The National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS) is the only public institution that both supports and conducts research; as such it is the central institution for science policy formulation and execution. Additionally it is a funding agency supporting academic institutions in the country parallel to its role in capacity building.
The 1962 law creating the CNRS gave it autonomy under the tutelage of the Prime Minister. On all relevant matters the CNRS thus reports to the Prime Minister and advises the government, which then decides. Furthermore, the 1962 law provides a clear, though rigid, basis for the formulation of science policy. However, over recent years the CNRS has been seeking ways and means of refocusing on its role and is actively looking for cooperation within the context of policies required to create a knowledge based economy and society.