The French government's long-awaited blueprint for reforming the country's research system, unveiled last week, has sparked fears that it will result in less money being available for basic research.

The impending reorganization has already prompted numerous protests in recent months, and roughly 5000 scientists took to the streets of Paris and other French cities on Friday (May 20) to voice their opposition to government plans to reform the system for evaluating and funding research. Some scientists fear the shakeup could lead to established research organizations such as the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the National Institute for Health and Medical Research (INSERM) being eclipsed by the new national grant agency, the National Research Agency (NRA).

The NRA, which came into operation in April this year, will have an annual budget of €350 million (USD $441 million) to finance both basic and applied research projects chosen on merit...

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