3 questions for Daniel Leca

Daniel Leca is the vice-president of the regional council of Hauts-de-France, in charge of Higher education, Research, Europe and the State-region contract plan.

3 questions for Daniel Leca

What assessment would you make for the situation as it stands today?

It is true that the crisis has shown how important it is to innovate in order to deal with its economic and social consequences. This is the condition for inventing tomorrow's economic model. Indeed, the crisis has raised a number of questions that we must answer. Innovation is therefore the key. We are fortunate to have "nuggets" of innovation and research in our region, whether in the South of the Oise Department, where the UTC is an example, or in the Lille Metropolitan Area, which hosts numerous R&D laboratories. We must also reinforce the interactions between the private and public sectors in order to create a real emulation that is essential to the development of the Hauts de-France Region. We can rely on the sectors of excellence in which we continue to invest: precision health, circular economy and new materials, AI (artificial intelligence), creative industries, bioeconomy, energy efficiency and cyber security.

What actions are you undertaking currently to maintain economic development for the Hauts-de-France Region?

The Region's vocation is both to protect the region's economic players in this period of crisis, but also to project itself by investing in the sectors of the future, and this calls for innovation. The Hauts-de-France remains an industrial Region and we intend to remain so, but we also want to move towards an economy with high added-value. This is why we have decided to double the budget allocated to the Industry of the Future call for projects. Our aim is obviously to strengthen our Region's position. Consequently, we are relying on a very attractive regional innovation ecosystem that includes seven competitiveness clusters, numerous innovation parks, and also very dynamic public and private research laboratories. In this context, HDFID's role in leading and structuring regional innovation is essential. Furthermore, the Region is the leader in terms of economic development. We have created all the necessary tools to support the Region's businesses. We are the natural gateway for companies that need support or to prepare for the future. A one-stop shop exists at: https://entreprises.hautsdefrance.fr/

As you see it, our future will rely on research and the digital revolution more than ever before - is that correct?

It is clear that the current period and successive lockdown measures demonstrate clearly how essential digital processes are in our lives, both for communities and for businesses. We must therefore continue to invest in digital technologies, and this is what the Region is doing. To do so, we need more research than ever before to support digital, ecological and social transitions. It is in this context that UTC and its research scientists have arole to play to make the Hauts-de-France Region the champion of innovation.