Rhône - Alpes

6.200.000 (2009)
43,700 km2
181,8 billion euro (2009)
29.322 euro
Main industry sectors: 
Metal industry, mechanical engineering, chemicals (plastic transformation, textiles and garments, electrical and electronic construction, pharmaceutical and health industries, biotechnology and nanotechnology, environment and energy management.).

Rhône-Alpes is a large and geographically diverse region. Main cities are Lyon, Grenoble, St Etienne, and Annecy. Strongly industrialised nowadays, the Rhône-Alpes region was historically based on old industrial traditions. Today the region accounts for more than 7% of the overall EU subcontracting industry and it has a high proportion of small and medium-sized companies; no industry is dominant. Additionally, Rhône-Alpes has a GDP 3.5 times higher than the average GDP of European regions.

Rhône-Alpes is at the forefront in promoting of 'innovative companies'. The unemployment rate is also lower than the national average. The most well-known firms are active in industrial vehicle production and design, chemicals and petro-chemicals, electric manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and R&D and information and communication technology.

The Rhône-Alpes region has a strong technological and R&D potential giving it the best R&D ranking in France after Paris, with 24,441 personnel in regional R&D ('93). Nine universities, 21 engineering schools and 600 research institutions in the region (including the INSA-National Institute of Applied Sciences, University C. Bernard, Ecole Centrale de Lyon, Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble) have created services for research diffusion, know-how and means of technology transfer towards industry. These structures cover all fields of applied research and enjoy a national reputation.

In terms of institutional support, a large number of business and technology support organisations exists: technology transfer centres linked to universities, a regional network for technological diffusion (Présence Rhône-Alpes) in which 130 public organisations participate, and the Chambers of Commerce and Industry. An association called "Lyon technologie" unites the universities and six engineering schools and provides services to industry managers such as consultancy and basic technological research. However, only 30% of the regional small and medium-sized enterprises use these organisations to resolve their technological problems.

Rhône-Alpes involved institutions: