In his capacity as Deputy Director of UTC, Prof. Olivier Gapenne is behind a large-scale project known as “Territorialized Thematic Aggregates. There are seven such (ATTs) in the Oise Metropolitan Pole (PMO). Our Interactions journalists interviewed him.
Can you explain for our readers what the expression “Territorialized Thematic Aggregates” (ATT) covers ?
We often use the example of the Silicon Valley in California, created a little more than 60 years ago.What this means is that all projects must be “long-term”. As we see it, we wish to move away from the concept Science for Society — whereby scientific actors become increasing aware of societal and economic problem areas in situ — to that of Science with Society, which implies getting concretely involved in complex collective collaboration. Hence this idea of the ATTs — which was included in the UTC strategic plan in 2017 when Prof Philippe COURTIER was appointed Director of UTC.The underlying dynamics has territorial innovation at its centre, the area here being the PMO which includes the urban areas of Beauvais, Compiègne and Creil, various business enterprises and research establishments — those, for example, at UTC or at the Institut UniLaSalle, par example. Obviously, the ATTs are not at all ‘closed shops’ for the territory in question. The key point is that it generates and fosters innovation in the territory albeit occasionally relying on external resources for the local actors, their competitivity, local wealth creation, employment and territorial attractiveness.
What are the main stakes and issues related to development of aggregates for the PMO?
Let me give just two example to illustrate. The objective is to stimulate innovation and to accompany industrial mutations in this territory. ATTs cannot exist without a positive entrepreneurial context (primary beneficiaries) nor in absence of political will displayed by the territorial authorities. The main objectives of UTC are to train engineers, and to engage in the development of research and development. It is via innovation that this mission can be offered to help to improve the level of competitiveness of all regional actors, which is a costly, complex process and necessarily collective in essence. Hence the decision made by UTC to carry out an aggregate type experiment in our territory, for the benefit of the enterprises and with the enterprises and likewise with the local authorities and various research and innovation sites (R&I)
What are the seven aggregates today?
The ” ” seven ” refers to seven priority themes: ‘naturality’, resilience, future industry (4.0), health, aeronautics, energy and bio-sourced products and water. Each aggregate is developed in a specific and singular manner depending on which actors are involved, on the history of the theme, its technological maturity, the density of industrial actors in the field, on societal urgency, etc. The work produced within each aggregate represents a precious form of ‘raw material’ and is used to beef up tenders to call for projects, which is a direct gain! Our objective is to see each aggregate, with a concrete project ready by end 2019 for deployment in order to prime the “project pumps” of the various aggregates and to densify the networks of actors involved