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Inria and OSEO join forces to support the development of innovative SMEs in the field of ICST and software

Michel Cosnard, Chairman and CEO of Inria, and François Drouin, Chairman and CEO of OSEO, have signed a partnership agreement for a period of three years. The two organisations are joining forces to strengthen innovation by SMEs in the field of ICST and software.

Increasing SMEs’ innovation capabilities in the field of ICST and software

Bolstering the innovation capability of SMEs is a priority shared by Inria and OSEO, and the two organisations have therefore decided to come together to implement a series of joint actions.
A major national player in technology transfer in computational sciences, Inria is embarking upon a new stage in the strengthening of its policy of technology transfer to SMEs. "Supporting the development of innovative SMEs in our field is a priority of our technology transfer policy, particularly in partnership with competitiveness clusters. We have built new systems dedicated to SMEs, such as the Inria Innovation Lab  (ex I-Lab), structured partnerships for technology transfer purposes in which one of our teams joins forces with an SME. We are convinced that by teaming up with OSEO we can boost opportunities for technology transfer from public research to innovative SMEs in our field ," said Michel Cosnard, Chairman and CEO of Inria .
"France excels in research and development, and we need to work to ensure that more ideas find a market and thus contribute to our country’s competitiveness. This is one of the priorities of OSEO: making the link between R&D and innovative SMEs. To do this, we have decided to strengthen the natural links that exist between Inria and OSEO. I am delighted to be entering into this partnership, which will allow us to better monetise R&D projects and technology transfers in the field of ICST,"  added François Drouin, Chairman and CEO of OSEO .

Identifying technology transfer opportunities in key fields and providing lasting support to the innovation process: two key challenges

To guarantee the success of their joint actions, Inria and OSEO are placing three essential principles at the heart of their partnership: the definition of strategic priorities on the technology transfer and innovation subjects explicitly identified in ICST; the consolidation or creation of technology transfer projects to innovative SMEs in the field of ICST, in partnership with the competitiveness clusters concerned; and the reinforcement of long-term follow-up and support of projects identified as having high potential.

To date, Inria and OSEO have decided to pursue the following actions together:

Stimulating opportunities for technology transfer to innovative SMEs via a coordinated "ICST-SME" programme

The programme focuses on the emergence and construction of high-quality projects, upstream of the existing support tools for R&D and innovation. The aim of the programme is, for an identified field of technology transfer, to:

  • Raise awareness among businesses and identify interested SMEs, particularly in partnership with partner competitiveness clusters, via the organisation of dedicated events;
  • Build and then qualify the resulting technology transfer projects, particularly with project-teams from Inria or its partners in public research;
  • Integrate the qualified technology transfer projects in the existing financing systems.

The initiatives identified to date concern the following themes:

  • Access of innovative SMEs to high-performance computing;
  • The development of mobile applications on smartphones;
  • Sustainable digital cities.

Each of these initiatives will have its own operating structure. The first two initiatives will be launched in the coming weeks.
A steering committee, composed of representatives from Inria and OSEO, will meet at least twice a year. Its duties will include devising joint actions and conducting an annual review of these actions so that they can be adjusted if necessary.

S’associer au sein du comité de suivi des actions de transfert technologique de l’Inria

Mis en place en janvier 2009, le comité de suivi des actions de transfert technologique de l’Inria a pour vocation de donner un avis sur les projets de transfert technologique dans le domaine des STIC, issus pour une part majoritaire des équipes de l’Inria, notamment à destination des PME innovantes. Il assure également un suivi régulier des projets afin de s’assurer de leur bonne mise en œuvre. Pour ce faire, il se réunit une demi-journée 5 fois par an et est composé de membres extérieurs à l’Inria ) ayant une vision marché. En 2009, le comité a analysé 39 dossiers.
Désormais, un représentant d’OSEO participera à l’évaluation des projets de transfert à destination des PME innovantes. Il pourra ainsi donner les informations permettant de faciliter l’accès aux dispositifs de financement de l’innovation.

Work together within Inria’s technology transfer action monitoring committee

Set up in January 2009, Inria’s technology transfer action monitoring committee gives an opinion on technology transfer projects in the field of ICST, mainly originating from Inria teams, and primarily aimed at innovative SMEs. It also ensures regular follow-up of projects to ensure that they are properly implemented. To do this, it meets for half a day, five times a year. Its members come from outside of Inria and have an understanding of the market. In 2009, the committee analysed 39 cases.



(Grand Equipement National de Calcul Intensif) is a company in which the State, represented by the Ministry of Research and Higher Education, holds a 49% stake, with the CEA owning 20%, the CNRS 20%, the Universities 10% and Inria 1%.
Born out of political will to put France on par with European and world leaders in the field of high-performance computing, and strengthened by partnerships with the main players in academic research and the support of the public authorities, GENCI has pursued three major missions since its creation in 2007:
  * Implementing and coordinating the main equipment at the major national civil centres which it funds and owns;
  * Promoting the organisation of a European high-performance computing area and taking part in its projects. To this end, GENCI represents France in the PRACE permanent research infrastructure;
  * Promoting simulation and high-performance computing among those involved in theoretical and industrial research.


A public science and technology institution under the supervision of the ministries for Research and Industry. Annual budget (2009): €217 million, 21% of which from its own resources. Regional research centres:  Paris - Rocquencourt, Sophia Antipolis – Méditerranée, Grenoble – Rhône-Alpes, Nancy – Grand Est, Rennes – Bretagne Atlantique, Bordeaux – Sud Ouest, Lille – Nord Europe, Saclay – Île-de-France. 3,150 researchers, including more than 1,000 PhD students, working within more than 170 project-teams, the majority of which are shared with other bodies, Grandes Ecoles and universities.  80 associate teams around the world. Around 100 companies created since 1984.


A public company, OSEO provides entrepreneurs with the means necessary for their development, financing their international investment and innovation projects. OSEO performs three complementary functions: supporting innovation, financing companies’ investments and operating cycles alongside banks, and guaranteeing credit from banks and venture capital organisations. OSEO’s teams work to meet the needs of business owners.

Keywords: François Drouin Press release Innovation Michel Cosnard Partnerships