In the framework of A*MIDEX objective of strengthening the socio-economic impact of academic research, the House of Innovation and Technology project aims to structure a cluster on the Aix-Marseille site, around the high-growth area of microelectronics and digital security. The goal is to increase the regional scientific and technological leadership in these fields.
The Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, which has strong competences in wireless communication and digital security, has managed to gather the main global actors in microelectronics. Among these businesses of all sizes, whose activities cover the entire value chain from silicon to digital uses, STMicroelectronics, GEMALTO and INSIDE SECURE are ranked amongst the world’s most advanced companies in networked secured devices and niche markets.


The partners involved in the project and who support its implementation are :
- Academic actors : AMU - CNRS - the Center of Microelectronics in Provence of the Ecole des Mines de Saint-Etienne,
- Industrial actors : STMicroelectronics - GEMALTO - INSIDE SECURE,
- Coordination structures : the "Secured Communicating Solutions" (SCS) Cluster – the Components and Integrated Secure Systems Research Association (ARCSIS) – the French National Radio Frequency Identification Center (CNRFID).
The HIT project also gets full support from regional authorities, in particular the Town council of Rousset and the "Communauté du Pays d’Aix" which have been involved from the outset of the project.

The three axes of the House of Innovation and Technology project are:
- Real estate aspect : offering researchers and industrials an open and shared place in Rousset ; and bringing together ARCSIS, the SCS Cluster, the French National RFID Center and the shared platform "Characterization",
- R&D projects funding : developing public/private collaborative research projects connected to the growing sectors of wireless communication, smart objects and e-services and networks security technologies,
- Encouragement to use shared scientific equipment : facilitating access to the scientific equipment located in the shared platforms of PACA Microelectronics Integrated Centre.

The emergence of R&D projects will be carried out with the help of the SCS Cluster, in order to ensure the participation of companies – large groups, SMEs and VSEs – linked to this economic sector, and will be implemented through thematic workshops which are backed by the three SCS Cluster’s Smart Specialization Areas (SSA): « Contactless », « Networks, M2M & Mobile Services » and « Security & Digital Identities ».

It is up to laboratories and researchers:

  • either to position themselves on matters listed in the three SSAs,
  • or to promote related research topics that might complete them, and to estimate the needed human resources.

These projects will be selected on the basis of a call for proposals by a joint selection committee composed of researchers and socio-economic experts working in the private and in the public sector. The main criteria for the selection will be (i) the technological content including the research and innovation ambition of the project, (ii) the strategic aspects of the project, (iii) the quality of the project’s structuration and coordination, (iiii) its societal impact, and finally (iiiii) the potential of the project in terms of transfer and socio-economic results.

This new instrument dedicated to innovative research in microelectronics and digital security will act as a powerful leverage to mobilize and attract external research funding from the private sector.

A*MIDEX funding for the HIT R&D projects will be 1.8 M€/ year for 2 types of projects :

- Medium or long-term projects
Main target : projects between academic laboratories and large industrial groups or mid-cap companies, to cover the “grey area” between projects financed by the National Research Agency (ANR) and those financed by the Unique Interministerial Fund (FUI)
Average funding: 3 to 5 M€ / project. Funding from A*MIDEX : 1.5 M€/ year

- One-time projects
Main target : projects between academic laboratories and micro to small enterprises, or to overcome some technological barriers
Average funding: 100 to 200 K€ / project. Funding from A*MIDEX : 300 K€ / year

Eligible costs : operating and travel costs, PhD and post-doc recruitment, prototyping costs, access and use of Aix-Marseille shared research facilities.

Useful links:

Pôle SCS: www.pole-scs.org

SSA « Contactless » - Technologies of wireless communications - White paper available here

SSA  « Networks, M2M & Mobile Services » - Technologies of communicating smart objects - White paper available here

SSA  « Security & Digital Identities » - Technologies related to the security of e-services and networks - White paper available here

For more information:

Mr. Ahmed CHARAI, in charge of the HIT project : ahmed.charai@univ-amu.fr
Ms. Sophie REGNIER, administrative contact : Tel 04 91 28 86 74 sophie.habai@univ-amu.fr