July 2013- n°5
IRSEEM and the SPMII PhD school join forces for innovation and entrepreneurship

A whole day devoted to innovation and entrepreneurship was organised by the IRSEEM, the research institute of the ESIGELEC engineering school, with backing from SEINARI, the Upper Normandy Innovation Agency, on 11th June 2013. This symposium was part of the Open Innovation project funded by the Interreg IV B European programme and the Upper Normandy region.

Intended for the region’s PhD students and organised in association with the SPMII graduate school (Physical Science, Mathematics and Information for Engineers), the event was introduced by a short speech from Didier Pézier, Chairman of the Board at the ESIGELEC and SEINARI. "This symposium has a two-fold objective," he announced. "Firstly to let you find out about the Open Innovation project and tell you the principles, methods and creativity tools which may be of use to you both in your research and after the dissertation. And secondly to address the key issue of employability for PhD students. We particularly want to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit among PhD students and encourage those who would one day like to create their own company."

Mathieu Dupas, founder of the Innovation Partagée Company, then gave a talk on his field of expertise, the Open Innovation. "The Open Innovation isn’t about sharing your resources and knowledge with everyone, no holds barred. Rather it’s about becoming aware of outside expertise and making the best of your intellectual property. The idea is to learn how to use your innovative ecosystem: your employees, suppliers, clients and partners, and no longer limiting innovation just to your Research & Development Department."

This was also an opportunity for PhD students to meet and listen to the experiences of their predecessors, whether they are currently working in companies and institutions or running their own organisation. This is in fact the case with Eric Rouland, who completed his dissertation at Rouen University in 1994 and then went on to form his own company, AREELIS.

This is a scientific engineering company which specialises in characterisation of fluid and energy flow. During his speech, he encouraged current PhD students to take the leap and create their own companies, emphasising the fact that the title of Doctor lent him credibility with his clients: "A degree, even one as prestigious as a PhD, is nothing without the man who owns it with his charisma and persistence... Nevertheless, it is still a huge asset for finding work. Anything is possible, but we must also give ourselves the means. Nothing is simple, but we must grab opportunities."

In the afternoon, the PhD students could choose between a workshop on innovation, run by Mathieu Dupas, and a workshop on entrepreneurship, offered by Mickaël Arnoult, responsible for Detection, Maturation and Incubation Missions at SEINARI. The room was packed out for the latter: “There was a lot of discussion and the students seemed interested to me. To my mind, everything went off really well. I’m very happy with how today went.” The day ended with a tour of the platforms and a musical evening, a chance for the PhD students to rub shoulders and chat with their older colleagues.



Contact : Vincent Lepers, European project leader, vincent.lepers@esigelec.fr