I am happy to send you this message as well as to all of the participants in this Eleventh international conference on synchrotron radiation instrumentation, that is being held in Lyon.
In our knowledge societies, research and technology are playing a major role for growth and employment. In our changing world, research plays also a key role for tackling the main great challenges we face.
To maintain a high-level of competitiveness and to attract the best researchers from around the world, research requires more and more often a facilitated access to high quality Research Infrastructures. Global research infrastructures are devoted to address the most pressing global research challenges, those frontiers of knowledge where a global-critical-mass effort to achieve progress is required.
Synchrotrons are cutting edge facilities for a large variety of scientific fields, from biology to material sciences and nanotechnologies. Indeed X-Rays allow to investigate matter at the atomic scale.
These facilities are essential for addressing important societal challenges, such as health, environment, energy, transport facilities or information society.
The potential for increasing international cooperation related to global research infrastructures has been recognised during international high-level meetings on science policy and in different fora, for the last few years.
France has a very constant policy in supporting large scale research facilities for a very long time. Until now, we host two world class complementary Synchrotons (E.S.R.F. in Grenoble and Soleil in Paris area) in our country. I consider it as very important, both for the support of European scientists and for the development of technological companies. We will continue to support these facilities.
"Global research infrastructures" such as Soleil or E.S.R.F. do constitute the basis for the regional development of innovation clusters around these global research infrastructures, with the aim to coordinate research labs, technology transfer and education structures which need to be identified and supported along the life-cycle of the research infrastructure.
I am convinced that scientific cooperation at the European as well at the international level is crucial for this kind of large research facilities. Such cooperation requires sharing a couple of common standards to be able to define interoperability, data exchanges, project partnership frames, access based on merit review, transfer of technology and IP rules, and so forth. It is also crucial to pay attention to funding as well as to dismantling schemes, that must be addressed at the beginning. Evaluation schemes should also be systematically defined, mostly through periodic reviews. Finally we have to encourage socioeconomic impact studies.
At a global level, we are concerned by the necessity of guaranteeing the best global scientific return and the most optimized use of public funds.
I have the strong will to promote the use of these facilities for developing innovation and technology transfer. For increasing the competitiveness of European industry, research facilities and particularly synchrotrons are identified as very important tools, both in the construction, operation and update phases. My ministry and the research organizations are in the process of impulsing a voluntary policy in this way.
E.S.R.F. facility gathers 19 partnering countries. It is the most powerful light-source within Europe. More than 6000 scientists each year use this Facility in various research fields. As all such big facilities it needs permanent upgrading to maintain its leadership ranking. I am aware that it has launched an extending program which is in good progress. It will provide various fields of applications such as nanosciences, structural biology, X-ray imaging, and so forth. It will concern applied Science as well as innovation capacity for European industry.
As you know I consider as a priority to develop Key Enabling Technologies in France and beyond, within Europe. They address nanotechnology, micro- and nanoelectronics including semiconductors, advanced materials, biotechnology and photonics.
One of my priorities is to set-up a National Strategic Plan for research and technology that puts France at the front stage in the context of globalization. My ambition is to encourage a comprehensive process. It should rely on pluridisciplinarity international partnerships and include social sciences and humanities.
Finally I would like to emphasize the major importance for Growth in European countries that the most appropriate framework and architecture for Horizon 2020 be negociated. I have no doubt we will reach a very friendly user and efficient framework Program. Let me tell you that I will make all efforts to advocate for an appropriate budget.
The ERA construction must build upon scientific excellence. In addition to their capacity building ability, the cohesion funds should more and more contribute to fund innovation tools in favor of the deployment of SME's and act as a leverage for an industrial strategy.
In this respect I know that simplification is crucial to incent a wider participation of the scientific community as well as SME's in the collaborative projects. This is key to reinforce our competitiveness within Europe.
I would like to conclude by recalling that improving the economic impact of R&D is a key concern for France, especially in coherence with its new global policy in favor of growth.
Let me wish you a very fruitful conference !