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Industrial Renewal

Redeveloping industrial capacities in France and Europe has been a strategic orientation for the last decades, backed by significant and growing public investment. The funding devoted to higher education, research and innovation has in a large part been given on the premise that this sector is one of the long-term engines behind a successful industrial policy in France. Université Paris-Saclay recognises its role in the social contract between universities and society that financially supports them. Our university understands that some major expected outcomes include maintaining sovereignty, contributing to a strong job market and promoting a beneficial trade balance. Beyond, what is at stake is our collective capacity to design resilience, durable productive systems which are compatible with considerations of environmental and social sustainability.

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As such, the challenge of reindustrialisation is different in nature from the other six challenges which we have described so far. Indeed, the six other challenges contribute directly, each in its sector, to the challenge of reindustrialisation. From material sciences to synthetic biology, from digital transformation to sustainable agrifood, from pharmaceutics to design & production systems, the previous sections have highlighted how the research teams and training programmes at Université Paris-Saclay contribute to the major sectoral challenges of reindustrialisation. We therefore do not focus here on the specific application sectors, but on the way in which Université Paris-Saclay helps to remove practical obstacles and create the conditions for 21st century industry in general, with a focus on material and immaterial design and  production systems.

The capacity to mass-produce technological devices, as well as therapeutic approaches, enables a large diffusion of technological advances. However, it is also clearly inducing adverse effects on health, resource depletion, economic factors, or the environment. A major challenge of this new phase of industrialisation is to ensure that it actively counteracts such adverse effects and develops solutions which integrate the point of view of users at large and prevent lock-in or path-dependency effects. This is where the approach of “individualisation” in engineering brings the promise of technological uses which are better adapted to individual uses and contexts, and where the teams at Université Paris-Saclay are researching the contextualisation of solutions, the development of knowledge on human factors and their integration in cyberphysical systems, with a specific focus on the interactions of material and industrial processes with life.

Studies on the conditions of reindustrialisation 2 point towards two types of barriers which are relevant for universities: the need to innovate, which requires strong research capacities in close interaction with industrial actors, echoing Université Paris-Saclay’s renewed emphasis on innovation & technology transfer; and the need to train future generations and equip them with the relevant skills, in link with Université Paris-Saclay’s extensive capabilities in terms of engineering education.


Researching industrial processes. Industrial and manufacturing engineering is a focus at Université Paris-Saclay, where our research teams and graduates can be essential to the current national effort of reindustrialisation. The study of productive systems enables us to analyse, model, simulate and design them all along their life cycle to optimise resources, ergonomics, and results. A strong emphasis is naturally placed on all developments which enable to accelerate the switch to a new industrial paradigm: sustainable, decarbonated, resilient and circular. This overall approach is being deployed at four different scales: at the level of industrial sectors and value  chains; at the level of production units; at the level of technological and manufacturing processes; at the level of 4.0 enabling technologies.

Multi-scale and multitechnology integration emerged industrially with approaches such as the “beyond complementary metal oxide semiconductor” technologies in microelectronics, exploring the hybridisation of technologies to optimise processes and tackle the challenge of processor miniaturisation. A similar approach is now supporting advances in systems integrating mechanical, optical and electronic components. This same concept of “systems” is being applied to other domains as well, paving the way for industrial advances in areas as diverse as: the hybridisation of materials and technologies; the development of new components, architectures and systems; the progress in manufacturing processes (additive fabrication, 4.0 factory, etc.). The autonomisation of systems makes them more difficult to design and forces interdisciplinary questioning, but is paving the way for improved reproducibility, security, resource optimisation, and dynamic self-adaptation. Université Paris-Saclay is particularly interested in exploring the issue of interactions in complex environments in order to design robust, reliable, interactive, autonomous systems which can function in open or controlled environments.

Embracing the potential of digital approaches for reindustrialisation. Home to a very strong community in mathematics, computer science and engineering, Université Paris-Saclay is well placed to contribute to the digital transformation of industry. In less than two decades, digital advances completely reshaped industry by opening up the possibility of developing digital models for complex phenomena and to test them, thus facilitating applications. Digital models can now be coupled with the environment in an interactive fashion, accelerating industrial developments and production methods. The massive deployment of connected objects (Internet of things) and the progress of cyberphysical systems are key enablers for new industrial processes, but suppose high-quality Cloud and IoT architecture, and communication networks, as well as the capacity to stem processing, management and security of the generated data. The promises of such deployment and advances in digital  approaches include faster, cleaner, less-resource intensive design and production processes.

Supporting the continuum between research, technological research and innovation and industry. In a context of intense international competition and geopolitical tensions with the resulting pressure on global supply chains and the growing importance of strategic autonomy and sovereignty in public discourse, many of the more technologically advanced countries are devoting sizable public funding to push for reindustrialisation.

France too strives to ensure a dynamic continuum between fundamental research, technological research, innovation and industry. We have already highlighted above (see cross-section) the ambitious policy pursued by Université Paris-Saclay in terms of innovation. This policy can build upon the key assets testifying to the presence of outstanding research teams in fundamental academic fields (mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, etc.) and the long-standing culture of collaboration with industry embodied by our engineering schools. This puts us in a position to be direct contributors to all the major industrial fields which depend on engineering advances: biochemical engineering, biomedical engineering, optical engineering, electrical engineering, material sciences, robotics and automatics, networks and communications.

Supporting public policy to create a propitious environment. Reindustrialisation is also a matter of creating the right conditions at the organisational, legal and job market levels. This requires the combined insights from economics, law, sociology, management, political sciences and organisational sciences, to create favourable conditions. At the collective level, this raises the issue of the emergence of new institutional and organisational settings of economic activities and production. Social sciences can support the reflection on the best governance practice, policy design and regulations and incentives, and feed public policy through expertise, advice and impact evaluation. The legal expertise of Université Paris-Saclay’s teams will also be directly relevant to designing the regulations adapted to new production modes and working arrangements, leveraging specific expertise on the legal implications of technical developments. Lastly, the various studies carried out on the evolution of work, labour markets and competencies are directly relevant for the proper implementation of a reindustrialisation policy. Such a policy needs to be linked to the deep trends affecting the relation of new generations to the workplace (diversification of the forms of job contracts, role of platform economies, impact of new work organisation and management approaches, articulation between individual tasks and the contribution to large-scale societal issues).


The C2N technological facility is one of the technological platforms at Université Paris-Saclay that supports research and innovation related to the cross-cutting challenge of Industrial Renewal. Hosted in a clean room of 2,900 sqm, the three platforms, representing more than 50M€ of investment in state-of-the-art equipment, are dedicated to micro and nanofabrication processes, to the growth, epitaxy and characterisation of materials. Some areas are also devoted to education and continuous training in micro-
nanotechnologies, and 250 sqm are dedicated to start-up or SME activities.

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