The ANR was founded in 2005 to promote French project-based research and to stimulate innovation by promoting the emergence of collaborative multidisciplinary projects and encouraging collaboration between the public and private sectors. It also aims to strengthen the position of French research at European level and worldwide. The Agency's missions, defined in the decree of 1 August 2006 amended on 24 March 2014, are:
The ANR's activities are thus designed to support the excellence of French research at a variety of techno-logical readiness levels (TRL), support basic research, encourage academic and public-private scientific partnerships and promote European and international cooperation. To achieve these goals, it organises competitive calls for proposals and conducts rigorous selection processes based on peer review, in compliance with international standards: impartiality, equal treatment, confidentiality, ethics, scientific integrity and transparency.
Since 2010, the Agency has also been the national operator managing the Investments for the Future programmes (PIA 1, 2 and 3) in the field of higher education and research. This role involves managing the calls for proposals, organising the selection, negotiating agreements, providing funding, monitoring and reviewing the impact of the projects and the activities of the programme that fall under this heading. Each Investments for the Future programme is covered by an agreement between the government and the ANR, defining its goals and governance.
The ANR's programming is decided by the French Research Ministry and developed on the basis of priorities defined in the National Research Strategy (SNR), in coordination with European and international research funding initiatives. The Programming Advisory Panels constitute the consultation bodies that draft the Work Programme describing the proposed actions and calls for proposals for the coming year. This document offers scientific communities an overall view of the ANR's funding provision.
As part of its quality policy, the ANR is strengthening the reliability of its procedures and continuously adapting them to guarantee selection quality, optimise the quality of the service delivered to its community of users and ensure the organisation’s activities efficiency. The Agency has ISO 9001 certification for its selection processes.