Substantial rises in the number of posts for teachers, researchers and support staff are promised in France's higher education and research budgets for next year.
Both sectors have almost identical allocations of about €8.7 billion (£5.5 billion) each for 2002, 2.2 per cent higher than this year.
The priority of creating 3,500 new lecturer posts will result in staff:student ratios in universities of one teacher for 19 students.
There will also be 12,000 mobility grants to finance three months' study in other European countries.
The research budget allows for the creation of 500 posts, mostly for young researchers, technicians and engineers in public research organisations.
Three priority research areas have been specified: life sciences, covering the genome and post-genome programme, stem cells and ageing; energy and environment, including climate change; and information and communications sciences and technologies.