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Two Inria Innovation Lab (ex I-Lab) at the Paris-Rocquencourt research centre

To work together on a joint research programme is the aim of the two "small" laboratories set up jointly at the Paris-Rocquencourt research centre by an Inria project-team (CLIME and GAMMA 3) and an SME, known as Inria Innovation Lab  (ex I-Lab).

Meteorology and air quality are the two subjects that will be dealt with by the SETH/NUMTECH and CLIME Inria Innovation Lab  (ex I-Lab). It will cover several themes, such as assimilation in atmospheric dispersion, overall forecasts, scale reduction, uncertainty and statistical methods to provide CLIME with a considerable data source (dispersion, weather fields, etc.), enabling it to compare its models with situations on the ground.

The Meshing Lab laboratory, a joint team involving GAMMA 3 and Distene, focuses on the development of mesh generating software components for Computer Aided Design (CAD), in particular: volume meshes based on any geometrical data, high-performance meshes, automatic meshes for CFD and automatic hexahedral meshes. This joint laboratory will allow GAMMA 3 to consolidate its existing collaboration with Distene and guide it towards key subjects for its internal research.

A view from Laurent Anné, commercial director and co-founder of Distene

In March 2010, Distene, a company specialising in computer-aided design technologies, created an Inria Innovation Lab  (ex I-Lab) with Inria's Gamma 3 team. This was the Meshing-Lab, a small joint structure capable of reinforcing the transfer to the world of business of technologies developed by Inria in the field of components for meshing.

Tell us about your collaboration with Gamma 3...

Laurent Anné: We have historic ties with Inria. Distene was created after the purchase of Simulog technologies, a subsidiary of Simulog, itself created by the institute in 1984. We therefore have a strong relationship with its researchers. We share the same ambition to make practical use of our research results. Distene's activity has enabled the majority of international computing and CAD software solution publishers to adopt software components developed with Gamma3. This makes it the most widely used meshing technology in the world. This supplier relationship means that Distene must establish a more complete road-map  in order to continue to develop its business.

Does the creation of an Inria Innovation Lab  (ex I-Lab) make a difference in this respect?

Laurent Anné: Yes, we were lacking a shared structure to make it easier for researchers to take our needs into account. We now have a tool that enables us to consolidate our collaboration and ensure its longevity, and to stand up better to our competitors. The establishment of a joint road map and the holding of regular work meetings are allowing us to step things up a gear. We are therefore in a better position to present this road-map  to our clients, formalising our commitment to the upstream developments to which we need Inria researchers to contribute. We are also benefiting from the added trust created by our partnership with the Gamma3 team.

What is an Inria Innovation Lab  (ex I-Lab)?

With strong experience in liaising with big groups and creating businesses, Inria has made technology transfer to innovative SMEs one of its priorities.

In this context, a specific SME programme has been set up by the Inria Technology Transfer and Innovation Department in order to support a long-term, structured collaboration between a project-team and an SME. This programme is based on the notion of an Inria Innovation Lab  (ex I-Lab), a "small" joint laboratory involving a project-team and an SME with a specific shared work programme and a life span of three years. Financial and human resources (engineers), which should be seen as initial resources, are allocated to the project-team for this purpose. The projects will be monitored from start to finish by a steering committee made up of representatives of Inria and of the SME. Five to ten Inria Innovation Lab  (ex I-Lab) should be created each year. Three are already up and running: Distene, Numtech, and a third created in Lille by Idées 3Com and the Inria Lille - Nord Europe research centre's MINT project-team.

Keywords: CLIME GAMMA 3 Paris - Rocquencourt I-Labs SME