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W3C chooses Inria to open its France office

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is opening an office in France, to be hosted by Inria, in order to consolidate its relations with industry and with other participants in the French ecosystem. The new office is to develop and coordinate the community of French W3C members.

The latest step in a long-standing partnership

The decision to choose Inria in 1995 to replace CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research, at the time the joint W3C coordinator with MIT) was a ‘wonderful surprise’ and can be attributed to the very strong involvement by its then Chairman, Alain Bensoussan, and by Jean-François Abramatic.
“The development of W3C from 1995 onwards would have many positive consequences for Inria. The first were direct by stimulating its involvement in a key sector and putting it at the very source of information concerning its development […]. The Institute was directly involved in processes to develop standards, a source of information from the main players in the field and a forum for disseminating or testing out its own ideas. W3C brings together a growing number of partners investing in working groups addressing specific themes”.*

Missions of the France office

The W3C France office is intended to develop and coordinate the community of W3C members in France.
W3C membership offers member industries and companies of all sizes the opportunity to access a unique global innovation ecosystem and thus:

  • Develop their technological expertise and access global standards free of rights so as to accelerate the pace of their technology projects and cut costs
  • Access a community of technology leaders worldwide: companies, organisations and visionary individuals
  • Be on the cutting edge of innovation, plan ahead
  • Enhance their visibility and image as technological innovators
  • And ultimately development their business or activity.

One of the primary activities of the office will be to promote participation by French industry and research leaders in W3C standardisation activities.
“In actively participating in W3C, industry representatives can do much more than merely follow in the wake of the web’s speedy evolution; they can be its instigators”, says Bernard Odier, head of the new office.


  • End of 1993: Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, decides to set up an international organisation to coordinate Web developments
  • 1994: MIT becomes the first host site of the W3C
  • April 1995: Inria Sophia Antipolis is selected to host the European branch of the W3C
  • May 1996: Paris and France host the fifth global conference on Web development
  • Sep. 1996: Jean–François Abramatic, Inria, becomes president of the W3C
  • 2003: Inria transfers to ERCIM (European Research Consortium in Informatics and Mathematics) the responsibility of being the European host for W3C. The change enables W3C to diversify its relations with the scientific community throughout Europe whilst maintaining its strong historic relation with Inria, one of the founders of ERCIM.
  • 2011: Inria hosts the France office of the W3C.
 * From Histoire d’un pionnier de l’informatique, Code Source 2007.

Keywords: ERCIM Inria Sophia Antipolis Méditerrannée Software W3C