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In order to take full advantage of the most recent scientific progress and to access high level skills, Saint-Gobain Recherche sets up partnerships with the academic world, start-up businesses and manufacturers.
"For many years, we have forged strong relationships with the academic world, focussing most recently on themes linked to the habitat and on greater openness to the international world." states Gérald Fafet, Chief Executive of Saint-Gobain Research in Aubervilliers.
Partnerships are established throughout the Saint-Gobain University Network, SUN, which allows us to develop long-term relationships with a certain number of the world's top universities, namely the NIMS (National Institute of Material Science) in Japan, Lomonossov Moscow State University and the IIT Madras (Indian Institute of Technology Madras) in India.
Moreover, we have worked closely for many years with the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - National Centre of Scientific Research) and its many affiliated research laboratories throughout France. We also house a mixed Saint-Gobain/CNRS research unit on the Aubervilliers site which carries out important research on two themes which are of particular interest to us here at Saint-Gobain: structure and property of thin layers on oxide substrates and granular heterogeneous environments.
And lastly, we participate in chairs set up by the Saint-Gobain group with l'Ecole des Ponts (engineering school) named "innovative solutions for a sustainable and responsible environment" and with X-ESPCI (Polytechnique-Ecole Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles - School of Industrial Physics and Chemistry) concerning the science of materials and active surfaces.
At the heart of emerging technologies
In order to follow the development of emerging markets, to identify new ideas and to be at the forefront of pioneering technologies and even to spur on the development of our projects by accessing a wide range of technologies, we contribute to the Saint-Gobain External Venturing NOVA unit. This is a transversal entity which allows us to develop partnerships or agreements with start-up companies in the habitat, energy and environment fields, and thus to contribute to the innovation of the Saint-Gobain group.
"In global terms, we devote roughly 15% of our budget to external research through partnerships with universities, schools and laboratories, or in co-development projects with other manufacturers or start-up businesses."
An exploratory research programme, called Phi-Zéro, is shared between four major centers of Saint-Gobain (SGR, NRDC, CREE and SGRS). Its aim is to create new research projects, aimed at innovative products and processes or new potential markets for Saint-Gobain. Every year, around thirty ideas chosen from different proposals put forward by researchers at Saint-Gobain, are financed and assessed for this purpose.