1.8 billion euros to place France among the leaders in the Cloud
On May 17, 2021, as part of the "France Recovery Plan" and the fourth investment program for the future (PIA4), the Government launched a national strategy for the Cloud, a market identified as a priority, with high growth potential and meeting major societal challenges.
On November 2, 2021, this strategy led to the presentation of an industrial plan to support the French Cloud sector, built with all the players in the sector. With a budget of €1.8 billion (including €667 million in public funding, €680 million in private co-financing and €444 million in European funding), its objective is to support the development of French Cloud players in four areas: developing innovative Cloud and Edge Computing solutions, creating shared data spaces, training and retraining human resources, and supporting research, innovation and technology maturation.
Inria, pilot of the Priority Research Program and Equipment (PEPR)
56 million will be devoted to research through a Priority Research Program and Equipment (PEPR), which will be managed by Inria and the CEA. The aim is to continue and intensify the French research effort on the Cloud, but also to facilitate the transfer of innovations and solutions from research to industry.
"Research is always ahead of industry, which allows us to define the important topics in the Cloud industry in the next 5 to 10 years," explains Frederic Desprez, head of PEPR for Inria, before adding, "We have done a lot of work upstream, with the CEA, CNRS and IMT, to define the areas of work in research in the Cloud so that France remains competitive in the field".
CEA and Inria were then tasked with establishing a roadmap for this PEPR (and accompanied by representatives from CNRS, ITM, UDICE and CDEF), which is based on three components:
Priority projects. Seven in number, they address the main software and even hardware layers that will help design tomorrow's highly distributed, secure infrastructures with the smallest possible energy footprint.
A call for projects and a call for expressions of interest. For research topics related to the Clouds of the future but for which communities must be identified and established.
Research infrastructure. "We need an infrastructure to test new algorithms, protocols, or even hardware, in order to connect everything for large-scale experimentation," explains Frédéric Desprez. The SILECS project, whose roadmap includes a section dedicated to cloud experimentation, will be partly funded by this work stream.
The mapping of the research community, which allows us to draw up a complete inventory of the players in research dedicated to the Cloud in order to link them to subjects defined as strategic for the coming years. "For each institute, we have drawn up a list of project teams working on Cloud-related topics. We have flagship teams, which are on the front line, and which are essential on these subjects," explains Frédéric Desprez.
Inria is also involved in two R&D projects selected by the French government as part of the industrial plan to support the French Cloud sector:
- An edge computing platform for the Internet of Industrial Objects, alongside its partners CEA, IMT, System-X, Schneider Electric, Atos, Valeo, Véolia, Agileo, Dupliprint, MyDataModels, Nexeya, Prosyst, M&L, Solem, Tridimeo, and Soben
- A Cloud platform for public research actors, with advanced AI and high performance computing features, alongside its partners Genci, OVHCloud, Atos, ActiveEon, CNRS, HUBBLO, CS Group, and Qarnot Computing.