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The CEA – a key player in scientific and technological research


Published on 23 February 2024

Proactive in its commitment to upholding the scientific, technological and industrial sovereignty of France and Europe to safely secure the present and the future.

The CEA is a major research organisation working in the best interests of the French State, its economy and citizens. Thanks to its strong roots in fundamental research, it is able to provide tangible solutions to meet their needs in four key fields: 

  • Low-carbon energy (nuclear and renewable)

  • Digital technology 

  • Technology for medicine of the future 

  • Defence and national security 


Building tomorrow's society today

Climate change, pandemics, geopolitical threats, shortage of raw materials, accelerated development of digital technologies... We live in a very challenging yet rich world full of opportunities, which highlights just how important it is to maintain control over the key societal issues, i.e., energy transition, digital transformation, healthcare of the future, and global defence and security.

In response to this challenging context, the CEA has been actively contributing to the scientific, technological and industrial sovereignty of France and Europe for more than 75 years, thus helping to secure the present and the future with confidence.

The CEA has adopted a very unique approach in the research and innovation sector, based on 5 pillars:

  • Its historical role in France's defence and national security strategy
  • Its ground-breaking strategy in research and innovation through its study of the atom
  • Its capacity to handle projects, from the fundamental discovery of a concept through to its development
  • Its strong support of start-ups that drive the development of breakthrough innovations
  • Its local presence in different regions, its open-minded approach, and its cooperative spirit. 

Relying on its renowned expertise, the CEA is actively involved in setting up collaboration agreements with its various academic and industrial partners.

Considered an expert in its core skills, the CEA is fully integrated into the European research area (ERA) and continues to be a growing presence in the international arena. The CEA made the Top 100 Global Innovators list that recognises organisations having demonstrated above-the-bar innovation performance for the past 10 years  (Clarivate ranking). It is also the leading French organisation that registers the most patent applications in Europe according to the European Patent Office (EPO) 2022. 


Key figures for 2022

21 000 +

including 1,700 PhD and post-doctoral students

5,8 billion

annual budget

Leading french organisation

registering the highest number of patents in France and Europe*


research centers

236 start-ups

set up since 1972


industry partners




The CEA boasts 9 research centres across France. It has built strong partnerships with many other research organisations, regional authorities and universities.  CEA sites across France


The CEA features four operational divisions tasked with carrying out its research:

  • Energy Division 
  • Military Applications Division 
  • Technological Research Division 
  • Fundamental Research Division



* Leading research organisation registering the most patent applications in France (INPI 2021 ranking), and the leading French research organisation registering the most patent applications in Europe (EPO 2021 ranking) 

Images credits  (from top to bottom) :  

  • Patchwork image 1 : © MS Beview - © P. Stroppa/CEA – © AdobeStock - © P. Stroppa/CEA - © P. Latron/LookAtScience-CEA
  • Patchwork image 2 © ILL © NASA GSFC © P. Stroppa/CEA
  • Patchwork image 3 © peshkova - © L.Godart/CEA © A.Aubert/CEA © everythingpossible - © A.Aubert/CEA
  • Patchwork image 4 © Getty © Soitec © monsitj - Adobe Stock
  • Patchwork image 5 © CEA © Naval Group © CEA