Brussels, 06 Oct 2005
French Minister for National Education, Higher Education and Research Gilles de Robien, presented a new bill on the future national research programme on 5 October, the 'pact for research'.
The French Government has decided to engage in an ambitious regeneration of the national system of research and innovation, in cooperation with stakeholders, with the aim of contributing to the development of the European Research Area (ERA) and increasing Europe's investment in research and development (R&D) to three per cent of GDP by 2010.
During a press conference, Mr de Robien diagnosed the organisational problems of French research and the need to adapt French research programmes to the changing global situation in international research - the goal of the pact for research.
Mr de Robien explained the paradox faced by French research: while 'French researchers are excellent', the proof being how the best universities in the world do not hesitate to compete in order to attract them into their ranges, 'the system of research as a whole appears less powerful today than in past, and I would say much less powerful than those who make it work'.
He continued: 'we did not adapt to the evolution of the world: our research is not reactive enough, it is very dispersed, and often does not reach critical size; in short, its procedures, its structures, fit badly in the permanent offensive demanded by international competition'.
The pact for research will address these issues by focusing on five goals:
- reinforcing French capacities of strategic orientation and definition of priorities;
- building a unified, coherent and transparent system for research assessment;
- facilitating cooperation between research stakeholders;
- offering attractive and progressive scientific careers;
- intensifying the dynamics of innovation and developing closer links between public and private research.
According to the minister, the bill means that the total budget devoted to research and higher education will need to reach 24 billion euro by 2010, which means an increase close to 26 per cent with respect to 2004. He qualified as 'an unprecedented effort'.
Mr de Robien concluded by saying that the scientific community awaits this pact, and that 'it is all together that we will carry out its implementation, calmly and concertedly, for the good of French science'.
Following its passage in front of the Economic and Social Council, the bill will be submitted to the Council of Ministers in mid-November, and presented to the parliament before the end of the year.
For further information, please consult the following web address: