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Sofradir to invest €150m in French nanotechnology initiative

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Sofradir and its subsidiary ULIS will invest €150 million over the next five years in France’s Nano 2022 initiative, to support the development of next-gen infrared detectors.

The announcement follows the European Commission’s approval in December 2018 of the ‘Important Project of Common European Interest’ (IPCEI), a joint project by France, Germany, Italy and the UK to give €1.75 billion ( around $2 billion) in public support for research and innovation in microelectronics.
 
Nano 2022 is France’s initiative within the EU’s programme that will support developments in nanotechnology, a market sector of strategic importance for the future, which includes applications such as smart sensors. The Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, where Sofradir and ULIS have operations, announced it will contribute €35M ($40M) to support Nano 2022.
 
Sofradir and ULIS, whose infrared technologies are used in a range of applications from space observation and environmental monitoring to security surveillance and predictive maintenance, will invest €150M ($171M) in the Nano 2022 initiative from 2018 to 2022 in order to develop next-generation infrared detectors.
 
‘Infrared technologies can offer the necessary solutions for improving assisted living, mobility, energy efficiency, security and environmental monitoring, which are all crucial societal needs,’ said Jean-François Delepau, chairman and CEO of Sofradir and ULIS. ‘As a result of our investment, equipment manufacturers will benefit from the ease-of-use and performance these new products will offer.’
 
Nano 2022 will enable ULIS to develop the next generations of infrared detectors to address trends in autonomous systems for smart buildings (workspace management, energy savings), road safety and in-cabin comfort of vehicles. It also enables Sofradir to develop the very large dimension infrared detectors needed for space and astronomy observations as well as compact and light sensors that can be used in portable devices and on drones. Nano 2022 contributes to the funding of the pilot lines required for developing these technologies and products.
 
Sofradir and ULIS participate in Nano 2022 alongside other companies based in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region, including STMicroelectronics and Soitec.
 
The IPCEI framework develops key cross-border R&D and infrastructure projects aimed at encouraging member states to channel their public spending into large projects. These make a clear contribution to economic growth, job creation and the competitiveness of Europe. The European Commission (DGComp) evaluates the funding conditions, ensuring they are in line with EU state aid rules.