Work Programme 2021 is the French National Research Agency’s (ANR) roadmap, outlining its actions and calls for proposals for the coming year. It is designed to provide all scientific communities and all public and private players involved in French research with a general overview of the Agency’s funding opportunities.
It expresses France’s national research priorities, contributions from the five national research alliances, the CNRS and the Conference of University Presidents (CPU), and the aims and priorities of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MESRI). Work Programme 2021 reflects the work carried out by research teams in France to help society address the major challenges it faces, in line with the EU’s Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges and the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
ANR’s Work Programme 2021 is consistent with, and builds upon, Work Programme 2020. It describes funding instruments, calls for proposals and programmes with specific intended outcomes and distinctive selection and monitoring procedures.
The Generic Call for Proposals (AAPG) is ANR’s main call. It includes four funding instruments for individual research projects coordinated by young researchers (JCJC), collaborative research projects between public entities in a national or international context (PRC and PRCI respectively), and collaborative projects between public and private entities with a potential opening to the world of business (PRCE). It is divided into 50 research themes, including 37 themes across seven main scientific fields, and 13 themes covering cross-disciplinary challenges. Each theme has its own Scientific Evaluation Panel (CES).
Work Programme 2021 also comes at a time when the world is in the grip of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to address urgent research needs arising from this unprecedented situation, and to fast-track support for scientific communities, ANR launched the COVID-19 Flash Call on 6 March 2020, followed by the RA-COVID-19 Call for Proposals. As a way to build on these early efforts and to sustain research into the disease and its implications for the long term, ANR has made COVID-19 a cross-cutting priority of Work Programme 2021, across all instruments and programmes.
As in 2020, Work Programme 2021 incorporates the strategic priorities defined by the French state and supports implementation of government plans in the following areas:
Biopharmaceuticals production has been introduced as a new priority this year.
Antimicrobial resistance is now covered by a separate Priority Research Programme and has therefore been omitted from Work Programme 2021.
Interdisciplinary research is also an important component of the Work Programme, and of the cross-disciplinary research themes in particular. Work Programme 2021 aims to strengthen France’s position in the European Commission’s forthcoming framework programme and to step up strategic multilateral and bilateral collaborations, especially between France and Germany.