On October 10, Digital October hosted the lecture by Pierre Laffitte, French scientist and politician. He is the founder of Sophia Antipolis technology park. Today a lot of major international companies, such as IBM, HP, Air France, Cisco, SAP, Bayer, Dow Chemical, Samsung and Hitachi reside at the park.
Pierre Laffitte is 87 years old. He holds a degree in geology and most of his life he is deals with the development of French education, science and innovation. In this field, he presided at Bureau of Geology and Mining Research, held positions of director of École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris (Mines ParisTech) and then created and chaired the Conférence des Grandes Écoles. From 1985 to 2008 Pierre Laffitte was a Senator of Radical Party European Democratic and Social Assembly.
One of his main achievements is the founding of Sophia Antipolis Science and technology park. Pierre Laffitte started the creation of technological cluster in 1968, at the days of the beginning of Stanford research park which developed into the American Silicon Valley. Technology park in its main part was built in 70’s–80’s in the vivid place near Antibes, a resort town at the French Riviera. The park was named after Pierre Laffitte’s wife, Sophie Glikman-Toumarkine, (Sophia means widom in Greek). The second part of the park’s name, Antipolis is the Greek name of Antibes — literally “the city facing the city of Nikaia (Nice).
Several institutions of higher education are located in Sophia Antipolis, in particular, faculties of the university of Nice and the Skema Business school, parts of Ecole des Mines... So the students have the opportunity to study in a green environment. One of Sophia Antipolis’ advantages is a developed infrastructure: the park has its own living district with churches, shops, hotels, restaurants, library, etc.
Universities and Grandes écoles offer education in electronics, programming and biotechnologies. They prepare specialists for 1.4 thousand hi-tech companies, which are located in the technology park. Among the residents of Sophia Antipolis are Amdeus, Cisco, IBM, Microsoft, SAP, Siemens and Thales.
For over 40 years of its existence, Sophia Antipolis has proved itself as a place, "where the grey matter likes to settle down to stay and prosper." The place is one of the rare where brain drains of american expert exists and the usual brain drain toward the US is changed into a brain drain. In his lecture, Pierre Laffitte shared his experience of creation of full-cycle technology park: from the education of future scientists to the development of hi-tech products and the development of a spirit of entrepreneurship, important in a global economy.