Inria & SMEs

The Inria Innovation Lab system boosts technology transfers to SMEs

@inria @inria

In order to boost technology transfers to SMEs and SMIs, Inria has established the Inria Innovation Lab (ex I-Labs) system. The idea is to bring together an Inria project team and a partner SME in a joint laboratory. The two entities define a joint, specific work program lasting two to three years. Incentives are given by Inria to the project team involved, while the SME can receive government assistance to finance its research project (particularly the research tax credit).

Ultimately, the innovation capacity of these SMEs must be reinforced, with an increase in their R&D recruitments and technology transfers.

Inria Innovation Lab: BiNoPe-HJ

Created in December 2007, with sites in Montpellier and Meudon-la-Forêt, the limited company HPC Project (winner of the 2008 Ministry of Higher Education and Research competition) produces computer systems and software with a view to large-scale use of parallel processing* for computing simulations and real-time modelling, in fields of application ranging from data-mining to control of embedded systems. The company offers ready-to-use products with excellent performance levels in the form of an office machine for interactive manipulation of complex data. In 2009, HPC Project sought to boost its value-added through original, efficient digital libraries, both proprietary and open-source.

The COMMANDS project team at the Inria Saclay Ile-de-France centre, which has expertise in the study of dynamic optimisation, is the first team to work bilaterally with HPC Project. It is doing so within the framework of the Inria Innovation Lab BiNoPe-HJ, the aim of which is to produce high-performance solvers for creators of HPC applications. 

HPC Project is implementing its parallel processing technology with the specific digital algorithms developed as part of the research work of the COMMANDS project team, which wants to develop effective digital methods to solve Hamilton-Jacobi-Bellman (HJB) equations. These non-linear partial differential equations model front propagation. They are used in several fields of physics and mathematics (imaging, crystal dislocations, optimal control, etc.).

The non-linear nature of HJB equations makes solving them digitally difficult and requires considerable computing resources (the digital cost increases exponentially with the number of variables).

 Update: HPC Project, an expert in simulation, and Arion Entreprise, a company specialising in critical real-time embedded systems, merged in 2012 and adopted the new name SILKAN.

 *Parallel processing: a computing method that uses several computers in parallel to obtain results more quickly.

ETIPOPS Inria Innovation Lab: Etineo & the POPS project team

The ETIPOPS joint laboratory is made up of the Pops project team and the research, development and innovation department of the company Etineo SAS. Etineo works with communicating objects.

Born in 2008, this partnership began with the design of a software program, for which the operating licence was granted to Etineo in 2010. Since then, Pops and Etineo have been working together to help Etineo get to grips with the software and develop versions for different uses and for different hardware.

Alongside this technology transfer, Pops and Etineo have been collaborating on the development of a French national research agency (ANR) project, which was accepted under the ECOTECH 2010 call for projects. This project, entitled BinThatThinks, is being led by the Inria ACES project team, in partnership with the Pops team, Etineo and a major industry player. It aims to improve waste sorting and collection.

Etineo and Pops are working together to create a network of sensors to report information, provide geolocation data and send alerts. In order to optimise the human resources dedicated to this project, an additional engineer has been taken on for a period of three years.

ExTAR Inria Innovation Lab: Artefacto & the  LAGADIC project team

Today, Artefacto is a recognized player in the field of augmented reality in the sectors of urban planning and industry (construction and transport). Through the Inria Innovation Lab, the SME will pair up with the LAGADIC research team. The augmented reality solution developed as part of the Inria Innovation Lab will be integrated into Artefacto's entire range of augmented reality products. This Inria Innovation Lab will also round out the solutions developed in the SUSTAINS project of the Advancity cluster, selected as part of the FUI 10 projects.

The Sustains project is a decision-making tool for urban planning and selection of energy systems. This tool must make it possible to understand the complexity of urban models (residential, industrial, public services) in its social, economic, energy, mobility, and sustainability dimensions. The integration, visualization, and manipulation of these dimensions in an operational computerized platform of the city aim to replace the various players (elected officials, financiers, non-trading company) within the decision-making process. 

Ultimately, Artefacto will be able to offer a representation of the city by integrating assumptions on the development choices, with  the management of energy, water, air, and waste. This solution will integrate the expertise of other SMEs like Artelys for the management of energy and the expertise developed around the Inria Innovation Lab between the SETH/NUMTECH group and the CLIME team on air quality.

Idées-3com & the MINT project team

Idées-3com is a Lille-based company, created in 2006, specializing in real-time 3D business applications for online marketing and distance training. It currently employs around twenty people. An Inria Innovation Lab between Idées-3Com and the MINT project team of Inria (also teaming up CNRS and Université de Lille 1) is currently formalized around a scientific program focusing on two topics: interaction and immersion in commercial and native 3D virtual universes in Web browsers.

