[this essay was for my course on Reform Management. it was largely based on a report. A lot of the information was based on http://www.lsv.ens-cachan.fr/~petit/Divers/LORS-Special-CNRS.pdf but this information was greatly cross checked with colleagues that were there when the reform too place and are still in CNRS, so they could give me an opinion on what changed and what did not ]
Governments are increasing becoming aware of the important role that research and technology play in the economic, social, environmental, competitive and sustainable development of a country. As a result, the existence of strategic research and technology initiatives and the proper and efficient organization of scientific efforts are a key policy priority for any European country. In fact, one the five EU headline targets on which Europe 2020 (a strategy for jobs and smart, sustainable and inclusive growth), is that 3% of the EU’s GDP should be invested in Research and Development (R&D). In the case of France, since 2004 the indicator of this target GERD (Gross domestic expenditure on R&D) as a percentage of GDP, ranged from 2.08% (in 2007) to 2.26 % (in 2009).
To continue to excel in the changed regional, national and international conditions, the general direction of CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique), the French National Centre for Scientific Research and the largest fundamental research organisation in Europe, has implemented the “Project for CNRS”, which involved six key changes in the organisation. This renovation project of great magnitude was prepared in early 2004 by Gerard Mégie, an atmospheric physicist and the then President of CNRS, and Bernard Larrouturou, a Mathematician and then Director-General of CNRS. The subsequent reform is now remembered as the “Reform Larrouturou”.
In this paper, after a very brief description of CNRS, the general aims of the Reform will be outlined and followed by a description of how it was formulated. For these changes to be achieved, a number of organisational changes were required. The six key changes imposed by the reform will then be discussed, in each case through a description of what was the status quo before (Situation A), of what was planned according to the reform, of the arguments for and against each change, of whether these were in fact implemented (Situation B) and of whether these have been properly incorporated in the organisation of CNRS (Situation C).