Research and development
Initiatives by the Ile-de-France Region
For several years now the Ile-de-France region has been implementing an increasingly positive policy in favour of upstream research for industrial applications. This commitment can be seen in the constant increases in the relevant budget, amounting to 112 million euros for 2005. The aim is to devote 5 % of the regional budget to this area between now and the end of the political term (2010).
A new draft report was passed at the plenary meeting on 26th - 27th May 2005.
This document was written with the active cooperation of those involved in research (researchers, heads of companies, organisations, universities, etc.), who all highlighted the need to target regional campaigns, to create leverage effects by means of contracts lasting several years and to provide research with the appropriate tools to encourage employment and transparency for the wider public.
In this context, over the course of 2005, the regional council is intending to create new mechanisms, which will permit the implementation of regional guidelines.
- The major areas of interest (DIM)
In order to increase the general level of understanding of regional policy and its unifying nature, the region is aiming to develop an identification procedure using a subject-based approach:
- Of a cluster type: cancer research, neurosciences and neuro-degenerative illnesses, molecular medicine, micro-biology, medical imaging, optics, complex software and sustainable development in the following areas: transport and mobility, energy management, eco-systems, etc. These sectors correspond with the terms of the Government invitation to tender for the identification of areas of competitiveness.
- Of a future development type: ultra-cold atoms, mathematics and IT, across-the-board issues such as natural biological mechanisms (the brain, the living being) and artificial systems (urban planning, technology, etc.)
- Of a social type: economic and social sciences, public health and epidemiology and issues of that kind.
Once identified by regional government, regional support for these major areas of interest (DIM) will include:
- - On an operational level: the provision of doctorate and post-doctorate grants, posts for foreign researchers, the creation of new teams, etc. and a whole range of measures designed to generate science based jobs,
- - On an investment level: the resources to build or renovate buildings and to equip them.
Other topics will be identified on the basis of proposals made by those "on-the-ground", in particular as a result of invitations for open projects. No field of research will be excluded from the framework of regional involvement, above all if it is compatible with the harmonious and ecologically sustainable development of land.
- Research and higher education centres (PRES)
In addition to subject-related support, the region will encourage the formation of local associations of voluntary representatives within research and higher education centres (PRES). This structural approach will reinforce the development of cross-sectoral cooperative projects, encouraging interaction between partners within these centres, enabling certain resources to be shared (remote-teaching, international campaigns, finding posts for foreign researchers, added-value activities, etc.) and strengthening their regional identity.
- Support for specific campaigns
At the same time, the region will implement more specific campaigns providing support for research, in particular in terms of invitations for applications or projects for doctorate and post-doctorate grants, equipment for laboratories (SESAME systems) or the organisation of scientific events.
International visibility for both French and foreign students and researchers is becoming a primary issue, not only in creating a trend but also in improving the attractiveness and influence of the region within Europe and across the rest of the world:
- Improving the provision of posts for foreign students (in particular those from the priority areas defined by regional cooperation) and researchers,
- Improving housing conditions (renovation of accommodation for researchers, cooperation with the Reception Service for foreign researchers at the Cité International in Paris).
- International travel grants for French students from general (university) or technological organisations, to encourage the use of foreign placements for students, raising their awareness of the international environment.
This is a question of improving living conditions for students, in particular by means of the "BiblioRIF plan" which supports the modernisation of French libraries - a vital factor in the working conditions of students.
Furthermore, support for the professional integration of those with doctorates (remuneration for trainers, reimbursement of travel costs, the organisational costs of seminars and meetings, etc.) will enable doctorate students to be prepared for their professional futures in business or the academic world, whilst still working on their theses.
Innovation is a key factor in the ability to compete and represents a major focus of regional activity. The region will continue to be resolutely committed to a network of French SMEs. As part of a new mechanism, alongside the policy of "competitive centres", the region may also support certain of the research and development programmes undertaken by large, medium sized and small business and the state-run research laboratories working with them. One of the primary aims is to increase the number of science-based jobs and to strengthen the position of SMEs in their cooperation with large groups.
The dialogue between science and society
The purpose of Institution - Citizens Partnerships for Research and Innovation (PICRI) is to open up the world of research to the general public, in order to recreate a dialogue between science and society. PICRIs (Institution - Citizens Partnerships for Research and Innovation) are unique to France and will be established by means of invitations to tender at the end of May this year. They will provide support for research, expertise or innovation partnership initiatives between state-owned research laboratories and local non-profit making organisations.
The region is fully aware of the simple fact that certain associations do not have the financial resources to carry out studies or expert investigations while laboratories suffer from being isolated. This is why, from now on, the region intends to create a channel for contact between associations and laboratories and to finance their joint projects.