The Investments for the Future Program
In 2010, the French government launched a “grand national loan” as part of the “Investments for the Future” program. This program aimed at putting innovation at the forefront of the country, and was granted a budget of €35 billions. More information on the Investments for the Future program can be found here.
Among the calls for proposals launched by the government, special funds were allocated to encourage the best French research centers to increase their scientific influence, merging forces into research units called LabEx (for Laboratoires d’Excellence, that is to say, Research Departments of Excellence) having enough resources to gain international visibility, capable to compete with their foreign counterparts.
Laboratories of Excellence
LabEx are encouraged to foster the emergence of ambitious scientific projects, be they developed by individual research centers, or by groups of research entities. They are meant to attract internationally recognized researchers and teachers, so as to maintain in France high-level or high-potential scientists. LabEx are designed to construct an integrated agenda of research, training, and promotion of achieved projects, and are in the best position to implement innovative teaching methods.
Funds to LabEx are public subsidies that actually complement the financing efforts of participating research centers and universities. Private companies can be involved as partners of projects, but are not eligible to receive subsidies.