Franck Betermin

Multi-polar public research

With more than 6,900 researchers in the public sector, Brittany has 4% of the national total and comes in 5th place. The strong growth recorded in the past 5 years (+13%) should be noted. Unlike other regions where the potential for public research is geographically concentrated, it is characterised by its multi-polarity. There are four core areas in the region: Rennes, Brest - Quimper - Roscoff, Lorient - Vannes, and Saint-Brieuc - Lannion. These sites are home to almost every major national organisation (the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, or French National Centre for Scientific Research), the INRA (Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, or French National Institute for Agricultural Research), the INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et en Automatique, or French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control), the INSERM (Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, or French National Institute of Health and Medical Research), the IFREMER (Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer, or French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea), the AFSSA (Agence Française de Sécurité Sanitaire des Aliments, or French Food Safety Agency), the IRSTEA (Institut National de Recherche en Sciences et Technologies pour l'Environnement et l'Agriculture, or French National Research Institute of Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture, former Cemagref), the MNHM (Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, or National Museum of Natural History), the BRGM (Bureau de Recherches Géologiques et Minières, or French Office of Geological and Mining Research) etc), as well as four universities, several IUTs (Institut Universitaire de Technologie, or University Institutes of Technology) and more than twenty grandes écoles (prestigious university-level colleges with competitive entrance examinations).

Education in Brittany

The dynamism of private research

Brittany can also rely on private research, which is carried out by more than 4,160 researchers and engineers in the companies and within the regional scheme for innovation and technology transfer. In the past five years, the number of FTE researchers in companies in Brittany has increased by more than 24%. More than 700 million euros are invested each year in research and development.

The French ministry for research and new technologiesThe Observatoire des Sciences et Techniques (OST, Observatory of Science and Technology)

Four leading sectors

The emphasis is on four internationally renowned areas:

Information and communication sciences

This area of excellence has developed a dense network of relationships between national and international research centres (Thomson, France Telecom R&D, etc), the 4 universities, the INRIA, the CNRS, the grandes écoles (Télécom Bretagne, Supelec, the INSA (Institut National des Sciences Appliquées, or National Institute of Applied Sciences) and large groups (Alcatel, France Telecom, etc) who have decided to get closer to the Brittany’s pool of telecommunications research. In 2008, ten public research establishments came together to create "SISCom-Bretagne", a Groupement d'Intérêt Scientifique (GIS, or Scientific Interest Group) dedicated to information and communication sciences for telecommunications and their applications. The aim is to increase the attractiveness of the network of stakeholders in order to welcome renowned foreign scientists, and improve the synergy between the various members, notably by pooling existing and planned scientific platforms. This group thus intends to support innovation and competitiveness in the telecommunications sector.

Marine science and technology

Brittany is home to many institutes, universities and specialist engineering schools, which carry out research in the field of marine science and technology. They are mainly located in Brest, Roscoff and the south of Brittany. Fifteen of them (the IFREMER, the Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM, or European University Institute for the Sea, Université de Bretagne Occidentale (University of Western Brittany), CNRS), the Station Biologique de Roscoff (a marine biology research and training centre) (Pierre-and-Marie-Curie University, CNRS), the French institute for cooperative development (IRD (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, or Institute of Research for Development), the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MHNM, or National Museum of Natural History), the Service Hydrographique et Océanographique de la Marine (SHOM, or French Naval Hydrographic and Oceanographic Service), the Institut Polaire Français Paul-Emile-Victor (IPEV, or Paul Emile Victor French Polar Institute), engineering schools (the ENSTA (École Nationale Supérieure de Techniques Avancées de Bretagne, or National Institute of Advanced Technologies of Brittany) the École Navale, Télécom Bretagne, the ENIB (École Nationale d'Ingénieurs de Brest, or Brest National School of Engineering), the ESEN (École Supérieure de l'Éducation Nationale, or National College for Education Management) and Oceanopolis) are united by common objectives within Europole Mer. Their aim: to develop scientific excellence and enhance the international status of research carried out in Brittany. There are also other specialised agencies for marine research in Brittany. These include: the Centre de Documentation, de Recherche et d'Expérimentation sur les Pollutions Accidentelles des Eaux (CEDRE, or Centre of Documentation, Research and Experimentation on Accidental Water Pollution), the Institut National des Sciences de l'Univers et de l'Environnement (INSUE, or National Institute for Cosmological and Environmental Sciences), Météo France, etc.

