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Two Different Centers for a Common Goal

The idea of creating a Maritime Center at the Cherbourg Normandy Technocity is appealing since the Manche departement boasts France's second longest coastline (330km of Channel front).

The idea is also attractive because Cherbourg faces the busiest sea-lanes in the world. Also, several major industrialists such as naval shipbuilders Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN) and Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie (CMN), and several renowned laboratories are based in the city. However, despite its sound assets, hatching the project will require sound partners. Pierre Watremez, the man in charge of this Center of Excellence at the Technocity, is convinced of this. The Cherbourg Normandy Technocity attained undeniable success when it was accepted as a member of the France Technopôles Entreprises Innovation network in December 2003. This was a first, important step for the highly promising project. The small facility (est. 2001) has set very high goals. It will work to perpetuate and adjust undergraduate and adult education, give impetus to research and technology transfer, unite academic and scientific skills and expertise, and bring them into line with industrialists' true needs. The activities of the facility hinge around two centers: the Environment Control Center and the Maritime Center. The Inescapable Theme of Environment Control At the outset of the project to create a Cherbourg Technocity, it was clear that environment control was an inescapable theme. This field defines and rolls out the resources and procedures required to meet the security and safety requirements of industrial and sanitary facilities. However, environmental control is an abstract issue for the public even though consumers are becoming increasingly interested in industries such as agribusiness, pharmaceuticals, electronics or nuclear power. Actually, environment control emerged in the nuclear industry in the seventies, mainly at the facilities in Cherbourg and the surrounding area, such as the Cogema La Hague fuel reprocessing plant, the nuclear electric power station at Flamanville, and the Cherbourg Direction des Constructions Navales (DCN, naval shipbuilders) in charge of building nuclear submarines. This warrants Cotentin's expertise in environment control, a priority issue in the French/State contract (2000-2006). The Environment Control Center is extremely well equipped to fulfill its mission. It boasts highly efficient tools, specifically in the area of training with the Ecole d'Ingénieurs de Cherbourg (EIC, Cherbourg engineering school) offering different curricula and the Institut National des Sciences et Techniques Nucléaires (INSTN, the national institute of nuclear science and technologies) connected to the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). This unique training center that teaches the skills and expertise required for controlled environment professions completes the palette of graduate and adult educational tools. RESOTEC (RESeau Technologique du Cotentin, the Contentin technological network) fosters synergy between the business and academic worlds. Actually, some environment control development projects cannot be handled by a company's R & D department or by an external laboratory, explaining why the network is so important. The CREMA (Comité Régional d'Etudes sur la Maîtrise d'Ambiance, the regional committee for environment control studies) whose approach is similar to RESOTEC's is also working to foster collaboration between businesses and research laboratories. The EMA (Ensembliers Maîtrise d'Ambiance, environmental control turnkey contractors) brings together nine small regional businesses whose skills and expertise cover every manufacturing stage and process of clean rooms, ranging from design to construction. The Recently Installed Maritime Center Cherbourg boasts an outstanding geographic location along the worlds busiest sea-lanes. The City's history forged its maritime scope through the diversification and development of its port and shipbuilding activities. All these factors warrant the setup of a Maritime Center at the Cherbourg Normandy Technocity. Acclaimed skills and expertise in maritime technologies can be found in Cherbourg and its region where several big companies such as DCN and Constructions Mécaniques de Normandie have set up their facilities. Several renowned laboratories such as LERMA (Laboratoire dEtudes et de Recherches Marines, the marine research and study laboratory) at Intechmer, IRSN (Institut de Radioprotection et de Sûreté Nucléaire, the nuclear safety and radiation protection institute) and CORRODYS, Europes unique research facility in marine and biological corrosion also work out of the area. The Cité de la Mer set up in the former maritime terminal develops research on protected marine species in addition to its main activity of disseminating marine scientific culture . "Although they have very different histories, the several Technocities with a Maritime Center are in cities with a major public research center, a big business originator, and a large industry. Cherbourg is the only exception since the city has no major research organization. Therefore, the situation is different," reported Pierre Watremez, the executive in charge of the Maritime Center at the Cherbourg based Technocity. This is undoubtedly why this is a tougher project. However, the Ecole des Mines graduate and physics major is happy to meet the challenge. During a large share of his professional career, he conducted research in oceanography and engineering. Because of his original career path, Pierre Watremez has a certain grasp of time constants, project goals and management - solid assets for developing the Maritime Center. Resource Center on the Agenda The issue of defining the fields that the Center will explore has already been addressed. "We have identified three areas: energies of the sea, ship deconstruction and maritime safety," summed up Pierre Watremez. He explained that there was another field devoted to biotechnologies and the enhancement of sea products. "This is a well-developed field where partnerships are already established and cooperative operations work. So, it is harder to see the role of the Technocity in this particular area." Since its inception in mid-2002, the Maritime Center has launched several actions, specifically an assessment of the maritime centers of other French technocities and the identification of the stakeholders and their expertise, in Cherbourg and the region. At the same time, a scientific, technological and economic watch has to be organized around several thematic files. "There are about fifty. Now, all this information has to be carefully managed and a resource center has to be developed," concluded Pierre Watremez. The adventure has just started for a man well familiarized with missions to remote locations or to the ocean depths that require endurance, a quality Pierre Watremez has to spare. Technopôle Cherbourg Normandie - The Cherbourg Normandy Technocity :,Phone: + 33(0) - Fax:+ 33(0) ,Pierre Watremez, Maritime Center Director ,email : Source : ScienceTech Basse-Normandie Newsletter #33,