Laboratoires d'Excellence (Labex) and flagship projects in Brittany


Comin Labs

The COMIN Labs (COMmunication and INformation sciences) 'laboratoire d'excellence' was officially inaugurated on Wednesday 8 June 2011 at INRIA (National Computer Science and Automatics Research Institute) on the Beaulieu campus in Rennes. The morning started with an official opening and a round-table discussion led by the journalist, Anne Chevrel. The afternoon was given over to scientific presentations, with a special contribution from John Baras of the University of Maryland.
'The real added value is encouraging us to work with the local industrial and scientific scene', explained Albert Benveniste, Labex's scientific director and INRIA Rennes Bretagne Atlantique's research director.
This Sciences et Technologies de l'Information et de la Communication (STIC) 'laboratoire d'excellence' project gathers together 1,100 researchers, of whom over 500 are permanent, in Brittany and Nantes, and intends to raise the international visibility of this subject area in these two regions.
The scientific dynamic is based on three areas of research: single-disciplinary projects from very high-calibre scientific laboratories, four transdisciplinary research projects (neural coding, STIC and energy efficiency, social networks, and security and privacy in the STICs), and three major challenges (digital environments for the citizen, images and digital media of the future, STIC for personalised medicine). Training is offered in the four areas of internationalisation, interdisciplinarity, networking, and the promotion of entrepreneurship and relations with the economic world.

Consult the COMIN Labs 'laboratoire d'excellence' website


Labex MER 'Excellence in Marine Research: the changing ocean'

The project will strengthen the knowledge and understanding of how the ocean functions, especially as regards energy exchange. It will provide greater in-depth knowledge of carbon transfer from production areas, of geobiological interactions in extreme environments, and of the transfer of matter between the continents and the ocean, from coastal areas to the depths of the ocean. Lastly, work will examine the effect of human societies on the ocean, focussing particularly on coastal areas.

Scientific coordinator: Yves-Marie Paulet
Scientific coordination: Université de Bretagne Occidentale (University of Western Brittany) in partnership with the Institut Universitaire Européen de la Mer (IUEM - European University Institute of the Sea)
Partners: CNRS, Ifremer, IRD, Université de Bretagne Sud (UBS - University of Southern Brittany), University of Rennes 2, University of Nantes, University of Caen, and the École Centrale de Nantes (ECN).

Consult the Labex MER website


Labex Henri Lebesgue: a mathematics research centre in Western France

The Centre de Mathématiques Henri Lebesgue (foundations, interactions, applications, and training) was the winner of the second call for Laboratoires d'Excellence research projects. It is planning to build a centre for mathematics research and training for Brittany and the Pays de la Loire with strong interdisciplinary links.

The grouping together of mathematical skills and expertise in Rennes and Nantes will enable faster progress to be made with major scientific issues in the fields of analysis, probability and statistics. It aims to explore their interactions with issues connected with the complex systems found in socio-economic applications in the fields of health, digital technology, and materials.

This 'laboratoire d'excellence' is going to receive a grant of €7 million.

Project developer: Université européenne de Bretagne
Partners: University of Rennes 1's Institut de Recherche Mathématique (IRMAR, UMR 6625), Laboratoire de Mathématiques Jean Leray (LMJL, UMR 6629), École Normale de Rennes' Department of Mathematics.

Consult the Labex Henri Lebesgue website



On Wednesday 23 February 2011 at the Paris Salon de l'Agriculture international agricultural show, ministers Bruno Le Maire and Valérie Pécresse announced the five winners of the national call for 'Biotechnology Bioresources' projects within the Investissements d'Avenir (Investments with a Future) programme. Among the projects accepted was the one led by the Station Biologique de Roscoff (UPMC-CNRS) on the development of macroalgae. This project is managed by the UEB, supported by the Région Bretagne (Brittany Regional Council), and led by Philippe Potin, the director of CNRS research at Roscoff.
This 10-year project has been awarded €10 million. It rewards the work already carried out by Philippe Potin and his team on algal biology and genomics from the perspective of the development and exploitation of the marine biomass in all its diverse forms.

Natural resources and a strong potential for innovation

Brittany has significant natural resources, but the cultivation of algae there is still low in terms of tonnage, and the 70 or so small and medium-sized enterprises (1,600 jobs) which process this biomass for cosmetic and agricultural purposes or food production still make only very little use of biotechnology tools. Only strong research and innovation potential in the field of marine resources can ensure the future of this industry, the development of which also has to take important environmental issues into consideration.

IDEALG is perfectly consistent with the objectives of the Grenelle de la Mer (Grenelle Maritime Forum) as well as with the priorities of the Brittany Regional Council, which would like to see marine resource development and exploitation-linked activities developing throughout the region.

Marine biotechnology assisting the algae industry

Although the programme run by the Station Biologique contains several basic research components - biology, biochemistry, genomics, physiology, metagenomics, and ecology - it also includes three applied research components - aquaculture, biotechnology and chemistry - which are intended to facilitate mass production and the selection of new varieties.

A social, economic and environmental assessment that respects the marine environment and its biodiversity has been planned before any transfer to private partners.

IDEALG has a total of 18 partners*, among which are the CEVA technical centre in Pleubian and five Brittany-based companies which are involved in the development and exploitation of algae aquaculture - C-Weed Aquaculture in Saint-Malo, Aléor in Lézardrieux, France Haliotis in Plouguerneau, Bezhin Rosko in Roscoff, and Danisco in Landerneau and Copenhagen.

* IDEALG's partner research organisations are the UEB, the Station Biologique de Roscoff (CNRS - UPMC), Ifremer, the Université de Bretagne Occidentale (UBO - University of Western Brittany), Université de Bretagne Sud (UBS - University of Southern Brittany), the universities of Rennes 1, and Nantes, the École Nationale Supérieure de Chimie de Rennes (ENSCR - National Institute of Chemical Engineering), Agrocampus Ouest, and the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA - National Institute of Agronomic Research).

Consult the IDEALG website