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1Science, Technology and Innovation Ecosystem in FranceThe globalisation and the extraordinary technological progress of these past 30 years have change therules forever, for everyone and for all developed countries.Since his election at the Presidency of France (2007), Nicolas Sarkozy has driven a policy to deeplyreform French Universities (link, link, link). The goal of his reform is to enhance the competiveness ofFrench Universities and to bring them at the level of US and UK Universities. But his reform will alsodeeply impact and positively change the French economy and enhance the competitiveness of France.University Nice Sophia AntipolisWhat is the Sarkozys University reform? To make the story short, our Universities are becoming:• Independant from the Government policy and strategy concerning education & research choices.• « Autonomous ». They will freely establish their strategy and priorities. They will be allowed topartner with industrial companies and find other sources of funding than those provided by theFrench state and ministries. They will be free to hire and manage their human resources. TheUniversities will be the owner of their real estates and tangible assets (for example, at 2012, theUniversity of Nice will be the owner of more than 1 billion euro real estate!).Before the Sarkozys University reform, French Universities were big public administrations havingbureaucratic management, and working without interaction with the real economy.After the reform, the Universities will be corporation-like organizations, with regular accountancy,with thousand of employees (Professors, Researchers, Engineers, Administrative and Managementstaff). These big corporation-like organizations will now completely change the economy and therules of the game at the local regional level. The economic center of gravity of each French regionwill become its University.At January 2011, 73 on 83 French Universities accepted to be autonomous, and at the beginning of2012, 100% of Universities will be autonomous. The reform is also accompanied by an unprecedentedfinancial commitment of the State: 50% increase in the budget for higher education over 5 years, atotal of €16 billion of « additional » government funding for universities.Ari Massoudi / Consultant Strategy of Innovation / www.strategy-of-innovation.com / www.linkedin.com/in/arimassoudi
2Nicolas Sarkozy has launched an important investment plan of €35 billion, focusedon:- knowledge and intelligence (higher education and academic research), €16 billion- innovative industries, €19 billion (ex. €4.25 billion for digital economy)http://investissement-avenir.gouvernement.fr/The missions of French Universities before Sarkozys reform:•Research and knowledge production•Knowledge transmission through scientific article publications and teaching to students and toprofessionals by continuing educationThe missions of French Universities after Sarkozys reform:• Research and knowledge production• Knowledge transmission through scientific article publication and teaching (to students)• Professionalisation of students (the goal is to enhance their employability)• Entrepreneurship and Innovation through applied scientific research and technology transfer intofirms (commercialization of scientific discoveries)Other organisations involved in the innovation processFrench Universities are strongly linked to other organisations involved in the innovation process. Thefollowing organisations have also been strongly pushed and supported during the Sarkozy presidency:Startup Incubators- In France, we have 83 Universities, and each one has a Business Incubator dedicated to support thetransfer of academic research and technology into spin-off startups. Each incubator holds around 100technology-based startups (around 8000 startups are currently in our incubators!). We have startupshaving innovations coming from every academic and scientific fields (Formal Sciences, PhysicalSciences, Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Life and Medical Sciences ...).As example, you can visit the website the Incubator of University Nice Sophia Antipolis, IncubatorPACA-EST : http://en.incubateurpacaest.org/- French Universities are also launching business incubators dedicated to their students. The need oflaunching incubators dedicated to students is very promising. Indeed, among the thousand students ofeach University, we could have several potential Mark Zukerberg (Facebooks founder-CEO) thathave crazy dreams and wishing to change the world.Ari Massoudi / Consultant Strategy of Innovation / www.strategy-of-innovation.com / www.linkedin.com/in/arimassoudi
3Of course, startups launched by University students are less technology-based compared to Universityspin-out startups backed by several years of scientific research. Nevertheless, the success andprofitability of such new ventures based on “good ideas” could very high (Facebook, Goolge, eBay...).Student-entrepreneurs wishing to launch their startups will have a strong support from the university’sacademic resources (business training, expertise and mentoring from Professors) and facilities(laboratories and engineering for prototyping, business offices ...), and also from local expert such asCEOs and Managers of growing companies.Incubators increase dramatically the percentage of success compared to startups without having hadthe support of an incubator. The incubation clearly diminishes the risk of failure.- Without incubator: Over 50% of small businesses fail in the first year and 95% fail within the firstfive years (according to the US Small Business Administration)- With incubator: 90% of new ventures are still alive and are operating 5 year after leaving theincubator.Industrial Property Management firms- Each University will also have an independent company only dedicated to the management andmarketing of University industrial property (patents) and licensing negotiation to industrialcompanies. These management companies are named SATT (Sociétés d’Accélération du Transfert deTechnologies). The SATTs will provide all the resources needed to favor the transfer of innovativetechnologies from the academic labs into firms.For example :- Floralishttp://www.floralis.fr/ IP Management company of the University of Grenoble- ValorPACAhttp://www.valorpaca.fr/ (wesite only in French) IP Management Association of Universities of thePACA region (Nice, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence). Valorpaca is not yet a SATT, but it will becomeone soon (and will be renamed SATT PACA Corse).The SATTs are very efficient organisations because they are not an administrative department ofUniversity. Although SATTs investors and shareholders are public organisations (67% Universities,33% French State through its Sovereign Wealth Fund), they are fully independent corporation havingtheir own governance, management and staff, and at the opposite of public administrations, and likeevery corporation they have to be efficient and profitable.Ari Massoudi / Consultant Strategy of Innovation / www.strategy-of-innovation.com / www.linkedin.com/in/arimassoudi
4The proof of the efficiency of SATTs is their annual financial statement. For example "Floralis",founded at 2009, Floralis has €1,500,000 capital stock (serious commitment of its shareholders), andpresented at December 2010 a turn-over of €7,448,000 and a net income of €75,000!http://www.score3.fr/UJF-FILIALE,452135452.entTechnology Clusters- In every French Region, there is also Technology-Cluster.A cluster join together in a given territory, industrial global firms, innovative SMEs & startups andresearch laboratories of Universities to develop synergies and cooperation.The challenge is to build synergistic collaborative projects and to allow innovative companiesinvolved to have access to facilities (subsidies, grants, tax reduction, infrastructure ...) and to take aleading position in their fields in France and abroad. Each Cluster is dedicated to a specific industrialfield.Here is the Government website dedicated to French Clusters (named Pole de Compétitivité inFrench) : http://competitivite.gouv.fr/poles-en-action/carte-des-poles-468.htmlTax Credit, Subsidies/Grants- Other support to companies having R&D and innovation activities : important Tax Credit for R&Dinvestments done by companies, Payroll Tax reductions for young innovative startups, numerousSubsidies and Grants to support innovation projects of privately-held companies ...Ari Massoudi / Consultant Strategy of Innovation / www.strategy-of-innovation.com / www.linkedin.com/in/arimassoudi