The PEPR Origins

Launched in March 2023, the Origins Priority Research Program and Equipment (PEPR) is funded by the France 2030 plan. With a budget of 45.5M€ over seven years, the program will focus on six research areas in the field of the Origins of planets and life, developing several innovative instrumental projects that will enable the French community to perform even better in international competition by 2030.

The French government has entrusted the CNRS with the scientific direction of the Origins PEPR, operated by the ANR.

This PEPR is run in close collaboration with the national public research community involved in the origins of planets and life.

In order to manage this program on behalf of the entire French scientific community, and to guarantee the neutrality, quality and transparency of the work, a multi-level governance structure has been defined :

  • An Institutional Strategic Committee (ISC), made up of representatives of the institutions taking part in the program, in charge of strategic steering and validating program orientations ;
  • An Executive Committee (EC), made up of program directors and research leaders, responsible for leading and coordinating the program, making operational decisions and reporting to the ISC ;
  • An International Scientific Council, made up of scientific personalities who will have an external view on the smooth running of the program ;
  • An Industrial Advisory Group, made up of representatives of French industries in the scientific equipment field, to advise on the valorization of instrumental projects developed within the framework of this PEPR.

PEPR aims to meet the technological challenges that are essential to progress in research into the origins of planets and life. In 2023, the first seventeen instrumental projects have been launched. A call for new instrumental projects will be issued in 2025.

It organizes a biannual colloquium, in conjunction with the National Planetology Program, the French Exobiology Society and Europlanète, a privileged forum for exchange within the national scientific community, as well as numerous other thematic workshops.

Origins PEPR missions

How did life emerge on Earth? Does it exist elsewhere in the Universe? For centuries, these questions have inspired profound philosophical and religious debate. Now we’re approaching the moment when decisive scientific answers will finally be provided, thanks to a new generation of observations, laboratory experiments and digital modelling. Understanding the origin of life, and discovering and characterizing other Earths, are fundamental scientific objectives that are gaining ground on the international scene. These objectives, explicitly mentioned in the 2021-2030 Research Programming Law, are at the heart of the work of the French community, which is hundreds of researchers strong and particularly well positioned in the context of strong international competition.

The effectiveness of this quest for Origins is deeply dependent on technological advances initiated by researchers in the field. The mission of this PEPR is to remove precisely identified technological barriers to enable decisive advances along five research axes of national excellence :

  1. detection and characterization of exoplanets by direct imaging,
  2. l’ananalysis of space samples, with or without biological risks,
  3. study of the Earth as a habitable planet,
  4. laboratory experimentation in exobiology and bio-analysis of ancient Earth or Mars samples,
  5. numerical modeling and data analysis.

The removal of these barriers will have numerous medium- and long-term repercussions on the country’s technological know-how and, consequently, on its economy, health and environment, as well as contributing to its competitiveness.

Research into the origin of life and the existence of Earth-like planets is of great interest to society. This PEPR also supports an ambitious program of scientific mediation, as well as studies in the humanities and social sciences on taking into account cultural representations of life, in order to better understand the place of humans in the universe and their powers over living things.

This PEPR program, funded by the France 2030 plan to the tune of 45.5M€ over seven years, is supported by 34 national organizations and universities representing the entire Origins community, and is coordinated by the CNRS.

To accelerate fundamental research on 6 research themes related to the origins of planets and life, the Origins PEPR brings together internationally recognized research teams with expertise in their fields. These teams come from universities, Grandes Ecoles and national research organizations across France, and have joined forces to ensure that PEPR develops the technologies essential to scientific breakthroughs by 2030.