In 2013 the Public enterprise of the city of Moscow “Zelenograd Development Corporation” and the Administration of the city of Grenoble signed an “Agreement on Cooperation between the Zelenograd cluster “Technounity” and the Grenoble cluster “Minalogic”.
Grenoble is situated in the center of the region Rhone-Alpes in the southeast France. The economy of the region is the second most dynamic economy in France after Paris, and Rhone-Alpes holds the fourth place on the number of involved in R&D; up to 60 thousand students graduate its Universities every year. The population of the region is over 6 million people.
Grenoble acquired its innovative potential after the Second World War. It was the Nobel Prizewinner in Physics, Mr. Loiuse Neel, who played an important role in it. He was the first head of the regional laboratory of the National center of Scientific Research (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CNRS), and after that worked for the Grenoble Institute of Technology (Institut national polytechnique de Grenoble, INPG) which then transferred into the National Institute. In 1956 at the initiative of Mr. Loiuse Neel there was established the Center for Nuclear Studies (Centre d’études nucléaires de Grenoble, CENG) which was later in 2006 renamed into the Commission for Atomic Energy of Grenoble (CEA Grenoble). It is followed by appearance of several major international research institutes in Grenoble such as the Institute Laue-Langevin (ILL), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF), etc. All this gave a significant advantage to the region Rhone-Alpes in front of its European competitors.
It is microelectronics where Grenoble achieved tremendous success. This breakthrough is connected with establishment of the Laboratory of Electronics and Informational Technologies by the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA Leti) which today has nearly 1700 employees. CEA Leti has developed closed links with the industrial sector and supported spinoff from the very beginning. In 1972 appeared the first start-up - EFCIS (Etude et Fabrication de Circuits Intégrés Spéciaux) – and STMicroelectronics stood at its origins. The Laboratory afterwards contributed to incorporation of about 30 start-ups and creation of more than 2500 job positions. These start-ups later grew into such leaders as Soitec, Sofradir/Ulis and Tronics. At the origins of the realm (in the region) were the policy of technology transfer (towards business direction) and commercialization (through spinoffs). On the day of today there are 13 thousand people involved in microelectronics and it implicitly provides for up to 30 thousand positions.
The beginning of a new stage of growth was marked with establishment of the Innovation Center of Micro- and Nano Technologies in 2006 at the initiative of CEA and INPG. Similar to the strategic partnership of Crolles 2 (Alliance Crolles 2), the Center turns out to be the biggest ever investment for France and unites such companies as ST, Philips and Freescale. There has recently been created an alliance between STMicroelectronics and IBM (Alliance-Nano) which focuses on production of reduced energy consumption chips for portable computing devices based on the technology of 32 and 22 nanometers. All these partnerships open new ways of cooperation and provide for convergence of efforts of municipal and federal authorities.
In 2004 the French government made a decision to conduct a new industrial policy intended to unite enterprises, educational institutions and research laboratories working in a common field and on a common territory ensuring in such a manner the synergy effect of their activities. When sorting out there were chosen 71 so-called “poles of competitiveness” (clusters). There was 1.5 bn EUR released for execution of the first stage (2005-2008). Following its success, the budget for the second stage was brought up to date (2008-2012). In 2012 the national policy for clusters was again estimated with each cluster – again evaluated.
Innovations in microelectronics (the scientific base of the Universities, research centers and laboratories, and semiconductor companies) determined the creation of Minalogic in Grenoble in 2005 which is still among the leading and most progressive clusters in the world.
The Board of Directors provides management of Minalogic approves its development strategy and is subject to election by the General Meeting of Shareholders. The Management Board has a coordination unit and technological groups under its control and certifies projects together with an extended committee that includes experts in respective fields.
The microelectronics cluster Minalogic includes 225 organizations and appears to be the largest and up-to-date microelectronics cluster in Europe. It was founded 7 years ago (in 2005) on the basis of the three anchor industrial companies (ST, Soitec, Schneider), the state research center (CEA Leti) and the University (named after Fourier).
The cluster specializes in microelectronics. This sphere attracts 90% of investment.
Microelectronics production is a must-have condition of a technological independence of the country. Top public officials have this sector in their constant focus.
Projects of the cluster are backed with extensive resources of the federal programs, state-run corporations and private holdings. The best technologies, industries and staff are concentrated in the city.
With the cooperation between the two clusters (“Technounity” and “Minalogic”) the Moscow companies today have an access to an outstanding expertise and network of connections with the leading European technological organizations.