"The general public doesn't fully understand that for us pure science is the indispensable condition of applied science and that the nations which neglect science and scientists are destined for decline." – Albert I, 1 October 1927.
This royal speech gave the decisive boost to the creation of the F.R.S.-FNRS, which was then called the "FNRS" (National Fund for Scientific Research): less than one year later, on 27 April 1928, the FNRS was created as a public utility foundation by a group of scientists and industrialists and placed under the management of Émile Francqui, industrialist, philanthropist and important moral figure in Belgian civil society. In the space of barely three months, sponsors and individuals donated one hundred million Belgian francs to the FNRS: demonstrating a real national fervour for scientific research.
After the Second World War, the FNRS progressively adapted its organisation to the new realities of the Belgian and international political landscape, and in particular to the exponential growth of scientific knowledge.
In order to take up the challenge of the internationalisation of research, as of 1947 the FNRS benefitted from recurrent subsidies - before this State intervention, the financial means of the FNRS were limited to the revenue of its patrimony.
Histoire du FNRS
Discours de Seraing
Albert 1er, Seraing le 1er octobre 1927 à l’occasion du 110e anniversaire des usines Cockerill...
1948 les abysses : Le Professeur Auguste Piccard plonge au large de Dakar avec le bathyscaphe FNRS2.
1932 : Le Professeur Auguste Piccard s'envole avec le ballon stratosphérique FNRS1.
Adapting to the needs of society
In the 1950s and 1960s, the FNRS supervised several complementary specialised scientific institutions known as the associated Funds. In 1994 they were joined by the Fund for research training in industry and agriculture (FRIA). The progressive transformation of Belgium into a Federal State was integrated in the organisation of the FNRS, now known as the F.R.S.–FNRS and these days devoted to the development of research in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.
A public utility foundation, more than 90% of which is financed by public funds, the F.R.S.–FNRS supports the development of fundamental research in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation. In order to accomplish this, it reinforces the training of researchers on an individual basis and finances research programmes mainly in the French-speaking universities of Belgium.