The French government is considering plans to transfer the national Institute for Nuclear and Particle Physics (IN2P3), currently part of the CNRS, France's national research council, to the French atomic energy commission (CEA). The proposal has been drawn up by the government's chief scientific advisor, Vincent Courtillot, who is conducting a thorough review of the French research system.

The move would affect more than 3000 physicists. IN2P3 currently has an annual budget of FFr 1.2 billion and runs 18 laboratories. The CEA's Directorate of the Sciences of Matter (DSM), which conducts research on nuclear and particle physics, astrophysics, and atomic and molecular physics, has about 100 laboratories and a budget of FFr 2 bn.

French physicists are worried that the move will weaken links with the universities but Catherine Césarsky, head of the DSM, claims that the agency is working to improve its relations with academic researchers.