CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences is committed to research that is interdisciplinary and international and also attentive to the principles of open science. The Institute also manages major research infrastructures for the whole national humanities and social sciences research community.

Defining and supporting scientific priorities

CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences defines and supports scientific priorities through dialogue with its Scientific Council, the sections of the National Committee for Scientific Research (CoNRS) and, more broadly, the research communities involved in its research units and networks. The Institute's work is also based on the objectives set out in the CNRS Objectives and Performance Contract (COP).

By their very nature, these priorities are constantly evolving but their definition in the COP makes it possible to effectively direct the scientific policy of CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences for several years or longer. For example, currently CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences particularly supports archaeology and anthropology and is coordinating a major ancient sciences research programme. CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences is also committed to reinforcing certain methodological approaches such as those implemented in areal studies, shared sciences, digital humanities, conceptualisation and formalisation, qualitative and quantitative data analysis and finally experimentation. Finally, CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences supports and promotes the development of research into subjects like health, the planet's habitability, digital transitions, educational inequalities and artificial intelligence.

CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences also works on developing collective foresight thinking and therefore from 2022 onwards it has been taking part in, co-organising and designing foresight conferences while supporting foresight networks and so forth.

Beyond the above-defined priorities, CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences organises or supports multidisciplinary humanities and social sciences communities united by common research topics. Please see this website's Humanities and Social Sciences Research Portal section.

Encouraging international research

The CNRS humanities & social Sciences has prioritized the internationalization of its scientific communities' research as have the other nine scientific directions. It implements this policy through a variety of initiatives and projects. In particular, the Institute encourages its staff to interact with scientific communities in countries with a long tradition of research as well as in scientifically emerging countries.

To achieve this, the CNRS humanities & social Sciences has created several International Research Laboratories (IRLs). With the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, the CNRS humanities & social Sciences jointly steers an exceptional network of International Research Laboratories (Umifre). The Institute also provides financial support for the international mobility of many researchers. It encourages their participation in International Emerging Actions (IEAs), International Research Networks (IRNs) and International Research Projects (IRPs).

The Institute's commitment to interdisciplinarity at the CNRS

The CNRS humanities & social Sciences works in harmony with the approach involving exchanges and cross-disciplinary research defined by the CNRS's Mission for Transversal and Interdisciplinary Initiatives (MITI).

For example, the Institute works on joint research projects on the brain, cognition and behaviour with the CNRS Biology. The CNRS humanities & social Sciences also runs projects with the CNRS Ecology and Environment which study the relationships between human beings and their environments involving research units that are steered or jointly steered by the Institute. It also encourages its researchers to interact with the fields of computer and engineering sciences.


Supporting national research infrastructures

Access to digital data is both an asset and a challenge for the CNRS humanities & social Sciencesbecause it promotes interdisciplinarity. Research Infrastructures (IRs) specializing in the humanities and social sciences make the best use of these massive data flows.

This is particularly the case of two Very Large-Scale Research Infrastructures (TGIRs) whose national roll-out is actively supported by the CNRS humanities & social Sciences : 

  • Progedo which aims to speed up the production and management of data in universities;
  • Huma-Num ("Humanités numériques", Digital Humanities) which offers collective data storage, processing interoperability and dissemination services.

They work in conjunction with the National Network of Houses of Human Sciences (RNMSH)which brings together and coordinates the research of 23 establishments in France. Today, the RNMSH has become the prime meeting place for partnerships and exchanges between universities, organizations and local authorities.

The HCERES evaluation of the CNRS

For the HCERES evaluation of the CNRS, CNRS Humanities & Social Sciences produced an analysis for the reference period (2017-2021) of the CNRS evaluation that was based on data on scientific production in the humanities and social sciences. Scientific publications were initially analysed according to their typology. We also paid particular attention to the issue of open access publishing (part II) and multilingualism in scientific publications (part III). Finally, we wished to highlight the forms of multidisciplinarity that exist within the HSS. The editorial in the January 2023 'InsHS Newsletter' gave a summary of the main points.