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R&D: Thales and CNRS extend strategic partnership

Building on proven credentials in leading-edge research, Thales and French scientific research agency CNRS have extended their long-standing framework agreement for a further five years. The two partners have been working together under this strategic arrangement since 1985, and today signed a new agreement at the Thales research facility in Palaiseau. The signing ceremony was attended by Thierry Mandon, French Secretary of State for higher education and research, Alain Fuchs, president of the CNRS, and Patrice Caine, Chairman and CEO of Thales.

In each of its five key markets, Thales needs to consolidate its technology leadership in the face of tough competition. Pursuing advanced research in physics, algorithms, modelling and software, the Thales and CNRS teams have highly complementary expertise and a shared ambition to develop value-adding innovations for customers and users of Thales solutions.

Joint laboratories and integrated research teams set up under this type of agreement are a constant source of inspiration and motivation for both partners. Working with innovative industry players helps CNRS to extend the worldwide influence of the French research community, while French industry benefits from the agency’s world-class scientific and technological excellence.

The formal agreement signed today marks the continuation of a strategy that has proved highly effective and brought tangible benefits to both partners over the years. 

Key points

  • Thales has more than 100 joint patents with CNRS.
  • Thales and CNRS collaborate in all of the Group’s key areas of scientific expertise and in all regions of France.
  • Continuation of a long-standing partnership between Thales and CNRS, including the joint physics unit in Palaiseau, and the joint international research unit in Singapore.


“Working closely with an academic research partner such as CNRS brings us access to highly specialised talent and resources and gives us the competitive advantage we need to drive business growth.”

Marko Erman, Chief Technology Officer at Thales.


“The renewal of this contract will further consolidate such a long-standing partnership: Thales and the CNRS involves more than 100 scientific collaborations, a joint physics unit, a joint international research unit in Singapore, a shared laboratory and hundreds of mutually-owned patents.”

Alain Fuchs, President of CNRS.


Notes to Editors – Research and Technology
Innovation is a central to Thales’s corporate strategy. For many years, Thales has fostered an open approach to innovation, developing strategic relationships with academic partners based on a long-term commitment to working together to deliver tangible results.
Within Thales’s global R&D organisation, some 3,000 people are dedicated to fundamental research and technology (R&T) projects. Thales’s R&T teams are based in Canada, Australia, Singapore, France (70% of the worldwide R&T workforce), the United Kingdom and other European countries. The Palaiseau research centre embodies Thales’s open innovation approach. A total of 200 people, including staff from Thales operating units, academic research institutes and industry partners as well as numerous PhD students, currently work at this research establishment 15 km south of Paris.
In addition to the CNRS/Thales joint physics unit (Unité Mixte de Physique), Thales has teamed up with the IETr (Rennes institute of electronics and telecommunications) to set up a joint research unit focusing on radiofrequency technologies, and is also working on big data analytics with the LIP6 computer science laboratory at Pierre et Marie Curie University in Paris.
About CNRS
The Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (National Center for Scientific Research) is a public organization under the responsibility of the French Ministry of Education and Research. Founded in 1939 by governmental decree, CNRS has the following missions: To evaluate and carry out all research capable of advancing knowledge and bringing social, cultural, and economic benefits for society ; To contribute to the application and promotion of research results ; To develop scientific information ; To support research training.
To participate in the analysis of the national and international scientific climate and its potential for evolution in order to develop a national policy. As the largest fundamental research organization in Europe, CNRS carried out research in all fields of knowledge, through its ten institutes.
About Thales
Thales is a global technology leader in the Aerospace, Transportation, Defence and Security markets. In 2014, the company generated revenues of €13 billion with 61,000 employees in 56 countries. With over 20,000 engineers and researchers, Thales has a unique capability to design and deploy equipment, systems and services to meet the most complex security requirements. Its unique international footprint allows it to work closely with its customers all over the world.