Scientific exchanges between Hong Kong and France received a shot in the arm on Tuesday when a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Croucher Foundation and the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) was signed. With an annual budget of US$2.5 billion (HK$19.5 billion) and more than 25,000 employees, CNRS is one of the most important research organisations in Europe. The foundation has committed itself to financially support young researchers from Hong Kong who are interested in gaining experience at one of CNRS's 1,650 laboratories. CNRS will be responsible for identifying the centre most apppropriate for each candidate. It will also support the scientific environment.