On 2nd November 2021, France announced a €1.8 billion ($2.1 billion) support plan for the nation’s cloud computing industry in a bid to keep the country’s organizations competitive on a global scale.
This plan has been divided into a €667 million care package for public financing, a €444 million boost to European Union financing, and a €680 million stimulus for private co-financing. Making use of €421 million from the public financing fund from a total of €667 million, 23 research and development projects have already been selected.
Announcing the initiative from the Paris office of French cloud computing firm OVHcloud, Cédric O, the Secretary of State for Digital Affairs of France, in his statement said: “Today we implement a long-held ambition to bring about the emergence of French and European industrial champions.” Adding that by 2025, close to two billion euros would be mobilised for the sector.
Developed jointly with the cloud industry, this economic plan is the third pillar of the French national strategy for the cloud and is also part of the fourth Programme d’investissements d’avenir (PIA4) and France Relance.
From what we’ve gathered, 85% of available funding will be for SMEs, start-ups, research institutes, open-source projects or projects that aim to relocate their industrial activities to France. That, and a new call for expressions of interest will open before the end of 2021 that will focus on projects on collaborative work (SaaS). Similarly, a call for projects will also open in the first trimester of 2022 to support R&D projects (particularly those of European scope) to identify disruptive projects.
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In addition, €66 million will be allocated to research focusing on breakthrough technologies, through a Programme et Equipements Prioritaires de Recherche (Priority Research Equipment and Programme – PEPR) managed by CEA and INRIA that will draw on France’s academic research strengths in fields ranging from hardware to software, energy consumption, instigation of new architectures, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence. This will be developed in coordination with the other digital strategies launched by their government.
In a press release, Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation stated, “The emergence of a French and European Cloud is an essential issue for the digital and technological sovereignty of our country and for the competitiveness of our industry. An unprecedented effort of €1.8 billion, including nearly 100 million for cutting-edge research and training, is mobilised to support the French Cloud industry. By mobilising all our strengths, from research to training, from our start-ups to our companies, this acceleration strategy gives us the means to regain our technological sovereignty in the Cloud.”
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