Brussels, 21 Mar 2003
A new research and development (R&D) facility for nanoelectronics has opened in Grenoble.
The Crolles 2 project, opened by French President Jacques Chirac, currently employs some 450 engineers and aims to develop nano processes ranging from 90 to 32 nanometers on a 300 millimeter manufacturing line.
With a budget of over 3 billion euro, the pilot unit hopes to employ 1.500 people directly and create a further 4,500 jobs in the region. It is said to be France's largest industrial investment project.
In his inauguration speech Mr Chirac welcomed the project, saying that it was a model of its kind in terms of the technology deployed. 'Nanotechnologies hold out great promise. They will have numerous applications in a wide range of fields, from consumer electronics to the environment, industry, and health.'
'Grenoble's centre of excellence, in the field of nanotechnologies, has a worldwide reputation thanks to a combination of top flight public and private sector research laboratories, a highly-skilled working population, and incentives to locate here. The Crolles 2 pilot unit will henceforth be a pillar of this community,' he added.
Mr Chirac also reflected upon the spirit of innovation and cooperation displayed by the joint partnership between STMicroelectronics, Motorola and Philips as well as the support network at regional and national levels. 'The dialogue you have nurtured in Grenoble has broken down barriers for the benefit of all. It should serve as an inspiration for other initiatives.'
On a broader note, Mr Chirac said that it was important for France to further promote and develop its business, science and technology sectors. 'Initiatives, however small or large, must be encouraged.'
Similarly, Mr Chirac called for increased efforts to strengthen France's position in the knowledge society, stating that 'research and innovation will rank among the key drivers for future growth.'
To fulfil these objectives, the French government has already adopted a number of measures, including a national mobilisation plan for innovation and an overhaul of its research policy.
Finally, Mr Chirac underlined the importance of establishing cooperative measures, notably through the Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) and the pan European network Eureka. 'France will be taking over the chair of the Eureka initiative in June 2003 and it intends to improve dialogue with the framework programme.'