The balance of collaboration is based on a commitment by each partner in terms of human resources: "CIFRE" PhD students and engineers for Idées-3com, an innovation transfer engineer for Inria, and permanent researchers for CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) and Université de Lille 1.

KoriScale Inria Innovation Lab: Korilog & the GenScale project team

The Inria Innovation Lab KoriScale, created in May 2013, is the follow-up to a successful partnership between the SME Korilog, a specialist in genomic sequence comparison tools, and the research team GenScale. This has already given rise to the development of the software Klast, an intensive genomic sequence comparison tool for use with large banks of genomes. Klast is the industrialised version of a software program conceived by GenScale for which Inria transferred the operating licence to Korilog until 2017.

Korilog intends to use the joint laboratory to position itself as the long-term leader in the high performance genome technologies market and speed up its innovation capacities with the scientific support of GenScale.  Two joint research avenues - intensive genomic comparisons and research into variants in genomic sequences - should therefore lead KoriScale to new technology transfers. The aim of the collaboration is to integrate the results of the joint research into the SME's software package.

MESHING LAB Inria Innovation Lab: Distene and the GAMMA 3 project team

The Meshing Lab joint laboratory between the GAMMA 3 project team of Inria and Distene focuses on the development of messing generation software components for CAD, particularly volume meshings from arbitrary geometries, high-performance meshings, automatic meshings for fluid mechanics, and hexahedral automatic meshings. Distene is an SME with eleven people, positioned on the CAD application developer market with a comprehensive offering of meshing software components.

This joint laboratory allows GAMMA 3 to apply its field of research on key topics ; for Distene, the Meshing Lab allows it to strengthen its position on its historical market in the face of strong competition and anticipate market changes or even attack new segments.

METIS Inria Innovation Lab: Artelys & the TAO and MAXPLUS project teams

Artelys is a company specialising in optimisation, statistics and decision aids. It has become a leading player in this field in France, and is embarking upon a process of international development. Artelys's activities range from strategic optimisation to the creation of operational software solutions.

Within the framework of the Metis Inria Innovation Lab, Artelys and Inria are developing tools - digital components and business software platforms - for the management and optimisation of major interconnected energy systems such as "Smart Grids". This requires the development of innovative digital optimisation components: a compromise between certain short-term gains and uncertain long-term gains has to be found at each stage. This involves probabilistic forecasts of future results and quantitative risk management. The considerable R&D investments made by the project, together with Inria's expertise in digital optimisation, are allowing Artelys to accelerate the development of robust and operational solutions based on the Inria Innovation Lab's tools for its customers in France and beyond. 

The TAO team is leading the project for Inria and providing the benefit of its expertise in optimisation, learning and statistical methods, while the MAXPLUS team is sharing its expertise in decision aids for use in uncertain environments.

SETH/NUMTECH Inria Innovation Lab: with the CLIME project team

The collaboration between the CLIME  project team of Inria and SETH/NUMTECH focuses on meteorology and air quality and covers several topics: assimilation in atmospheric dispersion, overall forecasts, scale reduction, uncertainties, and statistical methods. SETH is a consortium grouping together five SMEs, with Numtech as the lead. This is an SME of 24 people positioned on atmospheric dispersion, monitoring, and prediction of air quality.

This Inria Innovation Lab allows the CLIME team to strengthen its models with field situations and the SMEs to advance more quickly in the solutions offered to clients, particularly by reinforcing the group's innovation dynamic and thus maintain a competitive advantage abroad in particular.

SIWA Inria Innovation Lab: Mauna Kea Technologies & the ASCLEPIOS project team

The Asclepios project team from the Inria Sophia-Antipolis centre is a research team specialising in the analysis of medical images and the biophysical modelling of the human body for applications in medicine and biology designed to assist in prevention, diagnosis and treatment. Mauna Kea Technologies is a rapidly-growing company specialising in medical imaging, and the current world leader in the cutting-edge field of endomicroscopy. The company designs, develops and markets innovative tools enabling in vivo detection of anomalies in the gastrointestinal and pulmonary systems. 

Having already collaborated successfully on two CIFRE PhD theses, the Asclepios project team and Mauna Kea Technologies extended their association by creating an Inria Innovation Lab called SIWA ("Stitching Images and Wisdom into the Atlas"). The SIWA project is based around two complementary methodologies: content-based image retrieval to assist in the interpretation of images, and image registration to improve images in real-time.

Keywords: Inria Innovation Lab (ex I-Lab) SME Technology transfer