Institut Français de Singapour and IPAL (Image and Pervasive Access Lab) – a French-Singapore research lab working on medical imaging – co-organized a Café des Sciences on 27 January 2014 with a focus on innovation.

This event was the perfect opportunity to better understand the French education and research systems, described in presentations by key players from illustrious institutions in France: CNRS, University Pierre and Marie Curie, Institut Mines-Telecom and University Joseph Fourier. Participants from A*STAR and NUS of Singapore and Thales Solutions Asia also took part in an interactive discussion session. Questions were filtered via an application created by the start-up PigeonLab which is incubated in NUS.

Many pertinent questions were debated at this session, such as the difference in research conducted in universities and preparatory schools in France, the necessity of physical proximity for international collaborations, the ways to industrialise innovation through technology transfers and how to source funding for innovation during periods of economic crisis. The panel experts were also asked to explain their view on the state of innovation in the next 15 years to come.

The event ended with coffee and croissants sponsored by the French bakery PAUL.

This inaugural Café des Sciences was an excellent initiative that attracted around 100 attendees from France and Singapore, underlying the high level of interest shown for French innovation. Many franco-singaporean collaborations exist, such as IPAL, CINTRA, the Centre for Quantum Technologies, the MecanoBiology Institute, and the Singapore Immunology Network..

His Excellency Mr. Benjamin Dubertret, the French Ambassador to Singapore, illustrated this point in his welcome address, saying that France has a long history in scientific innovation.
France is ranked 4th and 2nd in terms of the number of Nobel Prize Laureates and Fields Medal recipients respectively. France is considered the 3rd most innovative country after the USA and Japan according to the Thomson Reuters Classification. In addition, 12 of France’s biggest enterprises (e.g. L’Oréal, Thales, EADS, Arkéma) are listed among the 100 most innovative companies in the world. The most recent innovation was the implantation of the first artificial heart that can self-regulate made by the French company Carmat.

IFS would like to warmly thank all the guest speakers who attended the event :
His Excellency Mr Benjamin Dubertret, Ambassador of France to Singapore,
Prof Lim Hock, Director Research Governance and Enablement, NUS,
Mr Philip Lim, CEO of Exploit Technologies Pte Ltd, A*STAR,
Ms Irene Cheong, Director of the Industry Liaison Office, NUS,
Prof Patrick Levy, President of the University Joseph Fourier,
Prof Paul Indelicato, Vice-President Research and Innovation of the University Pierre and Marie Curie,
Prof Francis Jutand, Scientific Director of the Institut Mines-Télécom,
Prof Michel Bidoit, Director of INS2I, CNRS,
Dr Erick Lansard, CTO of Thales Solutions Asia, Thales Group,
Ms Valérie Rafat, Head of Campus France Singapore.