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"RERS" 2010

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As it does each year, the DEPP (Evaluation, Forecasting and Performance Directorate) at the Ministry of Education publishes its Statistical Benchmarks in education, training and research.

This report is a truly comprehensive survey of the statistical data on the entire sector covered by the ministry. Chapter 11, on Research and Development, is particularly instructive but suffers from an inevitable statistical lag: the most recent figures in this 2010 edition pertain to the year 2008.
R&D expenditure
It’s nothing new, but a fact worth repeating: in the private sector, it is mainly large corporations that invest in research (18.4 billion euros, or 74% of expenditure). These same large corporations in return monopolize nearly 80% of public funding (or 2.1 billion euros). In 2007 the pharmaceutical industry rose to first place in industrial sectors that invest in R&D (14.3% of expenditure), dethroning the automobile industry (13.9%) and pulling ahead of aeronautics and space construction (11%) and the manufacture of radio, television and communication equipment (10%).

With domestic R&D spending amounting to 42 billion dollars, France nevertheless ranks in fifth place in the world, behind the United States, Japan, China and Germany.

R&D personnel
In 2007, total R&D personnel was evaluated at over 375,000 persons, 58% of which are paid by companies. Among these 375,000 persons, nearly 222,000 are researchers (approximately 60%).

We can’t repeat it enough: most researchers (56%) work in the private sector. The number of researchers in industry is moreover again on the rise this year (+9.7%) and over the past 15 years nearly 60,000 additional researchers have been hired in the private sector.

As for the public sector, the overall number of researchers stagnated in 2007. Universities remain by far the biggest employer, followed by the CNRS and the CEA (French Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission). As for PhD candidates, they make up 12% of the public sector research staff. These young researchers, whom some people persist in considering as mere students, are indeed a real work force.

Repères et références statistiques sur les enseignements, la formation et la recherche – édition 2010, September 2010, DEPP (Evaluation, Forecasting and Performance Directorate) at the Ministry of Education.
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