The Greater Paris Region Higher Education and Research

A university Centre on an international scale

Due to its internationally recognised fields of excellence, the Greater Paris Region is able to offer companies access to a population that is better educated than the national average.

Paris, No. 1 university centre in France

Within the Greater Paris Region there are 18 universities and almost 60 business schools which are host to 635,000 students (over 5% of the region’s population), around 100,000 of which are foreign students. The Greater Paris Region, which accounts for 19% of the French population, is host to no less than 27% of the French student population. 
Also worthy of note is the fact that the level of qualification obtained by students in the Greater Paris Region is generally higher than the national average: as such, the Greater Paris Region accounts for only 20% of BTS (normally 2 years of study) achieved in France, whereas it accounts for 28% of Masers degrees and 31% of Doctorates. 
This high concentration of graduate employees is also reflected in the region’s active population which accounts for 34% of management-grade staff in France.

Internationally recognised training

International competition between higher education establishments was established by the “Shanghai Ranking”; within which the Greater Paris region is leading the way as most of the French establishments classified as being in the top 50 or top 100 in the world in their particular discipline, are located in Paris.
Among the French areas of expertise, Parisian higher education in Mathematics is particularly well regarded.  The Université Paris VI “Pierre et Marie Curie” is ranked 5th in the World and the Université Paris XI is ranked 8th. Three further French higher education establishments are ranked in the top 50 (Dauphine, Paris VII and the Ecole Normale Supérieure). These results make France the no. 1 European nation for mathematics and no. 2 in the world after the United States (by number of universities in the top 50). In the field of Physical Science, 3 of the Parisian higher education establishments are ranked in the world’s top 50 (Paris XI, Ecole Normale Supérieure and Paris VI). Finally, in the field of Economics, INSEAD in Fontainebleau is also ranked in the world’s top 50.
In the Financial Times’ annual rankings of top European Business Schools, there is also a strong presence of French “grandes écoles” as two Parisian business schools feature in the top 10: at number 2 HEC and INSEAD at number 3.

France’s leading R&D centre with 100,000 researchers

The Greater Paris Region is a major centre for French Research and Development and is the focus of over 40% of both R&D expenditure and staff. In 2011, €18.4 billion was spent on R&D in the Greater Paris Region, two thirds of which came from businesses. The total number of jobs in R&D stood at 150,000 including 100,000 researchers.
On a European level, the Greater Paris Region is a leader in terms of R&D accounting for 7.5% of European expenditure on R&D.
In order to maintain and stimulate this regional strength, various initiatives have been undertaken by the State and the region:
  • The creation of the “Credit d’Impôt Recherche” (CIR – Research tax credit) which aims to encourage Research and Development by allowing businesses to reduce their tax liabilities in line with their expenditure on R&D (experimental research, applied research and experimental development). This tax credit reduces the amount of Corporation Tax owed by a company and can account for up to 30% of annual expenditure on R&D.
  • Establishment of “Clusters” dedicated to Research Technologies, in order to stimulate Research and encourage collaboration between public and private establishments. Various competitiveness centres have been established in the Greater Paris Region. Particularly worthy of note among the major centres is one in Saclay which is dedicated to new technologies and a health and bio-technology centre to the South of the region between Villejuif and Evry.
The CIR scheme is considered as very attractive for R&D investment (linked to the presence of major groups, innovative SMEs and SMIs public laboratories and student researchers) and aims to create a favourable business environment which should allow Paris to continue as a global centre for Research over the coming years.