The Saclay Plateau cluster, dedicated to academic and scientific excellence with un unparalleled concentration of higher education establishments and R&D centres …
Immediately after World War II, the French national centre for scientific research (Centre National de Recherche Scientifique, or CNRS) settled in Gif-sur-Yvette. Founded at the same period, the French Atomic Energy Commission (Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique, or CEA) settled there in 1947.
In the 1950s, this embryo cluster benefited from a hitherto unknown academic attractiveness: the Faculty of Science (Faculté des Sciences de Paris) settled there in 1956, followed by the prominent business school HEC (1964), the Ecole Supérieure d’Optique (1965), the Ecole Supérieure d’Electricité (1975) and the prestigious higher education establishment Ecole Polytechnique (1976).
Today, the site is home to 15 R&D units and 1,500 employees and continues to welcome, at a steady pace, academic organisations eager to participate in the Saclay Plateau dynamism. ENSTA ParisTech arrived in 2012, the Institute for Molecular Science (Institut des Sciences Moléculaires) will open in Orsay in 2014, followed by ENSAE ParisTech and ESTACA (2015), Ecole Centrale (2016), AgroParisTech, Telecom ParisTech, the Institute of Neurosciences (Institut des neurosciences) and Mines-Telecom (2017), as well as the reputed ENS Cachan (2018). More than a half century after it began, Saclay Plateau still has a decade of projects ahead.
As part of this momentum, the future Paris-Saclay University will pull all its sites under one banner starting in 2014, granting the cluster a true academic and student identity, enhancing its global recognition and favouring a high quality of life for students.
In addition, the newly-created Institute of photovoltaic of the Greater Paris Region (Institut photovoltaïque) will move its offices there in 2016. A public-private partnership associating CNRS-Ecole Polytechnique with companies such as Total, EDF and Air Liquide, the institute will employ 200 corporate researchers with the ambition to propel France to a global leadership position in solar energy.
… combined with strong private initiatives that left their mark
The Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines hub is characterised by the legacy footprint of several French multinational companies such as PSA Peugeot-Citroën and Renault. Thalès settled there in 1968, then increased its presence in 2006 by adding R&D labs.
Following discussions on how to leverage the cluster’s assets further, and the visit of Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault and EDF CEO Henri Proglio in October 2013, Sofradir (an infrared manufacturer owned by Thalès and Sagem) announced they will move their headquarters and production units to Palaiseau.
A “national interest operation”, the area calls for a better transportation network
By 2023, Massy will be connected to the CEA thanks to Grand Paris Express Line 18. The line will then be extend eastwards to Orly (to be launched in 2027) and westwards to Versailles (to be launched in 2030), allowing at the same time a number of interconnections with RER lines B and C.
- Today, 11 laboratories of excellence all contribute to enriching academic curriculums and to enhancing the Plateau’s international influence;
- Ultimately, 20% of French R&D will be based on the Saclay Plateau;
- 10,500 researchers and 50,000 students will create a vibrant population for the future Université de Paris-Saclay;
- Confident in the project’s success, the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has already ranked the Saclay Plateau among the top 8 competitiveness clusters globally (August 2013).
CDT related to this cluster :
Versailles Grand Parc – St Quentin – Vélizy CDT