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Inria Awards 2012

Corinne Drault -

Marie-Agnès Enard, Frédéric Carette and Sylvain Karpf : Inria Research Support Department Award 2012

Marie-Agnès Enard, Frédéric Carette and Sylvain Karpf are three Inria award winners of the 2012 Inria Research Support Department Award.  This award rewards the action that they led with their teams for the realisation and implementation of the Inria-EuraTechnologies platform in Lille. Inaugurated in February, 2010, this first Inria space devoted to demonstrations and discussions with our economic partners accompanies a new approach as part of the transfer and innovation policy of the institute. 

Marie-Agnès Enard, Head of Communications, Inria Lille – Nord Europe research centre

After 11 years in the private sector, Marie-Agnès Enard came on board in 2003 as a research assistant and communications officer at the Inria Lille Futurs centre.  She is currently Head of the Communications department at the centre. Driven by an insatiable curiosity, Marie-Agnès Enard likes surprising and innovating. She is also quite capable of putting her ideas into practice.  In testimony to the key role that she has played in the design and implementation of the EuraTechnologies platform: "We had carte blanche", she recalls. "They put their trust in us. Sole objective: to create a forum for discussions between researchers and industrialists. We started with Frédéric Carette by describing the practicalities of the platform, its philosophy. From the out-set, I wanted to show science differently, based on an attractive and participatory approach. We therefore worked with the centre's researchers to present well-worked out demonstrations.  Creating the set design, as it were. This was a gamble, since demos were really not in "vogue" at that time.  And it was only after this design work of the platform, that we began the follow-up of the project with Sylvain Karpf, to strengthen the partnerships and innovation projects  within”.
Today, Marie-Agnès Enard feels very proud of being a winner of the research support department award, because "it rewards", she explains, "a cross-disciplinary action between three departments: communications, transfer and innovation and the general site maintenance and management department.  It is this de-compartmentalised action that has made an excellent project out of it".  Just like the platform, it was welcomed as an ideal focal point between researchers and industrialists.

Sylvain Karpf, Head of Technology Transfer and Innovation, Inria Lille – Nord Europe research centre

You often come across him on the platform. He is seen explaining demos, having meetings with managing directors, organising or participating in all kinds of demonstrations, breakfasts, conferences, conventions, etc. Sylvain Karpf is in his ecosystem.  That of research and businesses. "The platform, it is the ideal place to bring these two worlds, which do not always speak the same language, closer together", he explains.  A genuine area of expertise in which Sylvain excels! In order to understand their issues, the forty-something has a career path which is, it is fair to say, ideal.  After a thesis in computer science in 1993 at the University of Lille I, Sylvain consequently received a position as an Associate Professor, and then turned to research projects dedicated to medical simulation. Having developed simulator prototypes for training in laser ophthalmologic surgery, in 1999 he decided to create his own start-up.  In 2006, the Inria Lille - Futurs centre offered him a position as Industrial Relations and Development Manager (CDRI). He seized the opportunity. His application was retained. In 2009, he started the project to design  the Inria EuraTechnologies platform. Sylvain joined two other prize winners from the research support department to develop partnerships there with the region’s economic players . Strongly involved in the day-to-day leadership of the platform with two other colleagues, Pierre Cappelli and Simon Vandermeersch, Sylvain has already set up five partnerships up with EuraTechnologies firms.

Frédéric Carette, Head of the General Site Maintenance and Management Department of the Inria Lille – Nord Europe research centre

Frédéric Carette joined the Inria Futurs centre in Lille in September 2006. After 15 years at France Télécom Orange, including several years in Paris, where he managed a hotline team, the technician with a keen interest in computing and new technologies, found out that the institute wanted to establish a research centre in Lille and was looking for staff. A native of Lille, where he had studied applied mathematics a few years previously, Frédéric put forward his application. His application was successful and he was asked to take delivery of the centre's first building and to set up a technical team.  A first challenge which he had just accepted, when his "real estate empire" took on a new dimension with the Inria EuraTechnologies platform project . A considerable construction covering over 200 m², but not without limitations. "We couldn’t locate excessively calorific equipment there, modify the existing air-conditioning or heating equipment for example, drill into walls, add partitioning, remove the fitted carpet, or restrict the electrical supply and all existing fluids, etc. The equipment that we had to set up on the platform to integrate the demonstrators had to respond to very strict specifications". Such complexity does not scare Frédéeric. "It is my role to find technological solutions to respond to these limitations, to highlight the demonstrators and to include the modular furniture which was specifically designed for the platform".  A role that he performs in teams and which suits him perfectly. "I love coordinating projects, innovating and persuading". 

David Simplot-Ryl, Head of the Lille - Nord Europe Research Centre

"The work provided by the award-winning team genuinely designed something which did not exist at Inria.  Admittedly, in the management team, we did believe that it was very important to be part of the Lille EuraTechnologies cluster which is dedicated to digital technologies, near to businesses, and especially SME's. However, we had no experience in terms of building this type of platform.  The team invented everything. Not only was the fitting-out of the space designed to create a very clean, open and convivial place (200 m²) out of it with only a few research demonstrators. They also came up with its  organisation, in particular, the events to be run. Both of these aspects were thought in terms of usage and with the goal of  strengthening the partnerships between researchers and entrepreneurs.  Located outside of the centre in order to be closer to entrepreneurs, the platform is a unique place to strengthen the transfer opportunities with the region’s economic players.  A project set up by Inria’s support teams.  One of the strengths of the Institute near to research teams”.

Keywords: Inria Awards 2012 Research Support Department