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Support for electronic and medical nanotechnologies continues to be a priority for France. The government has put in place the best research tax credit in Europe for the sector's R&D activities, so that 50% of R&D costs can be reimbursed during the first year.
In the past two years, attention has been focused on nanotechnologies in France. There are now numerous top-ranking companies and major competitive clusters in this sector. They include Minalogic in Grenoble (with LETI and STMicroelectronic) and the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur secure-communication solutions cluster. Academic research centres such as LETI also offer a wide range of skills in nanotechnologies.
Several key global companies have emerged in France's micro-electronics sector. They include telecommunications operators (France Telecom), telecoms hardware manufacturers and service suppliers (Alcatel, Sagem), and smart-card manufacturers (Gemalto, Oberthur, ASK).
Many foreign companies in the nanotechnology field have also chosen France in order to establish their industrial and research activities (NXP, Atmel, Freescale, Renesas). This is as a result of France's first-class training centres, public-sector research facilities and private-sector companies already working in nanotechnology.
In October 2007, NXP inaugurated its global R&D division for semiconductor miniaturisation and its new headquarters in Caen (Normandy). Monolothic Power, ranked by Deloitte as one of the fastest-growing companies in Silicon Valley, opened its headquarters in Bernin-Crolles (Isère) in January 2007. Finally, BOC Edwards, from the Linde group, has transferred its headquarters from London to Grenoble, in order to be closer to its customers in the electronics sector and to better recruit top-level experts across the region.
Philippe Favre, President of the Invest in France Agency, says, "Microelectronics illustrates the continuing striving for innovation. R&D costs represent around 15% of turnover, and production-line updates to keep abreast of technological developments represent an investment of around 20% of turnover."
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