In a national context where many laboratories and researchers complain about the lack of resources, the situation is quite different at the National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (Inria). Its 2023 budget was voted up by 46% compared to that of 2018, according to the institute’s communication. Staff numbers are also increasing. On the hiring front, the improvement can be seen, with “on average 43 scientists [engagés] per year on permanent positions (civil servants or CDI) from 2018 to 2022. About fifty positions are planned for 2023”specifies the organization, which also indicates that “Inria had recruited an average of 17.5 scientists per year for permanent positions from 2014 to 2018”.
This sustained effort is felt in the laboratories. “Before, we squeezed our butts with the budgets, now we are getting out of the status quo. The management succeeded in convincing that Inria could be a resource for companies or State services…”estimates a scientific delegate of the organization. “We must salute this successful tour de force on recruitment”adds Eric Fleury, director of the Inria center in Paris.
But what is the body’s secret to getting its head out of the water so much? The answer is curious. By the admission of Bruno Sportisse, its Chairman and CEO, this model “is not sustainable over time”as he declared during the Inria Scientific Days (JSI), November 25, 2022. Explanations.
The revenue of a public research organization like Inria comes from two main sources. On the one hand, the subsidy for public service charges (SCSP) which, as its name suggests, is provided directly by the State to its budget. It was for the institute, according to its 2021 activity report, 189.7 million euros, or 72% of its total revenue. The rest is called “own resources”, which come from a wide variety of sources, up to 74.8 million euros. There are mainly resources from calls for tenders (National Research Agency, European funds, etc.), services, research contracts with private or public third parties, etc.
The first envelope, the SCSP, is increasing at the same rate as that of the other organizations and quite slowly (less than 10% since 2015). The solution is therefore to be sought in the second, and in the various crises which, since 2008, have been accompanied by recovery plans such as the investment plans for the future or France 2030. Inria, like the other organisations, has saw new counters open for its teams. Thus, the organization is part of the artificial intelligence plan (12.7 million euros planned for 2022), the cybersecurity plan (for 5.2 million euros), research employment aid and development decided during the health crisis (9.2 million)… In total, the initial 2022 budget provided for more than 116 million euros in own revenue.
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Source: Le Monde