The French National Research Agency (ANR) is a public administrative institution under the authority of the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. The agency funds project-based research carried out by public operators cooperating with each other or with private companies.

The ANR was founded in 2005 to promote French project-based research and to stimulate innovation by promoting the emergence of collaborative multidisciplinary projects and encouraging collaboration between the public and private sectors. It also aims to strengthen the position of French research at European level and worldwide. The Agency’s missions, defined in the decree of 1 August 2006 amended on 24 March 2014, are:

  • To fund and promote the development of basic and targeted research, technological innovationtechnology transfer and public-private partnerships
  • To implement the Work Programme approved by the French Minister of Research, following consultation with the supervisory ministers of France’s research bodies and public higher education institutions
  • To manage major government investment programmes in the fields of higher education and research and to oversee their implementation
  • To strengthen scientific cooperation across Europe and worldwide by aligning its Work Programme with European and international initiatives
  • To analyse trends in research offering and assess the impact of the funding it allocates on scientific output in France

The ANR’s activities are thus designed to support the excellence of French research at a variety of techno-logical readiness levels (TRL), support basic research, encourage academic and public-private scientific partnerships and promote European and international cooperation. To achieve these goals, it organises competitive calls for proposals and conducts rigorous selection processes based on peer review, in compliance with international standards: impartiality, equal treatment, confidentiality, ethics, scientific integrity and transparency. 

The ANR, the national operator of the Investments for the Future programmes

Since 2010, the Agency has also been the national operator managing the Investments for the Future programmes (PIA 1, 2 and 3) in the field of higher education and research. This role involves managing the calls for proposals, organising the selection, negotiating agreements, providing funding, monitoring and reviewing the impact of the projects and the activities of the programme that fall under this heading. Each Investments for the Future programme is covered by an agreement between the government and the ANR, defining its goals and governance.