Minatec, the Center for Innovation in Micro and Nanotechnology located in Grenoble, France, became a reality at the beginning of 2002 with the signing of an outline agreement between the project's partners: the French government, local authorities, the French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), the Polytechnic Institute of Grenoble (INPG), and the French Consignments and Loans Fund (Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations). The Minatec Innovation Center aims to become Europe's leading center for micro and nanotechnology.
Thanks to its large science and microelectronics industries, Grenoble and its surrounding region can rely on a professional micro and nanotechnology community already in place with a multidisciplinary approach and international cooperation. Sustaining around 7,000 jobs in the Grenoble area and 1,000 on other sites in the Rhone-Alps region, this community is distributed over numerous industries, research laboratories, and universities, including CEA-Léti, INPG, CNRS, Université Joseph Fourier, INRIA, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.
Micro and nanotechnology are at the heart of this activity, which is aided by a complete range of software technologies--the region's other center of excellence. With this local support, Minatec's main objective is to reinforce this synergy by uniting research, industrial development, and education at the same location.
Minatec will be made up of a research component comprising labs at the CEA (Léti), INPG, CNRS, UJF, and other partners. It will also be connected to the clean rooms at CEA Léti and two new buildings. These will be devoted to advanced components (microelectronics, microsystems, biochips, and design of circuits and systems) and communications devices (intelligent labels, smart cards, mobile telephones, networked cars, and clothes).
The industrial development component located in a new high-technology building will host industrial startup companies in their growth phase. It will also assist pilot programs for medium-sized companies or the R&D labs of large industrial companies.
The educational component will bring together initial training with the transfer onto the site of two colleges of electronics (ENSERG) and physics (ENSPG) of INPG and CIME (Intercollegiate Microelectronics Center). Continuing education will take place at the Center for Continuing Education in Microelectronics and Microsystems.
To speed up and optimize the innovation process, Minatec will have a "House of Micro and Nanotechnologies," which will provide an organization and support function to all parties. This will be done by bringing together within the same building all the necessary resources for the three components: technical-economic awareness with the Monitoring Center for Micro and Nanotechnology, support for startups with incubators, offices of the national and European networks for micro and nanotechnology, and communications support for all parties in the center.
Minatec will be located at the Polygone Scientifique de Grenoble, at CEA-Léti, the core of the operation. Buildings constructed over an area of 20 acres will eventually house more than 1,000 student engineers, 500 trainees, 400 teachers, and more than 2,000 researchers, engineers, and technicians from research organizations (CEA, CNRS, universities) and industry.
The Minatec Innovation Center represents an investment of around $152 million, divided between the local authorities, the CEA, the government, and the private sector. It should be completed in 2005.