On March 20th, 2013, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë and the Mayor of San Francisco, Edwin M. Lee, focusing on the digital economy and smart cities. This agreement strengthens ties between the two cities.

The cities of Paris and San Francisco have respectively chosen to support Inria (The French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control) and the CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, UC Berkeley) to carry out joint research on the smart city.

The mayors of both cities share the will to become world leaders in creating smart and sustainable cities.

Inria and CITRIS have launched collaborative research and experimentation initiatives on current and future issues relating to major urban centers. Research teams will focus on topics as wide-ranging as air quality, energy costs, water management, security, flows of people and transport.

Through their agreement, and in order to help this research program to succeed, Paris and San Francisco have undertaken:

  • to serve as study and experimental sites for this research
  • to provide support for these research programs
  • to share their data and experience by establishing an annual report on work carried out by the two cities and their partners

“In recent years, Paris has rolled out an extensive innovation program featuring more than 100 research tests across its territory. It has also adopted an ambitious climate plan, and is in the process of becoming a striking example of a Smart City. The excellence of the research led by Inria and CITRIS will help us achieve these goals” said Jean-Louis Missika, deputy mayor of Paris in charge of innovation, research and universities.

“In San Francisco, we’ve been able to use technology to improve our transportation system, building operations, waste management system, and energy use, all which have improved the way our city runs. These new technologies have promoted innovation, information sharing, collaboration among the public and private sectors, as well as our residents,” said Melanie Nutter, Director, San Francisco Department of the Environment.  “Research by Inria and CITRIS will help us thread these systems together to make our city more efficient, help our residents make better decisions and be a more resilient and sustainable city. We look forward to collaborating with the City of Paris to help advance smart cities across the globe.”

 “CITRIS and Inria have enjoyed a close research relationship for a number of years. The relationship represents a strategic commitment by both organizations to address issues of critical importance to the world.  Through this partnership, CITRIS is able to access world-leading researchers in France, who share its values and vision and to significantly increase the potential for its work to have a global impact,”said Hugh Aldridge, Director, CITRIS Cities Initiative.

“The City Lab partnership of Inria and CITRIS aims to undertake cutting-edge research in the smart city domain, with a strong focus on mastering the complexity of our cities. The research program aims to foster both environmental and social sustainability by bringing together Inria and CITRIS researchers to study relevant enablers that span: sensing, measurement, integration and analysis, citizen engagement and communication within our cities. A key ingredient of the program is to further develop and demonstrate 'Smart City' technologies in Paris and San Francisco, which will result in a deeper understanding of city infrastructure as a whole, i.e., as a system of systems” said Valérie Issarny Senior research scientist at Inria.

The Consulate’s Science Office, alongside EDF, was the instigator and founder of the CaFFEET Conference (California France Forum on Energy Efficient Technologies) where the different partners met and built the bases of their collaboration. The 2012 edition, opened by the French Ambassador to the U.S. at CITRIS Headquarters on the UC Berkeley, allowed the Paris based Inria and the CITRIS to work closely on this partnership, opening to the door to the agreement signed last week. Romain Serman, Consul General of France in San Francisco, is excited about the opportunities provided by this upcoming collaboration: “It’s a great tangible agreement that offers Paris an unique opportunity to further develop its digital environment and to play host to one of the best universities in the world - UC. Berkeley - within its region. We will pursue our efforts to facilitate the implantation of French start-ups in the Silicon Valley and vice versa. Paris is buzzing, Paris is innovating. Congratulations!”

“I'm thrilled that Paris and San Francisco signed this MoU, thereby paving the way for a strengthened collaboration between two of the best R&D institutes in the Paris Region and the San Francisco Bay area. I am glad, that PRIME and PREDA (Paris Region Economic Development Agency), together with their partners in the Paris region and as an ambassador of Paris region technology and innovation, have been able to facilitate this multi-partner collaboration, and look forward to this research platform to make our cities smarter, more sustainable and more enjoyable” said Xavier Wartelle, General Manager of Paris Region International Mission Enterprise (PRIME).

About the City of Paris

Parisians are confronted with the same realities and share the same concerns as citizens of all major cities around the world. In handling social, democratic, environmental, economic and cultural issues, the City of Paris recognizes the value of talking to and exchanging experiences and expertise with other cities. As a result, Paris enjoys rich and constructive exchanges and partnerships with cities in areas such as transport, innovation, the environment, urban planning and culture. In addition to developing strong partnerships at the local level, Paris is committed to sharing its values of liberty, solidarity and the respect for identities.

About the City and County of San Francisco Department of the Environment           

The San Francisco Department of the Environment (SF Environment) creates visionary policies and innovative programs that promote social equity, protect human health, and lead the way toward a sustainable future. We put our mission into action by mobilizing communities and providing the resources needed to safeguard our homes, our city, and ultimately our planet.

About Citris

The Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) creates information technology solutions for many of the most pressing social, environmental, and health care problems. CITRIS was created to “shorten the pipeline” between world-class laboratory research and its implementation in start-ups, larger companies, and whole industries. CITRIS facilitates partnerships and collaborations among more than 300 faculty members and thousands of students from numerous departments at four University of California campuses (Berkeley, Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz) with industrial researchers from over 60 corporations. Together, CITRIS researchers and activities form an essential hub in the innovation ecosystem of California and the nation.

About Inria

Established in 1967, Inria is the only public research body fully dedicated to computational sciences. Combining computer sciences with mathematics, Inria’s 3,400 researchers strive to invent the digital technologies of the future. Educated at leading international universities, they creatively integrate basic research with applied research and dedicate themselves to solving real problems, collaborating with the main players in public and private research in France and abroad and sharing the fruits of their work with innovative companies. The researchers at Inria published over 4,800 articles in 2010. They are behind over 270 active patents and 105 start-ups. In 2012, Inria’s budget came to 229 million euros, 26% of which represented its own resources.

About the Consulate General of France in San Francisco

The Consulate General of France in San Francisco, alongside its Science Office, endeavours to bring some of France to Silicon Valley, and some of Silicon Valley to France. It also plays an administrative role for the entire French community in the Northwest of the US.

About PRIME, Inc

PRIME helps American companies innovate by connecting them with world-class scientists and research labs in the Paris region, and by streamlining access to R&D project funding. PRIME is funded by the Paris Region Economic Development Agency and is headquartered in San Francisco, with an office in Boston.


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