Speeding innovation for industry
CEA Tech Days have become a regular event and one that is anxiously awaited by industrial companies in Japan. Can you tell us how it all got started?
Gallais: Leti held its first Leti Day Tokyo in 2004. It was a workshop format, with around 40 participants, about half from university labs. We continued to run the event every October, and every year it got a little bigger and brought in more and more professionals from the industrial sector. Given how popular the event was, the other institutes started similar events around a decade later. The year 2017 saw the 13th Leti Day, the 4th Liten Day, and the 3rd List Day. This year we welcomed nearly 450 people and more than 90% of them were from industrial companies.
How is the event organized?
Gallais: The evening before the event we host a grand opening at the French Embassy in Japan attended by top executives and other decision makers from major Japanese corporations. The first d ay of the event is dedicated to Leti and the second day to Liten in the morning and List in the afternoon. Every year we try to showcase those technologies that can help Japanese companies in particular stand out from their competitors.
This year Leti addressed topics like advanced lithography, passive silicon components, power electronics, and sensor-data fusion for driverless vehicles. Liten focused on photovoltaic technologies, energy storage, and energy-efficiency technologies. List highlighted its work on artificial intelligence and, especially, deep learning, as well as technologies of interest to Japan's nuclear industry.
What is the objective of the event? What impact does it have?
Gallais: Back in 2004 when Leti Days in Japan first started, we weren't really banking on it leading to partnerships with Japanese companies. From a technology standpoint—whether it is for information and communication technologies or new energy technologies—Japan is home to some of the world's leading industrial companies. Leti and, later, Liten and List, decided to focus more on Japan, a key country for technological innovation. These two days become a major event for Japanese companies. They come to discuss existing partnerships and explore opportunities for new partnerships with the CEA Tech institutes. The ultimate goal is to boost Japanese investment and spur economic growth in France. CEA Tech Days Tokyo, which included a series of talks, testimonials, and networking opportunities, gave us a chance to promote our know-how and technologies in Japan. Our portfolio of Japanese partners has grown substantially over the past several years, especially in the fields of microelectronics with projects on advanced lithography and silicon components, but also in renewable energy with partnerships on batteries and photovoltaics. And I am sure that there are still a lot of great opportunities out there for us!
CEA is a French government-funded technological research organisation in four main areas: low-carbon energies, defense and security, information technologies and health technologies. A prominent player in the European Research Area, it is involved in setting up collaborative projects with many partners around the world.