The CNRS was founded in 1939 to develop research, freeing itself of academic and institutional inertia found in universities. The CNRS is the largest European research centre and its staff are entitled to the secure status of being civil servants for life. This status is something of a curiosity for foreigners and is much maligned in France. How can one help researchers break the mould and encourage the CNRS to compete on a national level? Rather than proposing yet another institutional reform, Alain d'Iribarne, Jean-Claude Moisdon and Michel Berry recommend implementing managerial change based on a step-by-step policy, thereby allowing the development of collective training which eventually will change the institutional foundations.
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