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Industrial research: the DGRI issues a report on government measures

Laurent Cousin

The Research and Innovation Office of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research has published its report entitled ‘Research and Development, Innovation and Partnerships 2007,” the second since it was founded in 2006.

The "Research and Development, Innovation and Partnerships" report takes stock of the measures set up by the ministry and its partners to support industrial research efforts and encourage partnerships between public research and industry as well as founders of innovative companies.

Research tax credits
The research tax credit (CIR) is the most significant scheme for state support for corporate R&D efforts. It has the merit of being particularly accessible to SMEs and having a considerable ratchet effect: 1 euro of tax expenditure produces 3.3 euros of additional company R&D expenditure. Further to the 2008 research tax credit reform, the overall tax expenditure should double from 1.4 billion euros for 2006 to approximately 3 billion euros for 2008.

Company creation
To promote company creation, each year the ministry organizes a national competition for support for the creation of innovative technology companies. It also supports 29 incubators of innovative companies connected with public research and eleven national and regional startup funds that provide capital to young innovative companies. According to the report, these measures, initiated in 1999, have led to the creation of “1,555 companies and over 12,000 direct jobs, usually highly skilled.” The ministry moreover has decided to create a watchdog to monitor company creation with R&D potential.

The report also looks into state support for technology transfers, intellectual property and private-public research partnerships.

The momentum of the Carnot scheme, which aims to encourage public research programs in partnership with industry, has continued to grow with the attribution of 13 new certifications in 2007 and an increase in funding, from 40 to about 60 million €.
1,185 new CIFRE industrial agreements, which allow a young researcher to do his or her doctorate while working in a company and in liaison with an external research team, were also signed in 2007.

The ANR finances public-private research partnerships for a total amount of 245 to 280 million euros per year, a third of which goes to companies.

Not to forget the 193 million euros granted by the agency to the 283 R&D projects in competitive clusters in 2007.

Lastly, the procedure for certifying structures for disseminating technology to SMEs makes the wealth of schemes set up by the regions since the 1980s more comprehensible.