I had an interesting meeting with the CNRS corporate relationship group on Friday.
The CNRS (French Centre national de la recherche scientifique) is a large public research institute covering all fields of science. With a staff of 26 000 (including 11 600 researchers and 14 400 admin/engineer/staff) and a 2004 budget of 2.2 B€ , and 1260 research units, it’s one of the largest R&D network in Europe. My goal was to understand who was doing what there, and how we VC could interact with it...
The IT group (Sciences et Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication) was created in 2002, and is a group of 136 research labs focusing on software, hardware, signal processing, automata, optics, micro and nano technologies and human interfaces.
Its strategy is architected around the following 5 directions
- Networking and IT
- Nanotechnology and Microsystems
- Architecture of complex information system
- Data management and interface
- Virtual reality, robotics and collaboration
It’s large and interesting IP portfolio is available though FIST France Innovation Scientifique et Transfert, a French technology transfer company specialized in the commercialization of patented technologies, which is an affiliate of CNRS and ANVAR. FIST’s team has expertise in intellectual property management, market analysis and negotiating licenses in all major high tech scientific fields
FIST provides its services on a case by case basis:
- Evaluation of innovative project
- Management of intellectual property strategy
- IP licensing and partner search
It’s important that the innovation community (VC, start-ups, entrepreneur, large industrial partners etc...)t and leverage on the CNRS resources. While it can be hard to understand what’s going on inside the CNRS (a large amount of information on the public web site is on the internal intranet which cannot be access without a password....) it's one of the largest expert network in Europe, and should be used.