Cover of higher education & research in France, facts and figures
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Ministère de l'Éducation nationale, de l'Enseignement supérieur et de la Recherche
Direction générale de l'enseignement supérieur et de l'insertion professionnelle
Direction générale de la recherche et de l'innovation
Service de la coordination des stratégies de l'enseignement supérieur et de la recherche
Sous-direction des systèmes d'information et des études statistiques - SIES

1 rue Descartes, 75231 Paris Cédex 05

This source is used in these chapters:

During 2014-2015, nearly 680,000 students received at least one form of financial aid, i.e. around 36% of the population concerned. Financial and social support for students reached nearly 6 billion euros in 2014, 60% of which was direct aid from the State. [read more]

In 2014, 2,471,000 students enrolled in higher education, eight times as many as in 1960. Today, a little over six in ten students enrol at university. This share has however decreased over the last 50 years due to the diversification of the training on offer. [read more]

Around 75% of Baccalaureate holders in 2014 immediately enrolled in higher education. Nearly two-thirds of general Bac holders enrolled at university, 7 points less than in 2000 but 2.7 points more than in 2012. Around one in two technological Bac holders enrolled on a short vocational course. More and more of those with a vocational Baccalaureate, whose numbers have increased substantially since the reform of the vocational path, enrolled in higher education. [read more]

In 2014, general Baccalaureate holders represented 65.3% of new Baccalaureate holders enrolled in higher education. This rate is slightly down (-2 points) compared to the level recorded in 2005. Vocational Baccalaureate holders now represent 13% of new Baccalaureate holders enrolled in higher education. This proportion has increased by 8 points since 2005, whereas the proportion of new technological Baccalaureate holders has fallen by 6 points. [read more]

With 2,470,000 students enrolled at the start of the 2014-15 academic year, numbers in higher education have increased significantly (+1.6%). There have never been so many students. This rise is due to the growth in the proportion of young people accessing higher education, even though the number of young people has fallen. [read more]

In higher education in France, 300,000 students are foreign nationals, or one student in eight. Since 2000, the proportion of foreign students has increased from 8% to 12%. Three-quarters of foreign students study at university. [read more]

At university, 28% of students obtain their Bachelor's degree 3 years after enrolling in the first year and 40% after 3 or 4 years. These rates have changed little in recent years. Nearly three-quarters of Bachelor's degree graduates enrol on a Master's the following year. Pass rates for Master's degrees have significantly increased since 2007; around 54% of students now obtain their degree in two years and 65% in two or three years. [read more]

At the start of the 2014-2015 academic year, there were 20,549 students in public higher education, i.e. 1.17% of the student population, who declared a disability and were provided with support of some kind. 91.5% of them were enrolled at university, where their numbers have tripled since 2005. They receive more and more different types of support which are now better known and which mean that students are not excluded from the general trend of longer studies. They are mostly enrolled on Bachelor's degree programmes, but their presence on Master's courses has significantly increased in recent years. [read more]

Women outnumber men in higher education, but are less likely to enrol in selective or scientific courses and are in the minority in PhD programmes. In 2013, their unemployment rate three years after leaving was higher than men for nearly all levels of qualification, and their employment conditions were less favourable. [read more]

France’s gross domestic expenditure on research and experimental development (GERD) has doubled since 1983 and accounted for 2.24% of GDP (€47.5 billion) in 2013. Businesses alone implemented 65% of R&D expenditure in France and funded 59% of gross national expenditure on R&D. [read more]

In 2013, half of intramural business expenditure on R&D (BERD) was focused on six industrial branches (‘Manufacture of motor vehicles’, ‘Manufacture of air and spacecraft and related machinery’, ‘Manufacture of basic pharmaceutical products and pharmaceutical preparations’, ‘Computer-related and information service activities’, ‘Professional, scientific and technical activities’ and ‘Manufacture of chemicals and chemical products’). In the public sector, dedicated research institutions (EPST and EPIC) carried out 54% of all R&D funded by intramural government expenditure (GOVERD). [read more]

In 2013, SMEs represented 17% of intramural business enterprise R&D expenditure (BERD), over half of which was invested in the service sector. Large enterprises, which accounted for 57% of BERD, focused three quarters of their R&D efforts in the high and medium-high technology industries. [read more]

