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French law on research has entered the parliamentary process

The French law on research (Loi de programmation pluriannuelle de la recherche LPPR) that has drawn a fair amount of criticism (see both of our previous articles here and here) has been voted in by the French National Assembly, the lower house of the bicameral French Parliament and is now on its way to the Senate.

The text of the project is finally available here after having already gone through the approval of the CNESER (Conseil national de l’enseignement supérieur de la recherche) on 19 June 2020. It had however suffered on 24 June 2020 a negative review by the Economical, Social and Environmental Council.

The Parliament discussed the project on 23 and 24 September 2020 and voted in favour of the project with 48 votes against 20. The legislative proposal was also examined in a record 3 days period without suffering any major changes. Minor changes were added allowing for example for the monthly payment, beginning in 2023, of researchers suffering from significant delays in their payment.

While its critics believe the law will have a negative impact on research and create a more precarious situation for researchers as well as heighten the political control over research, the Ministry for Higher Education and Research has defended its project as a massive boost in financial resources for research as well as a project in favour of researchers. An additional EUR 25 Million will be given to research between 2021 and 2030. New types of contracts will also be created such as a CDI (contract of undefined length) designed to end when a project is finished or “junior professor chairs” based on the American tenure track model. Many however feel that the project will on the contrary endanger the position of researchers and that the financial aspect not only relies heavily on the willingness of the next government but is also an excuse to bring forth a deep change on research in France.

The law is expected to be voted in by the Senate at the end of October, for a planned publication for 2021.

More information (in French) here.