Supporting research for sustainable development

The French National Research Agency (ANR) is actively committed to supporting all of the research required to address the major environmental, ecological, social, digital, and energy transitions we face. This effort is in line with the areas defined in the European Commission's Horizon Europe plan, as well as the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) identified by the United Nations.

In France, research stakeholders have massively worked to implement the United Nations 2030 SDG calendar, within the framework of a 2020-2030 roadmap aiming to mobilise all public and private research stakeholders. For Thierry Damerval, President and CEO of the ANR, “helping to achieve sustainable development goals is one of the Agency’s top priorities. This commitment, which is reflected in our Work Programme, is demonstrated in its call for proposals supporting research and innovation backed by basic research, leaving scientists complete freedom.”

In practical terms, its funding instruments help support sustainable development research through its investigator-driven Generic Call for Proposals, as well as project-based research through specific, European, and international calls for proposals. As part of the ANR Work Programme, topics associated directly with the ecological transition and transformation cover the following areas: sustainability science, One Health, ecological and environmental transition, energy transition, technological transition, digital transformation, and socio-technical system transformation.

In addition, in order to raise awareness among researchers from all disciplines, in 2020 the ANR included SDGs in its Work Programme by asking project coordinators to specify if their proposal, regardless of the field, meets one or more SDGs. In 2022, 77% of proposals mentioned at least one SDG, representing 1,195 funded projects, a number that has grown since 2020. At the same time, the ANR is contributing to several European initiatives pursuing sustainable development, such as Joint Programming Initiatives, and is involved in international initiatives such as the Belmont Forum on Sustainability Science.

The ANR also operates, on behalf of the French State, the major France 2030 Investment Plan in higher education and research. France 2030 is an unprecedented plan for innovation, the decarbonisation of the economy, and reindustrialisation. It has a €54 billion budget, and aims to help us live better, produce better, and understand the world better.


Decarbonisation at the heart of France 2030

France 2030 aims to devote 50% of its expenses to decarbonising the economy, and 50% to emerging actors driving eco-friendly innovation (based on the Do No Significant Harm principle). Among the 10 objectives set out in France 2030, some are unequivocally aligned with the decarbonisation of society and sustainable development:

  • Making France the leader in green hydrogen and developing cutting-edge renewable energy technology
  • Decarbonising industry and the production of inputs
  • Manufacturing 2 million electric and hybrid vehicles in France by 2030
  • Achieving net zero emissions and developing mobility that is efficient, independent, and resilient
  • Manufacturing the first low-carbon aircraft in France by 2030
  • Innovating to make healthy, sustainable, and traceable food
  • Creating small and innovative nuclear reactors with better waste management in France by 2030



Sustainable development: the ANR takes action

In the framework of the international scientific summit and symposium "Fundamental Life Sciences Meets Climate, Environment and Sustainability" hosted by the Human Frontier Science Program from 27 to 29 June 2023 at the Académie des Sciences in Paris, the ANR, a partner of the event, presents in a dedicated booklet several projects in which basic research contributes to sustainable development.

Download the booklet

Last updated on 20 July 2023
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