Grenoble’s environment 


Grenoble’s environment

Grenoble, at the heart of the Rhone-Alps region in southeast France, is in the Isère department and holds a strategic position as the crossroads between northern and southern Europe.
Ideal setting : 3 mountain ranges and 3 national parks within easy striking distance Tourism in Isère
Exceptional scientific community: Grenoble has an exceptional scientific and technological environment and Grenoble IT is a founding player. The town has become a leading centre for European science, with electronics and IT, physics and nuclear studies, materials and hydraulics, chemistry and papermaking engineering. Several thousand researchers and engineers work in the town. Grenoble IT offers first class research opportunities in all these areas, with laboratories, focusing on main sectors like: information and communication, materials, energy, environment production systems,
2014 Video by AEPI-Invest in Grenoble-Isère, France Agency.

Smart Microelectronics! Micro- & nanotechnologies in Grenoble-Isère (France)


In heart of the Alps: “At the end of every street, a mountain”, said Stendhal. Located in the heart of the French Alps, Grenoble enjoys an exceptional geographical location and natural environment, making work and leisure easy to combine. The capital of the Alps benefits from an ideal geographic situation.
By road: 1 hour from Lyon, 1,5 hours from Geneva, 2 hours from Turin, 2,5 hours from Marseille
By rail: 3 hours from Paris on the TGV high speed train
By air: 3 international airports (Grenoble, Lyon et Geneva)
Grenoble offers a very good environment in terms of Education, Research, High Tech Activities, Industry.

Higher Education

Grenoble was awarded the title of “European University and Scientific Pole” in 1990, allowing the universities to stand on the international scene along with Oxford, Bologna or Tubingen.

- 65 500 students
- 10 100 foreign students
- 41% of students are enrolled in science programs, especially in fundamental science and engineering
- #1 French university outside of Paris with the most PhD students (3462).

High tech activities

 Microelectronics : 27% of jobs in France are located in Grenoble
- Electronics : 470 industrial companies, 16,600 jobs
- Biomedical technologies : 104 industrial companies, 2,600 jobs
- Imaging technologies: 50 industrial companies, 800 jobs

1 Technopole as part of Grenoble’s regional economic development, the “Zone for Innovation and Scientific and Technological Creation” (ZIRST) has become one of the foremost French technology parks, covering about 280 acres with over 275 companies employing 8500 people, mainly in the sectors of new technologies.
MINATEC: joint facility for research in micro and nano technologies.


Grenoble is the first French research center in Engineering Sciences, the second in Physics, the third in Mathematics. 1st in France and 5th in Europe for participation by its laboratories in the EU Research and Development Framework Programme.
- 21 000 researchers (the largest concentration of CNRS researchers in Engineering Sciences after Paris)
- 1 500 foreign researchers
- 250 laboratories
- 11,000 jobs in public research
- 4,000 jobs in private research
- 3,500 doctorate students and interns in local laboratories
- 30% foreigners in doctorate schools

5 European research centers:
- EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory)
- ESRF (European Synchrotron Radiation Facility)
- ILL (Institut Laue Langevin)
- EMFL (European Magnetic Field Laboratory)
- IRAM (International Research Institute for Radio Astronomy)

National research organizations:
CEA (The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission)
CEN (The National Center for Snow Studies)
CNRS (The National Center for Scientific Research)
CSTB (The Center for Science and Technology for the Construction Industry)
INRA (The National Institute for Agricultural Research)
INRIA (The National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Automation)
INSERM (The National Institute for Health and Medical Research)
IRSTEA (The National Institute for Research in Environmental and Agricultural Technology)


3,500 companies created and 1000 buyouts per year in Isère 145 foreign-owned capital companies, employing 28,000 people
1 Business District to welcome company headquarter and professional services (EUROPOLE)

A few key dates in local history
43 BC 1st mention of CULARO, a small town modestly built by the Celts to get across the Isère river, by Lucius Munatius Plancus in his correspondence to Ciceron.
339 The town became known as Gratianopolis in honour of the Emperor GRATIEN.
1012 The Saint-Laurent quarter (right bank) is given to the benedictine monks of Saint Chaffre en Velay: founding of the Saint-Laurent priory and then, development of a suburb.
1084 Foundation of the Monastery of the Grande Chartreuse.
1228 Construction of the Collegiate Church Saint André: the “Dauphins” set up their administration in Grenoble.
1339 Creation of a University in Grenoble, including four sections : medicine, liberal arts (sciences and literature), canon law and civic law.
1391 – 1418 Construction of the Island Tower, first Town Hall.
1593 – 1606 Construction of the wall of Lesdiguières.
1709 joueurFlute_VaucansonBirth of Jacques DE VAUCANSON, biomechanist. His automata (Le Joueur de Flûte, 1738) were aimed at “reproducing means in view to obtain the experimental intelligence of a biological mechanism”.
1712 fourierBirth of Joseph FOURIER, mathematician and prefect of Isère department. In 1811 Joseph FOURIER sets up the Faculty of Sciences. In 1987, the Scientific, Technologic and Medical University of Grenoble will take the name “Université Joseph FOURIER”.
1783 Birth of Henri BEYLE, so-called STENDHAL, novelist.
1790 Birth of J.F. CHAMPOLLION, who was the first to decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics in 1824.
1869 Invention of the hydro-electric power, the “White Coal”, by Aristide BERGES.
1929 ADR is created in Grenoble to help the development of University-Industry cooperation.
1946 Creation of the National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS).

Thomas WATSON, founder of IBM, is awarded Doctor Honoris Causa on 10 July 1950, the day of the 50th birthday of the Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble (IPG). At this time, Louis BOLLIET is a student at IPG under the supervision of Jean KUNTZMANN. The students are trained on office computers. Two such office computers are depicted below. They can be seen at the ACONIT Museum in Grenoble (Museum of informatics). The third office computer is dating from the same time (donation by Louis COURTOIS to ACONIT).

Mechanical office computer BRUNSVIGA
Mechanical office computer BRUNSVIGA
Electro-mechanical office computer MONROE
Electro-mechanical office computer MONROE
1955 Grenoble Atomic Energy Commision (CEA Grenoble).
1960 Creation of ENSIMAG, the IPG school for engineers in informatics and applied mathematics.
1963 First laboratory integrated circuit at LETI.
1965 First industrial integrated circuit at SESCOSEM. First computer LAG/INPG-MORS.
1966 Laüe Langevin Institute (ILL).
1968 Creation of the Grenoble IBM Scientific Center twined with the US Cambridge Scientific Center. The Grenoble Center had been visited by T.J. WATSON Junior, Chairman of IBM, son of T.J. WATSON the Founder.
Winter Olympics in Grenoble.
1970 Louis NEEL is Nobel Prize in Physics. First official services are set up at ADR. Louis NEEL is #0, Louis WEIL is #1, Michel SOUTIF is #2, Jean KUNTZMANN is #5. Louis NEEL has been President of Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble (formerly Institut Polytechnique de Grenoble), from 1954 to 1976. He is now Honorary President of INPG.
1976 National Centre for Telecommunications Research (CNET).
1985 Nobel Prize awarded to Klaus von KLITZING.
1986 European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF).
1988 Research Centre for the Army Health Services (CRSSA).

The European Synchrotron Radiation Facility is available to research scientists from virtually all countries.



Grenoble – Capital of the Alpes