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R&D / Innovation

With its hundreds of industrial and technological companies, its major research and training institutes and its eight incubators of excellence, Eastern France is both a centre and a source of innovation.

International companies have chosen to locate their production and R&D in our region, relying on the excellence of our laboratories, universities and hospital infrastructures, as well as on solid regional and national support tools.

The regional authorities, for their part, are committed to the future by investing in digital health and in Industry 4.0.

Competitiveness clusters in Eastern France

Competitiveness clusters were created in 2005 to develop the innovation capacities of economic players and to promote growth and employment in promising markets.

A competitiveness cluster brings together large and small companies, research laboratories and training establishments on a specific territory and subject.

This innovation network’s mission is to promote activity, structure sectors, create emergence and organise cooperative innovations, the quality of which is certified by the “competitiveness cluster” after an evaluation by a panel of experts.

Competitiveness clusters have thus developed a range of services and activities for their members.

To support the innovation process of companies, the region hosts six competitiveness clusters.

Biovalley France

This health technology cluster supports the development, emergence and marketing of innovative solutions by its members, while improving their environment (infrastructures, financing). With a global vocation, it focuses on the development of new drugs as well as on medical imaging and robotics.

Vehicle of the future

Certified in 2005, this competitiveness cluster focuses on the synergy between companies, education and research in the field of urban and suburban mobility. The cluster accompanies companies towards new mobility markets and towards the industry of the future while emphasising sustainable development.

Build & Connect

Build & Connect is the only French cluster dedicated to building materials and technologies, with a focus on energy efficiency and sustainable development. This cluster brings together more than 220 members in the sustainable materials and building sectors: industrialists, academics, professional and training organisations. Supporting the innovation and development of its members is at the heart of its missions. This includes, for example, assistance in finding partners and funding, support in setting up collaborative projects, digital management of built heritage and support for project owners in carrying out innovative construction or renovation projects.


Aquanova, a competitiveness cluster for the water sector in Eastern France, brings together companies, laboratories and local authorities. It supports these players in the water sector in several areas :

  • collaborative innovation 
  • developing their network 
  • obtaining strategic information
  • international development

Aquanova is active in the fields of sustainable water infrastructure, intelligent water management and wetland ecosystems.


The Materalia competitiveness cluster is the association of players in the Materials and Processes sector in Eastern France, working to improve industrial performance.

Materials, whether of mineral or organic origin, are upstream of any industrial sector and are the core of Materalia’s expertise.

This cluster focuses on four strategic areas: aeronautics, automotive, energy and health. It works on the following five cross-cutting themes: structural materials, additive manufacturing, metallurgy, clean and sustainable processes and the factory of the future.

Industries and agro-resources (B4C)

The B4C (Bioeconomy for change) cluster specialises in agro-resources and their industrial transformation.

Indeed, B4C is committed to the development of technologies and products substituting raw materials of petroleum origin with agricultural, forestry and algal plant productions. 

With 4 main strategic axes:

  • Bio Energies : Biofuel
  • Bio Molecules: Cosmetics, Pharmaceuticals, Phytosanitary products
  • Bio Materials: Construction, Automotive, Aeronautics, Packaging
  • Ingredients : Gelling agents, thickeners, colouring agents, flavouring agents

Research and development in Eastern France

Eastern France is developing an R&D ecosystem geared towards industry and innovation. With two billion euros of R&D expenditure, 12,000 public and private researchers, 180 R&D laboratories and five active Nobel Prize winners, it has relevant scientific resources for companies of all sizes and in all sectors.

Scientific research in Eastern France

Eastern France is one of the largest scientific centres in France. Indeed, the region has world-renowned know-how in the field of chemistry.

Three national public research establishments are in the region: the CNRS, INSERM and INRA.

Research is supported by renowned institutes such as the IGBMC, one of the main biomedical research centres in Europe, the IRCAD, a leader in research and training in minimally invasive surgery, and ISIS, a unique site for multidisciplinary research.

The universities of our region are centres of excellence in biology, biotechnology, medicine, chemistry, materials physics and space sciences, and are also active in the humanities and social sciences.

Easy access to public research

A centralised technology transfer office, SATT Conectus, facilitates connections between companies and public research in Alsace. Its services include a single entry point for access to :

  • well-defined research collaborations 
  • ready-to-use patents adapted to market needs
  • technology transfer opportunities
  • technology platforms