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The Aisne: a département... / Competitiveness  


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Choosing competitiveness

What exactly is a competitive cluster?


  The role of a competitive cluster is to stimulate innovation in French industry and increase the competitiveness of businesses.


By bringing together a combination of companies, training centres and  research units within a given geographical area, in order to form a  partnership that is designed to create synergies around common projects  of an innovative nature, with the critical mass needed to provide an  international presence.

Why? (From the companies' perspective)

  • Share the use of major equipment and technical platforms
  • Define industrial research projects that, with the benefit of the  "competitive cluster" label, could be put forward for subsidies from  government ministries and local authorities in partnership with the  cluster
  • Establish training and support schemes to guarantee the replacement of employees who retire.

Why? (From a regional perspective)

  • Strengthen the nation's industrial competitiveness
  • Stimulate economic development
  • Create or maintain industrial employment
  • Project an image of a France that is technologically and industrially advanced
  • Provide a regional grounding for industrial activity: create  synergies with the local potential for research and development, thus  attracting investments and expertise on European and international  levels.

What are the financial advantages?

Tax exemptions and reduced social charges for R&D employees  assigned to officially approved projects (25% for big businesses and 50%  for SMEs)

Financial support (1.5 billion euros over 3 years):


  • Via the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR) [French National Research Agency] for projects situated upstream of an applied research activity
  • Via the Agence de l'Innovation Industrielle (AII) [French Industrial Innovation Agency] for very large projects (> 50 million euros)
  • Via the Fonds de Compétitivité des Entreprises (FCE) [French Corporate Competitiveness Fund] of the Ministry of Industry (> 1 million euros)
  • Via OSEO (French innovation and finance agency for SMEs) for projects < 3 million euros