2nd centre for scientific and technical research in France
7th European region for research and innovation
14 Research Clusters
600 public-sector laboratories
More than 600 public-sector laboratories, 19,000 researchers, 12% of French scientific publications, 16% of French patents... Just some of the figures which show why Rhône-Alpes is France's second most important centre for scientific and technical research. To build on the advantage given by this exceptional network, in 2005 the Region launched an ambitious plan, the Regional Plan for Higher Education and Research (SRESR).
A truly fundamental document, this Regional Plan was developed in partnership with research and higher education establishments, and also with the people of the region. It defines the objectives and the projects shared by the educational establishments and research institutions, on the one hand, and the Region on the other.
Thus, the Regional Council has created 14 Research Clusters to stimulate the scientific communities and draw laboratories and enterprises together around the priority disciplines for the development of the Rhône-Alpes region.
To encourage creative and innovative scientific activity the Region also supports projects known as "projets blancs", whose subjects are oriented towards the future and provide scope for particularly innovative future developments.
The Rhône-Alpes Region is committed to strengthening the coordination between the international cooperation and solidarity initiatives in which its educational establishments and research institutions participate, in order to increase its influence at an international level.
The Regional Council also aims to provide financial aid for major scientific facilities, with a view to encouraging significant investment in Rhône-Alpes by the French government and the European Community. Examples of such facilities include Minatec at Grenoble (micro and nanotechnology), Crolles (microelectronics research), and the planned Campus Charles Mérieux at Lyon (biosciences).
One of the Region's most original steps was to create clusters, each of which mobilises all the players in research - universities, research institutions and businesses. In all, there are 14 research clusters, drawing together projects from the region's universities, élite grandes écoles, and laboratories as part of huge programmes, in traditional and emerging sectors.