Inria Awards 2019

Changed on 16/01/2020
Launched in 2011 and supported by long-term partners the French Academy of Sciences and Dassault Systèmes, the Inria Awards shine a spotlight on the innovations, major breakthroughs and success stories of the men and women at the forefront of science and digital technology. These awards also serve as recognition for the quality of the research and innovation support structures, which contribute to the institute’s success. This year also saw a tribute to Laurent Kott, chairman of IT Translation, in recognition of his career to date and the work he has done in helping to create deep tech companies.
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Vincent Hayward, Institut des systèmes intelligents et de robotique (Institute of intelligent systems and robotics) Sorbonne University.

A specialist in robotics, Vincent Hayward has been a pioneer in the field of haptic perception since the early 90s. The goal of his research has been to identify methods for reproducing tactile sensations in order to create innovative touch stimulation devices and to further our theoretical knowledge of what is an often overlooked sense.

In addition to being a researcher, Hayward is also something of an entrepreneur, with 38 patents and four start-ups under his belt. The most recent of these, Actronika (Paris) is developing a technological platform applicable to human-machine interfaces in the automobile industry, the medical device industry, virtual and augmented reality, mobile communications and video games.


Maria Naya-Plasencia, SECRET project team, Inria Paris Research Centre.

Maria Naya-Plasencia is an Inria Director of Research who specialises in the security of cryptographic algorithms. Her research has led to the development of a new field of research: symmetric cryptography (with the same key used to encrypt and decrypt information) in a post-quantum world (studying systems’ ability to withstand attacks with quantum capacities).

Her research into different types of attacks has helped deepen our understanding of the security of algorithms. In order to develop reliable systems, Naya-Plasencia aims to identify any weaknesses they might have, successfully breaking a number of primitives put forward in scientific literature and in standardisation competitions.  She has also put forward secure new cryptographic algorithms, including Quark, Kreyvium and Saturnin.


The scikit-learn project, run by Loïc Estève, Alexandre Gramfort, Olivier Grisel, Bertrand Thirion and Gaël Varoquaux.

scikit-learn is among the three most used machine learning software programs in the world. Written in Python programming language, it was created in order to make it easier for non-specialists to tackle statistical learning problems forming the basis of the artificial intelligence revolution.

The software, which has been developed since 2010 by the PARIETAL project team at the Inria Saclay - Ile-de-France Research Centre, is designed for use in all experimental sciences, from neuroscience to chemistry, in addition to industrial applications. scikit-learn has been an enormous success, with a community of 1,400 contributors worldwide, 42 million visits in 2018 and a consortium of user companies set up to fund software development.


The Class’Code project, run by Martine Courbin, Douce-Yvonne Gardey de Soos, Laurence Goussu, Thierry Josso and Benjamin Ninassi.

This prize is in recognition of an Inria interdepartmental initiative which contributed to the success of the Class’Code project. Class’Code has been used to train more than 80,000 education professionals in IT concepts, helping them to get to grips with digital technology. The digital science and technology MOOC was selected by the DGESCO (Direction Générale de l’Enseignement Scolaire) as an introductory training course for secondary school teachers and led to research initiatives between digital science and education sciences.

This partnership brings together the scientific information and publishing department, the information systems division, the general science directorate, the communications department and the administration and finance department.


PARIn reference source, a project led by Janet Bertot, Mehdi Boutafa, Corinne Debachy, Edmonde Duteurtre, Dalila El Manfalouti, Caroline Laury, Catherine Pierre-Radenac, Dominique Salles, Jean-Denis Semeria.

This large-scale collaboration between different Inria departments, overseen by the information systems division, has been awarded this prize for developing the PARIn reference source. By enabling a shared and joint definition of our data (how project teams are represented in the information system, for example), PARIn lays the foundations for a full overhaul of Inria’s information system and the processes used in data management, making it easier to replace administrative or scientific applications with more modern solutions integrated into Inria’s information system while speeding up the process of digital transformation, enabling the institute to become more streamlined and more efficient. It will be the starting point for shared data governance within the institute, the goal being to improve quality and to be able to better coordinate our operations.

An Honorary Prize awarded to Laurent Kott

A former student at the École Normale Supérieure in Cachan (1970-1974), Laurent Kott has a PhD in mathematics, with honours in IT. After time spent as both a researcher and a teacher, including at Paris VI, Paris VII and Rennes 1 universities, Laurent Kott joined the IRISA in 1985, becoming director of the research unit at Inria Rennes, a role he combined with the role of associate laboratory director at the CNRS.

In 1990, Alain Bensoussan, Inria CEO, named Kott as the Institute's Deputy Managing Director. He was then involved in drafting the institute’s first strategic plan: “Scientific excellence” and “technology transfer”.

While this was happening, Laurent Kott continued his own career as a university professor. In 1991, he became the first professor of IT at Versailles Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines University, before being made head of the IT Department.

Between 1998 and late 2010, Laurent Kott was managing director of Inria-Transfert, a full subsidiary of Inria set up by the institute to support its spin-off policy. Between 2011 and 2019, Kott was chairman of IT-Translation, the company behind an innovative tool designed in order to showcase the research work carried out in the field of information and communication science and technology through company creation - the very first deep tech fund in the digital sector.


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[En Images] Cérémonie de remise des Prix

Retrouvez le reportage photo complet sur la cérémonie de remise des Prix, à Station F le 17 janvier 2020, dans la photothèque Inria.

© Inria / Photo M. Magnin