Five basic missions in the Academy’s remit
Ever since it was created, the Academy has being resolutely committed to the advancement of science and has advised government authorities in those matters and issues deemed within its remit. It is a double calling that has been reinforced over time, as and when our knowledge-base itself progressed. Today, the Academy’s Members discharge their missions, to the Nation and the Academy's foundations, in standing committees and working parties set up by the Academy.
Encouraging the scientific lifeKnowledge production - where the motivation is to see possible new applications or simply curiosity-driven- is vital to the economic and cultural dynamics of any Nation. The Academy supports research in France in the following ways, by:
• Taking part in debates on topical science-related issues;
• Organizing national or international scientific conferences;
• Awarding Prizes and Medals financed through the Academy’s foundations, often with contributions by individuals sponsors, families or companies; these awards distinguish the most meritorious scientists and promising research projects;
• Electing new Members, including Foreign Associate Members;
• Publishing the Comptes Rendus de l’Académie des sciences, created in 1835 for the international scientific community.
Promoting the teaching of scienceLearning to reason correctly and becoming educated in sciences are essential ingredients to ensuring that future citizens acquire a healthy, critical mind and that the science communities are renewed to a high level of excellence. The Academy contributes to this mission, by:
• Organizing studiesas to how science is taught today, from primary schools to the university level;
• Encouraging the La main à la pâte ®, from primary schools to the university level;
• Playing its part in setting up a network of academic scientific advisors for the regional educational authorities;
• Offering financial support to promising secondary school graduates who continue studying science.
Transmitting knowledgeScientific communities owe it to Society to explain and share new knowledge. The Academy plays its part in dissemination scientific culture, by:
• Organizing public sessions, where major scientific problems can be openly debated;
• Providing a general public bilingual Internet site, a resource center for its activities and achievements;
• Publishing a quarterly letter, a shop-window to Academy's thought and questions;
• Taking part in a twinning operation between scientists and Parliamentarians, this activity contributing to build stronger links between science and society;
• Conserving its archives, part of France’s scientific heritage;
• Opening, manning and maintaining museums called the ‘Maisons des Illustres’.
Fostering international collaborationsScience per se is universal and the challenges the world faces are mostly of a global order. The Academy contributes to increased international scope for science, by:
• Initiating and organizing bi- or multilateral co-operation activities;
• Promoting and participating in internationalnetworks of Academies;
• Representing France in international scientific institutions and bodies.
Ensuring a dual role of expertise and adviceArbitrating among possible scientific and technological options comes within the remit of elected politicians, but they must be enabled to do so, on sound, reasoned bases. The Academy is called upon by public authorities to intervene as an expert, advisory body; it can likewise self-commission studies on similar questions, as it sees fit. Its conclusions are duly published:
• in reports;
• in advice notes and recommendations;
• in the form of expertise, for which the Academy adopted a Charter of Expertise in 2012.