Agriculture and agrifood

Research around agricultural animal and vegetable products, food safety, genomics and biotechnology involves many teams working in networks. These teams, who come from the INRA, the AFSSA, the IRSTEA, Agrocampus OUEST, the ESMISAB (École Supérieure de Microbiologie et de Sécurité Alimentaire de Brest, a school of microbiology and food safety in Brest) and universities, work in collaboration with companies in the sector and technical centres involved in the development of innovation. AGROCAMPUS OUEST was established on 1st July 2008 through the merger of Agrocampus Rennes and the INH d'Angers (Institut National d'Horticulture d'Angers, or Angers National Institute of Horticulture). This higher institute of agronomy, agrifood industries, horticulture and landscapes is a large establishment with 1,650 students and 135 research lecturers.

Health sciences and technologies

Regional biomedical research relies on a bipolar competence centre (Rennes and Brest), which consists of 70 research units (9 are approved by the INSERM, as well as 3 clinical research centres). Structured around two universities, a cancer research centre and two research and training units (in medicine, pharmacy and dentistry), it focuses on clinical applications and the transfer of technologies to companies in the sector, and even the creation of biotechnology companies in the field of health.
For more information and figures, visit the site of the CCI de Brest (Brest's chamber of commerce and industry) (document from 2008).

Great potential in other sectors

Other sectors also offer real potential and are increasingly interacting with these four areas of excellence:
- Social sciences with the MSHB (Maison des Sciences de l'Homme en Bretagne, a human and social sciences institute in Brittany), which aims to bring together research carried out in Brittany in humanities and social sciences. Its scientific programme is centred on 4 key themes: Societies and Health, ICT (networks, uses, strategies, territories), Armorican and Atlantic Worlds, and Governance.
- The environment: Brittany has a research centre focused on several disciplines regarding the development of natural resources that are subject to anthropogenic impact (in particular water, soil and subsoil, landscapes, biodiversity and agricultural systems). More specifically, its expertise with regard to the continental environment are developed within the Centre Armoricain de Recherche en Environnement (CAREN, or Armorican Centre for Environmental Research)
- The chemistry of living organisms with interfaces with biology, health and physics brings together in particular the teams from the Rennes site and UBO, as part of Ouest Génopole and Cancéropôle Grand Ouest programmes and platforms.
The Réseau National de Recherche en Télécommunications (National Network for Research in Telecommunications)Pôle Armoricain de Recherche sur la Société de l'Information et les Usages d'Internet (Marsouin, an Armorican centre for research on information society and Internet uses)Système d'Informations Scientifiques sur la Mer (a scientific information system on the sea)

Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (Brest)

Brittany’s competitiveness clusters

Following a national call for proposals to stimulate innovation based on the collaboration between companies, research and training, four competitiveness clusters in Brittany have been supporting development projects since 2005:

  • Brittany's globally-focused Images & Réseaux (images & networks) cluster concentrates on new imaging technologies and content distribution networks (fixed and mobile);
  • The Mer cluster (Brest) is one of 15 globally-focused clusters in France. Along with the Mer PACA (Mer Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur) cluster, the two regions account for three quarters of French research with 700 companies in this sector;
  • Valorial is a national competitiveness cluster supported by Brittany for the development and innovation of agrifood businesses.
  • "iDforCAR" (Premium Automotive Cluster) is also a nationally-focused competitiveness cluster.

Images & Réseaux clusterMer clusterValorial clusteriDforCar cluster

Inter-regional networks
Research carried out in Brittany is characterised by broad openness through regional and inter-regional research networks: Biogenouest, an inter-regional research network specialising in marine, agri and health genomics; the Canceropole Grand Ouest: a research network bringing together researchers and clinicians from three north-western regions and the Centre region and focusing on cancer screening and treatment. PSDR GO (Pour et Sur le Développement Régional dans le Grand Ouest, a research programme for and on regional development in northwest France) was initiated by the INRA and the IRSTEA, in partnership with the regions of Lower Normandy, Brittany, Pays de la Loire and Poitou Charentes, to analyse the process of territorial development and more specifically the role and position of agricultural and agrifood activities in the west.
Visit the site of BiogenouestVisit the site of the OncoBretagne networkVisit the site for the research programme "Pour et Sur le Développement Régional dans le Grand Ouest"

In Brittany, an important group of specialised organisations inform and support companies (from the smallest to the largest) in their innovative projects: centres of innovation and the transfer of technologies collaborate with research laboratories and companies on joint projects, technical centres support the establishment of new projects, specialised competence networks help companies to improve their organisation, and technopoles support companies in their area. The complex nature of innovation calls for information and support to be provided to public and private stakeholders to ensure new collective expertise is developed.

Bretagne Innovation, a regional resource centre
This regional agency is responsible for the coordination of stakeholders and the management of the Réseau Breton de l'Innovation (RBI, or Breton Innovation Network). It provides advice and guidance to the relevant representatives.
Bretagne Innovation


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