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25 Jul 2012

GIANT hosts the first High-Level Forum on Leading Innovation Ecosystems

In July 2012, leading players from some of the world’s major innovation ecosystems came to GIANT to share their visions and best practices. The initiative was spearheaded by CEA Director of Technological Research Jean Therme and all GIANT members. “This forum marks a pivotal step towards the creation of a global innovation community comprised of leading technology campuses,” said Marcel Morabito, a strategy advisor at CEA and one of the event’s organizers. “We already have plans to hold the 2013 forum at Caltech in California.”

Geneviève Fioraso, the French Minister of Research and Higher Education, kicked off the event, which focused on four key challenges facing innovation ecosystems: governance; success drivers; business development opportunities; and financing.

Influential decision-makers from research, higher education, and government attended the event—coming from cities such as Chicago (Argonne National Laboratory), Harwell and Daresbury, Karlsruhe, Dresden, Warsaw, Lausanne, Montreal, Pasadena, Rio de Janeiro, Singapore, Hsinchu, Haifa (Technion-Israel Institute of Technology), and Tsukuba—to discuss their visions, strategies, key initiatives, similarities and differences.

The forum revealed that all innovation campuses, regardless of their size, location, or background, must make important choices in the following four areas:

  • Technological applications – Will the campus focus on a single industry or on developing applications that cut across many industries? This is usually determined by the industries and research labs active in the area when the campus was set up. 
  • Business partnerships – Will the campus provide R&D for large corporations or incubate start-ups? 
  • University partnerships – What kinds of schools are in the area—large public universities, technology institutes, major engineering and business schools, etc.?
  • Promotion – How does the campus plan to position and market itself to attract the best companies and researchers?
    Innovation campuses must also strike a fine balance between stimulating their local businesses and economies and boosting their visibility and appeal on the global stage.


Caltech has offered to host the next High-Level Forum in 2013.


GIANT (Grenoble Innovation for Advanced New Technologies) is a 250-hectare innovation campus established in Grenoble, France, to bring together basic and applied research, higher education, businesses, and technology transfer programs. The campus aims to spur the development and transfer of the breakthrough technologies that will drive tomorrow’s economy, with a special focus on ICTs, energy, and healthcare.

GIANT intends to achieve this goal by fostering joint R&D projects, encouraging creativity and partnerships among its members, and taking advantage of the exceptional socio-professional environment and other productivity-enhancing benefits that Grenoble has to offer. The campus currently boasts eight top-tier members:
Two research centers

  • French Atomic and Alternative Energy Commission (CEA) 
  • French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Three large scientific instruments

  • European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL)
  • European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) 
  • Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL)

Three institutes of higher education


  • Grenoble Ecole de Management (GEM)
  • Grenoble Institute of Technology (Grenoble INP) 
  • Joseph Fourier University (UJF)

GIANT is also comprised of around 30 partner organizations, including businesses, competitive clusters, local government agencies, and other publically-funded institutions.