In 2013, the gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD) of France's main public research institutions amounted to €9.2 billion, up by 0.9% in relation to 2012. These institutions carry out 55% of public research and are key stakeholders in research and development in France. The French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the civil division of the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA) conduct a third of public research, with GERD of €5.6 billion. [read more]

In 2013, budget allocations spent on public research totalled nearly €13 billion and funded 69% of all public research and development (R&D). Resources contributed by institutions themselves accounted for nearly €6 billion and for 31% of R&D funding for public research. [read more]

In 2014, local authorities devoted €1.3 billion to funding research and technology (R&T). This funding went in large part towards property transactions and technology transfer and innovation. Regional councils accounted for two-thirds of R&T funding, while municipalities were the second local contributor. [read more]

In 2015, the Inter-ministerial Mission for Research and Higher Education assigned budget allocations worth €13 billion to research and development. Around 80% of these allocations went to research and higher education institutions in the form of public service subsidies. Operating expenditure accounted for 13% (€1.7 billion) of the allocations, while 9% were spent on international programmes and institutions. [read more]

Businesses based in France fund around 55% of the country’s gross domestic expenditure on R&D (GERD). Total expenditure on R&D by firms is €33.7 billion, which is 85% funded (€28.5 billion) by companies in France and 8% (€2.7 billion) by the government. [read more]

In 2013, over half a million people were involved in research activity in France. Women represented 30% of all research personnel and 26% of researchers. The number of researchers, 266,200 full-time equivalent (FTE) in 2013, has increased by 17% in five years. The number of researchers increased more rapidly in business enterprises (26%) than in government (5%) over the period 2008-2013. [read more]

In 2013, women represented 30% of all research personnel, and a little over a quarter of researchers. Furthermore, 40% of government research personnel are women compared to 22% in business enterprises, a contrast that is not unique to France. The proportions differ according to the field of research, with the most women being present in medicine, chemistry and agronomy. [read more]

In 2013, almost 220,000 researchers were involved in R&D activity in business enterprises in France. This is a young population, with a low proportion of women (20%), the majority with an engineering degree. In business enterprises, only 12% of researchers have a PhD and 17% have a Master's degree. The socio-economic characteristics of researchers, however, depend on the company's sector of research. [read more]

At the start of the 2014-15 academic year, 75,600 students were enrolled on a PhD programme. In 2014, 14,000 PhDs were awarded. The number of doctoral students enrolled has been falling since 2009, whereas the number of PhDs awarded increased up to 2012 then fell during 2013 and 2014. Over half of students enrolled for the first time for a university PhD in France were not enrolled in France the previous year in a university course leading to a qualification. [read more]

'Young innovative company’ (YIC) status was introduced to encourage people to set up and expand SMEs that carry out R&D. In 2013, their intramural R&D expenditure totalled €830 million and was focused primarily within the service sector. [read more]

Intramural business enterprise expenditure on R&D (BERD) in the field of biotechnology totalled €3.0 billion in 2013, accounting for around 10% of BERD. The proportion of firms active in this field of research has remained stable compared to 2012, at 11%. Firms that specialise in biotechnology are mostly small enterprises. [read more]

In 2013, nearly a quarter of firms in France that carried out R&D in-house incurred R&D expenditure in the fields of new materials or nanotechnology. Overall research expenditure in these two fields was €3.5 billion in 2013, or 11.4% of total BERD. [read more]

Intramural expenditure on research and development by business enterprises on information and communication technology (ICT) amounted to €6.4 billion in 2013, i.e. 21% of all business intramural expenditure on R&D. There were 60,740 full-time equivalent employees in ICT research branches, of which 82% were researchers or R&D engineers. Government institutions provided much more limited support for R&D efforts in ICT. [read more]

In 2013, R&D expenditure devoted either directly or indirectly to environmental issues was estimated to be €5 billion, equivalent to 10% of France’s gross domestic expenditure on R&D. 60% of expenditure on environmental research and development (excluding Energy and Transport) was incurred by businesses (compared with 20% in 2000). [read more]

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