chemistry, engineering sciences, social sciences and ecology. The remaining sectors will be supervised by existing agencies: INSERM will take over health research, INRA will oversee agriculture and veterinary sciences, and INRIA will be in charge of computing research. The CNRS has a 2008 budget of €3.277 billion ($5.080 billion), employs 32,000 people and shares 1,200 laboratories with the French university system. Although the announcement has caused a stir in the French scientific community, the CNRS’s nuclear physics and space programs were split off into autonomous institutions in the mid-1980s.

Source: Science Business

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