The CNRS office in Washington D.C.
The CNRS office in Washington D.C. represents the CNRS in the United States and Mexico. Our actions are aligned with the priorities defined, on one hand, by the strategic plan of the CNRS and, on the other hand, by the ten thematic institutes of the agency. Accordingly to the interdisciplinary polish of the CNRS, the office does not showcase a specific thematic and covers all research fields.
In the United States and Mexico, the CNRS contributes to scientific research thanks to structuring collaboration tools. Bilateral agreements, concluded with partners of excellence and the main research and financing institutions in both these countries, offer many possibilities for collaboration and enable researchers from the CNRS to engage in long-term scientific cooperation.
Motivated by a steadily growing number of co-publications and transatlantic collaboration tools, the United States is now one of the CNRS’s main international partners.
The CNRS, pioneering scientific cooperation with the United States and Mexico
It is in 1947, just after World War II, that the scientific office of the CNRS in New York is created, jointly with the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). It follows the transatlantic migration of several French scientists, including Louis Rapkine, head of the scientific office of French exiles. It was then the institution’s bridgehead in North America, fostering collaborations in the United States, Canada and Mexico.
In 1946, he obtained for the CNRS two important grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, for the equipment of laboratories and the organization of international conferences. In 1984, the office leaves New York to settle within the Embassy of France in Washington D.C.
In 2022, a CNRS office opens in Ottawa, Canada, leaving the CNRS office in Washington responsible for US and Mexican partnerships.
Today, the CNRS has more than 70 structured collaborations with Mexico and the United States, and continues to develop new ones each year. The office has now been working for more than 70 years to publicize and promote the CNRS expertise, and beyond it, the French research in the area.
Representation & promotion
A permanent link between the CNRS and Mexican and American institutions, our office showcases the CNRS's scientific expertise in both countries, and includes the EU and multilateral institutions in its reflections and actions.
Our aim is to identify North American prospects, research centers of excellence and other opportunities for collaboration, and to successfully bring together French and North American scientific players.
Supporting researchers is at the heart of what we do. We support CNRS institutes and researchers as well as their partners, and assist existing structural partnerships where necessary.
We keep abreast of science and technology news in the United States and Mexico, and identify key research topics. This monitoring enables us to document the region's science policy landscape via our "AdN" newsletter, and to inform expatriate French researchers of opportunities to return to France via our "Le fil de Marianne" newsletter.
Head of office
CNRS's main partners in US and Mexico : the Universities
Universities in the United States
Our International Research Centers (IRC)In the United States in particular, CNRS has two International Research Centers (IRCs), large-scale structuring partnerships on an institutional level, with the University of Arizona and the University of Chicago. Founded in 1885 by Jacob Samuel Mansfeld, the University of Arizona (UoA) is one of the top public universities in the United States. Located in Tucson at the tip of the U.S./Mexico border, UoA is also one of the leading universities in the state of Arizona. According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), it also ranks as a “Research 1 University” in the Carnegie classification, with $687M in annual research spending. The UoA ranks 9th in the EPA’s (Environmental Protection Agency’s) annual ranking of “good performers” in renewable energy. In addition to being a world leader in the environmental sciences, with the presence of the Biosphere2 closed ecosystem, an extraordinary tool for experiments under highly controlled conditions, the university is particularly renowned in the field of astronomy, making the UoA the North American institution that receives the most NASA grants. In the same vein, it has numerous telescopes at the Steward Observatory and Astronomy Department. The Mirror Lab designs the mirrors for giant telescopes over 8m in diameter. According to a US News ranking, the university is ranked in the top 10 for astronomy-related research. The University of Chicago (UChicago) was founded in 1892 on Chicago’s South Side. Throughout its history, research at UChicago has led to advances in a wide range of fields, from medicine and evolution to the humanities and social sciences, economics and sociology.The University of Chicago (UChicago) is a university of excellence in a variety of disciplines, and is regularly ranked among the top 10 universities in the world, along with other American universities. In 2022, it will rank 10th in both the Shanghai and QS World University Rankings (WUR). According to this British company, in 2023, many of UChicago’s disciplines are well ranked internationally: Economics is ranked 4th and Anthropology 6th. In the Physical Sciences division, the Physics and Chemistry departments rank 11th and 25th respectively. The Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering ranks 3rd in the U.S. for research funding per faculty member. The University of Chicago counts 97 Nobel laureates among its faculty and alumni (including Barack Obama).UChicago demonstrated the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction, which served as the basis for the development of the first form of clean energy – nuclear power – and led to the founding of Argonne National Laboratory.
Our International Research Laboratories (IRL)CNRS has also formed close partnerships with 6 universities to formalize International Research Laboratories (IRL):
- University of California at San Diego
- George Washington University
- Georgia Institute of Technology
- University of Arizona
- University of California at Berkeley
- Michigan State University
Universities in Mexico
In Mexico, the CNRS’s main partner is the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México – UNAM), the country’s largest public university and one of the world’s top 100 research universities, with which we have a Laboratory and a number of bilateral projects. With over 250,000 students and several campuses in Mexico and around the world, it is one of the largest universities in the world and a partner of excellence for research in Latin America.
Other international research projects (IRP) and networks (IRN) are conducted with the University of Monterrey (Universidad de Monterrey) and the Autonomous Metropolitan University of Mexico (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana de México – UAM).
Three other Mexican universities stand out for their rate of joint publications with the CNRS: the Center for Research and Advanced Studies of the National Polytechnic Institute (Centro de Investigación y de Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional – CINVESTAV), the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla (Benemerita Universidad Autónoma de Puebla – BUAP) and the National Polytechnic Institute (Instituto Politécnico Nacional – IPN).
Key players in US and Mexican research, excluding universities
US Research agencies and organizations
The National Science Foundation (NSF)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) is both the only funding agency (exclusively “extra-mural”) and the only multidisciplinary agency. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1950, it provides funding for over 2,000 American universities and companies, representing more than 11,000 projects with an average selection rate of 28%. Its contribution represents around 20% of the federal government’s contribution to basic research at universities. It plays a role in financing major facilities (notably cyber-infrastructure, for which it is investing several hundred million euros) and new structures of excellence such as Science and Technology Centers (STC) and Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centers (NSEC). The NSF is particularly active in promoting science and mathematics education. It is active in primary and secondary education, as well as at university level.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH)
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
The Department of Energy (DOE)
The Department of Defense (DOD)
The Department of Defense (DOD), in particular DARPA, is the U.S. Department of Defense agency responsible for developing emerging technologies for military use. It is a key element in the American landscape. The DoD’s main focus is on development, but the proportion devoted to fundamental research remains significant.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
The Advanced Technology Program (ATP)
The Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
Mexican Research agencies and organizations
National Council of Humanities Science and Technology (CONAHCYT)
The National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
When it comes to science and technology in the United States, it is an organization that has become indispensable. The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an independent professional association, has existed since 1848. It publishes R&D policy analyses, newsletters, books, reports and journals, including the million-circulation “Science” magazine. It is an authority on the American R&D landscape, and organizes scientific events that attract far more than just its members.