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Laurence Goussu - 24/02/2018

Public research serving start-up competitiveness: Inria and French Tech Central unveil their partnership

On 19 February, Inria and French Tech inaugurated their partnership within French Tech Central in the presence of Guillaume Boudy, Secretary-General for Investments, Mounir Mahjoubi, Secretary of State for Digital Affairs, and Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation.

While start-ups are the driving forces behind innovation, their development is still sometimes slowed down by difficulties in accessing sufficiently original - or even disruptive - technologies. Moreover, the excellence of French research is recognised the world over, the universities and public research laboratories are an extraordinary breeding ground for talent, knowledge, skills and technologies... It therefore seemed essential to devise new solutions and new places to facilitate the establishment of relationships between the world of research and that of these new companies.

In order to facilitate meetings between these two worlds and develop new collaborations, Inria was called upon to design and organise the programming of the 'Research' section of French Tech Central, on behalf of the entire French academic ecosystem in the field of digital technology: Inria, CNRS (French National Centre for Scientific Research), CEA (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission), CNES (French government space agency), Institut Mines-Télécom, universities, engineering schools. 

Subsequently, the institute is the main partner of French Tech in its French Tech Central activity area, being in charge of the development of relationships between all of academic research and the start-ups.

The aims of the project

Within French Tech Central, Inria mobilises and coordinates public research stakeholders in the field of digital technology, in order to:

  • understand the start-ups present so as to identify their needs with regard to research-related issues, support them in their technological development in order to overcome the problems they may encounter;
  • foster meetings between start-ups and scientists, from PhD students to internationally confirmed researchers, organise regular presentations of research findings, technologies, master classes, tutorials in order to take stock of research output and skills in areas of interest for the start-ups;
  • ensure coordination with all of the actions organised by the other stakeholders present within Station F so as to foster synergies.

The services offered to the start-ups

Several formats are proposed to the start-ups depending on their requirements. As a result they can:

Inria collaborators provide a continuous presence in the French Tech Central areas on the second floor of the Share area of Station F, and meet start-ups in the offices or meeting rooms they have booked, thereby ensuring confidentiality with regard to the discussions that take place. They can put them into contact with researchers according to the needs identified. This can lead to advice, contractual research or technology transfer actions.

  • Attend master classes several times in the year in order to explain to entrepreneurs how they can access public research: which contacts, service offering, potential cost, timing, which research institute or laboratory to call upon.
  • Take part in Tech Talks: within the framework of its awareness-raising actions on the innovative technologies developed by public research, each month Inria organises Tech Talks on the Station F site.

The aim is to present technologies originating from all public research laboratories in order to promote and support the development of technology transfer partnerships and actions towards businesses, in particular the start-ups established on the site.

The 1st Tech Talk took place on 27th February with Hugo Talbot, coordinator of the SOFA consortium, a real-time digital simulation software program. A regular schedule of programmes will be available shortly on the French Tech Central website.

Keywords: Station F French Tech French Tech Central Partnerships Innovation Start-up