The ANR is a research funding organisation. It was established by the French government in 2005 to fund research projects, based on competitive schemes giving researchers the best opportunities to realize their projects and paving the way for ground-breaking new knowledge. The role of the Agency is to bring more flexibility to the French research system, foster new dynamics and devise cutting edge-strategies for acquiring new knowledge. By identifying priority areas and fostering private-public collaborations, it also aims at enhancing the general level of competitiveness of both the French research system and the French economy.
As part of a government initiative to reinforce long-term French competitiveness, a major programme called “Investments for the Future” ("Investissements d'Avenir") was launched at the end of 2009. The ANR is the operator for the research and higher education component of this programme, which covers 21.9 billion euros. Such a programme has a structuring and integrating purpose, and is part of a long-term and dynamic drive to transform higher education, research and innovation. These large-scale initiatives promoting excellence will strengthen France’s capacities for innovation and be a driving force in the dynamics of growth in the coming years.
A bilateral cooperation agreement was signed between the National Research Fund (FNR) and the French National Research Agency (ANR) in order to promote the implementation of joint transnational research projects. Aware of the prominent role played by the national research funding agencies in the construction of the European research area, ANR and FNR decided to lift the barriers that impede the planning and implementation of transnational projects through the signature of a bilateral agreement on the "Lead Agency" model.
Developing European and international collaborations is one of the ANR’s priorities. By funding transnational projects, the agency encourages the initiation and deepening of scientific collaborations between researchers, with the further aim of fostering the creation of transnational teams of excellence.
The agency also contributes actively to the construction of the European Research Area and cooperates with the European Commission in the framework of FP7.