Storming the Bastille

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Science  26 Apr 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5568, pp. 649-651
DOI: 10.1126/science.296.5568.649

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GIF-SUR-YVETTE, FRANCE-- French research has long been dominated by a "mandarinate": a quasi-feudal hierarchy that concentrates funds and vests power in a relatively small number of lab and institute chiefs. Several new programs are now helping young scientists achieve unprecedented levels of independence. But in the absence of a thorough overhaul of the French system, many fear, these budding scientific leaders are in danger of maturing into the next generation of mandarins.