There’s no shortage of innovation in France! In its October 2013 ranking of the world’s most innovative countries, the Thomson-Reuters Agency placed France in third position.


France is in third place after the United States and Japan. There are 12 groups leading innovation in France :  nine companies (Alcatel-Lucent, Arkema, EADS, L’Oréal, Michelin, Saint-Gobain, Thales, Safran and Valeo) and three public organizations (French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and IFP New Energies). This makes France Europe’s most innovative country, far ahead of the others.


Other than these multinationals, the French industrial landscape is also made up of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which benefit from the national innovation policy.


The national innovation policy is helped by the Research Tax Credit (CIR), a tool in reducing taxes for companies conducting R&D activities.

French companies and organizations spent €38 billion in research in 2012 and filed over 12,000 patents, according to the European Patent Office.


One of the big challenges today is to make a successful energy transition through innovation.  In the energy sector, the French government also encourages innovation. In September 2013, the government launched 34 “industrial renewal” plans, several of which are intended to develop intelligent mobility. According to McKinsey, these projects together offer a potential 480,000 jobs in the 10 years ahead and over €45 billion in added value. This can then be used to further boost France’s innovation capacity.