French Government support for innovation


The seed that enabled GIANT to take root and grow

The French government introduced a far-reaching and largely innovation-driven economic stimulus package in December 2009. 

The program is administered by the French Commissioner General for Investment and overseen by the Prime Minister. To date €35 billion in grants have been allocated to projects in five priority areas deemed to stimulate economic growth and create jobs:

  • Higher education and training
  • Research
  • The automotive, aeronautics and space, environmental, digital, and biotech industries, as well as small- to medium-sized businesses
  • Sustainable development
  • Digital technologies

Very early on in the process, GIANT partners got to work developing the projects required to apply for funding.

A major source of funding

The French government’s economic stimulus program is administered through more than 30 financing instruments targeting a wide variety of projects. Applicants must present a strategy that explains how the different instruments will be leveraged in a cohesive manner. These instruments vary in scope and complexity and can range from financing mega-campuses and TROs to enabling equipment purchases for eligible laboratories.

The GIANT campus came up with the following grant application strategy:

  • Facilities (Equipex grants)


These grants pay for international-caliber scientific facilities and equipment.

The Rhône-Alpes region, home to GIANT, saw Equipex facilities grants awarded to nineteen projects (nine of which are in Grenoble), second only after the Greater Paris area in terms of total funding. Five of these projects will be located on the GIANT campus—a number that illustrates the campus’ excellent grant application success rate, which is well above the national average. Four of these projects are in nanotechnology. The fifth is for the construction of a new-generation beamline at the ESRF; work began in August 2020.

These five projects, which, together, have been allocated €340 million in funding, are:

  1. NanoID, led by CEA-Liten, received €10.2 million in funding

An open-access nanocharacterization lab capable of detecting and identifying nanoparticles in complex solid, liquid, and gaseous media.

  1. IMPACT, led by UGA, received €5 million in funding

In situ process and material nanocharacterization platform for future generations of miniature electronic components and circuits.

  1. FDSOI11, led by CEA-Leti, received €10 million in funding

Acquisition of three pieces of manufacturing equipment for a new generation of electronic components.

  1. LaSUP, led by UGA, received €7 million in funding

A cryogenic superconducting magnet platform offering unique magnetic field intensities and gradients and exceptional volumes available for experiments.

  1. Ecox, led by UGA, received €4.2 million in funding

Construction of a new-generation beamline at ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility)  for the atomic and molecular characterization of metallic and metalloid elements and noble metals in natural systems.

GIANT also contributed to two additional projects that received facilities grants:

  • ThomX, led by CNRS-IN2P3, received €12 million in funding

A compact, directional, high-performance, high-brightness, monochromatic, and energy-adjustable X-ray source for medicine (imaging and therapeutics), the social sciences (art), technology, and industry.

  • Equi@Meso, led by GENCI, received €10.5 million in funding

Powerful computers that will be connected in a nationwide network.

  • Laboratories (Labex grants)

These grants are intended to provide substantial resources to laboratories that have already earned international recognition so that they can hire senior scientists and purchase equipment to maintain a high level of scientific excellence.

Grenoble is home to eight of the laboratory projects that received grants, and three of these are primarily located at GIANT:


  1. LANEF laboratory for alliances between nanoscience and energy, received €13.3 million in funding

This consortium of five laboratories (Institut Néel, INAC, LNCMI, LPMC, and G2ELAB) will generate  synergies on research addressing societal challenges  like energy, communication, health, and mobility to facilitate the emergence of advanced new technologies.

  1. MINOS, the MINATEC laboratory for the miniaturization of innovative nanoelectronic devices, received €12 million in funding

This consortium includes labs from CEA-Leti, plus LTM, IMEP, and LMGP, and will remove technological hurdles to the miniaturization of nanoelectronic components. The research program will be built around three innovative devices projects: electronic transistors, the integration of new materials, and new embedded memory technologies.

 Biology & health

  1. GRAL, the Grenoble Alliance for Integrated Structural & Cell Biology, received €14.7 million in funding

Three internationally renowned research institutes around large European instruments ESRF and ILL are collaborating to develop a world-class structural and cell biology research center. The center will roll out an ambitious program spanning research, innovation, technology transfer, and training at the interface between structural and cell biology. Topics will fall into two main categories: virus/bacteria interactions and cell metabolism.


  1. CEMAM, Center for Excellence in Multifunctional Architectural Materials, received €9.9 million in funding

The center focuses on the design, production, and characterization of multifunctional architectural materials to enhance the performance of tomorrow’s technologies for healthcare, the environment, housing, and energy.

  • Institutes (IRT and IEED grants)

  1. Technology Research Institutes (IRT) and Institutes for Excellence in Carbon-free Energy (IEED) are intended as pillars of a world-class innovation ecosystems. These multi-stakeholder institutes span education, research, and industry. The idea is to get diverse stakeholders working together on the same site to bolster existing ecosystems and scientific excellence in support of specific industries.

    IRT Nanoelec is one such institute on the GIANT Campus. It is one of just eight Technology Research Institutes selected by an international panel of experts appointed by the French government. IRT Nanoelec’s ambition is to become one of the world’s top three micro and nanotechnology ecosystems.

  2. The University Center for Veterinary Medicine (IHU) is home to veterinary practitioners and scientists from France and around the world collaborating on a high-level program built on veterinary care, education, research, and technology transfer.
  • Campus initiatives (Idex grants)

The Idex grants fund initiatives to form a dozen international-caliber research-driven university campuses across France. Grenoble’s proposal for an innovation-based university campus—a joint effort between higher education, research, and business—won an Idex grant in January 2016. 

Idex campuses are recognized for top-ranked academic programs and intensive research activities.

The overriding objective of Grenoble’s innovation-based campus project is to build an integrated university with a substantial international dimension. The plan will leverage the local area’s scientific excellence, active ecosystem, the transfer of knowledge to society, educational innovation, successful student outcomes, and a high level of engagement from local business, cultural, and government stakeholders.