For many years now, companies large and small have installed technologies such as software, robots and automated processes. Productivity and quality have noticeably improved, costs have fallen and tiresome tasks have practically disappeared. However, all these solutions are not integrated enough: they need to be more intelligent. In other words, the huge amount of data they generate is not used efficiently. A large part is totally ignored by the production system, however computerised it may be. The time has come to exploit this potential and use every bit of information to improve performance when faced with the unpredictability of global markets. Not to mention implementing internet-based communication methods to increase the response times of companies. It is clear that the stakes involved in the ‘industry of the future’ project, as well as the challenges, are massive.
All the more so as these production plants will not see the light of day without innovation, continuous R&D efforts or ongoing and fruitful collaboration between research laboratories and businesses.
A good number of developed countries have understood this urgency and encouraged large enterprise groups to work more closely with public research hubs within research and enterprise consortia or institutes such as the reputed German Fraunhofer institutes. Unfortunately, the weaving of new technologies into the SME fabric is hindered somewhat. In fact, in contrast to large enterprise groups, SMEs, which are often small subcontractors, feel the effects of globalisation without actually playing a role in it. They are also held back by the cost of in-house innovation, which is never a foregone success. Finally, the relationship between public research and SMEs is inhibited by mutual prejudices that make working together a complicated matter.
Being aware of this situation, over the last few years France has multiplied the number of structural resources to address these difficulties and facilitate the transfer. Universities and research centres have opted to create and develop numerous spin-offs across all innovation sectors.
Drawing on a privileged relationship with European SMEs, Micronora wanted to dedicate its ZOOM 2016 to technology transfer, to emphasise and encourage closer bonds between research and industry. Technology transfer is an unlimited source of innovation and therefore plays a crucial strategic role for companies in winning new market sectors and improving their competitiveness.
Public research project banks ready for industrial partnershipsMore than just taking stock of the current situation, MICRONORA aspires to establish firm and direct relationships between researchers and SMEs. It has created a partnership with the Carnot Institutes Network to offer research-driven projects ready for industrial partners.