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An interdisciplinary program for materials science in France was established by the CNRS—the body responsible for basic scientific research—in 1982. The unity and coherence of materials science policy and the need to break down the barriers between traditional subjects were emphasized in 1994, when DIMAT, the interdepartmental delegation for materials science, was set up. Gérard Beck, who heads DIMAT, describes its aims, how it works, and its relationship with the CNRS.