The three-question interview with: Philippe Broun, Head of Tech Transfer for Innovation and Partnerships, Inria Grenoble

  • What is Inria’s role in the PULSE program?

Inria is an IRT Nanoelec founding partner and has been supporting the entire consortium of partners since the beginning. Inria focuses on conducting top-notch scientific research, developing the technologies coming out of our labs, and making sure the results of our research and technology development work are made available to business and, more broadly, society—in other words, tech transfer. I feel strongly that IRT Nanoelec, with its targeted R&D programs, is a particularly effective resource for the tech transfer part of our mission!

  • How has IRT Nanoelec supported you in your research and development?

Inria is engaged in two IRT Nanoelec PULSE program projects: Perfect (an embedded perception system for smart mobility), and SilverLab (augmented sensors to monitor people’s activity). Both projects have given us an opportunity to experiment with our software and integrate it into innovative architectures. The SilverLab project, for example, involves sensors developed by Schneider Electric, also an IRT Nanoelec founding partner.

Thanks to IRT Nanoelec, we were able to assign substantial human resources to these two projects (a total of five full-time engineers), which gave us the boost we needed to get some really good results in terms of the technology, generate some intellectual property, and start transferring the technology through partnerships with existing manufacturers—there is also a potential startup in the works!

  • What direction would you like to see IRT Nanoelec take in the future?

One of our challenges here at Inria is to build R&D and tech-transfer partnerships with businesses as a result of these projects. IRT Nanoelec could help us do that by making sure that skilled people stay on for the long term, continuing their current partnership-building policy, and starting new projects. And IRT Nanoelec already provides a very promising framework for supporting these goals.