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Technology transfer

16/04/2015

InriaTech: Creating jobs through research and innovation

Established on a trial basis in April 2015, InriaTech is a new initiative set up by the Inria Lille Research Centre to transfer technology from its research teams to businesses in the Nord-Pas de Calais region.   Four engineers and one partnership manager have been recruited, with the primary task of transferring key technologies from the research laboratory to innovative local companies. These new digital technologies are a key factor in the creation of added value, innovation and jobs.   This initiative forms part of French Tech, a movement set up to encourage the growth of start-up companies.

From technology transfer to the creation of start-ups

 “The four engineers share expertise across all the markets in which Inria Lille sees the most demand” , according to David Simplot-Ryl, Director of the Inria Lille - Nord Europe Centre. They will initially spend a month with the project teams, being trained in the technologies that they are developing. On completion of this training, they will be based at the EuraTechnologies science park, a centre of excellence in information and communication technologies, and a model for French Tech. They will then take charge of all technology transfer, research and collaboration contracts for Inria Lille.

In constant contact with start-up companies and with continuing training in entrepreneurship, they will gradually establish and grow their own new business. “The creation of a start-up is an adventure every bit as exciting and honourable as research. Everyone in the Centre is backing this initiative to stimulate the creation of start-ups from our research”, adds David Simplot-Ryl. The Institute is widely recognised for scientific excellence and service to society as a whole, and is this year celebrating thirty years of enterprise creation.

Creating value from research excellence and supporting enterprise

A technology transfer department within the Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre deals with all requests from businesses. The research teams are regularly asked for help in areas including big data, the internet of objects, robotics and cloud computing. “One of the problems in France is that digital technology is too often only seen in terms of its applications. Our attitude to these applications is that of a consumer of technology produced elsewhere. However, there are many areas of computer science that could result in new applications and create new jobs” . This demand for new key technologies often means that a new engineer has to be recruited in order to carry out a new R&D contract with a company. “Two months of negotiation, three months recruitment, and two months of training – together that makes seven months lost. That’s a long time for an SME”, comments David Simplot-Ryl.

InriaTech: A new initiative from the Inria Lille Research Centre

The Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre is the only such centre trialling the InriaTech platform. The facility has been established in partnership with local government, including the Nord-Pas de Calais Region and the City of Lille, with additional European funding (FEDER). The Director of the Centre explains,  “Innovation is in our DNA. We trialled the first Inria European project team, the first showroom, the first Inria-industry meetings, and the first Innovation Lab. Now, it’s the turn of InriaTech”.

The future of InriaTech will be determined over the next three to five years. That is the length of time that has been given to the new R&D engineers and ambassadors to progress from the preliminary stage to the establishment of start-ups, and to take a full part in French Tech. They will then be ”ambassadors of InriaTech, aware of the importance of R&D at the heart of a successful start-up. It will be success by example. I believe strongly in engineers, PhD students and post-docs. It’s part of their vocation to become the creators of start-up companies”, confides David Simplot-Ryl.

Inria Lille hopes that InriaTech will become self-financing during the course of 2016, relying on the income from the platform itself. Eventually, twenty engineers will be employed transferring R&D through InriaTech and creating start-up companies that will benefit the local economy.

Inria Lille - Nord Europe | Computer science at the heart of Europe

Inria is a research institute dedicated to promoting ‘scientific excellence in the service of technology transfer and society as a whole’. Inria employs a staff of 2700, drawn from the world’s most prestigious universities, to address the latest challenges in computer science and mathematics. The Institute operates eight Research Centres throughout France.

The Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre was founded in 2008 and employs a staff of 360, including 300 scientists working in sixteen research teams. Recognised for its outstanding contribution the socio-economic development of the Nord - Pas-de-Calais Region, the Inria Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre undertakes research in the field of computer science in collaboration with a range of academic, institutional and industrial partners.

The strategy of the Centre is to develop an internationally renowned centre of excellence with a significant impact on the City of Lille and its surrounding area. It works to achieve this by pursuing a range of ambitious research projects in such fields of computer science as the intelligence of data and adaptive software systems. Building on the synergies between research and industry, Inria is a major contributor to skills and technology transfer in the field of computer science.

Press Release: Nadège Joly | presselille@inria.fr

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