Pôle Images gives digital French touch an international dimension

Philippe Amann - 26/03/12

With the Pôle Images high-tech cluster for the imaging industry, and with its network of companies, R&D institutions and specialist schools, the Lille region has become an international magnet for digital design and creativity across Europe, whose reputation is established as far afield as India. 

Mobile-phone applications, special effects, video games, touchpads, 3D animation, serious games — digital design is all around us. The French touch is recognised and valued worldwide in this field, as it reflects unique expertise and creativity across the digital-design industry. And it is the Lille region that is home to a number of outstanding innovators, who have attracted international attention. 

Lille and its surrounding region stand out in terms of digital design thanks to the state-of-the-art training programmes that are on offer across Northern France. The region also has facilities for companies in the industry, while the sector’s dynamic growth is reflected in the development of Pôle Images, a dedicated high-tech cluster.

Various schools located in the region, which are recognised for their excellence as far afield as India, have underpinned the sector’s growth in the Lille region. Supinfocom, Supinfogame and L’Institut Supérieur du Design (the Higher Institute for Design), all located in the Lille region, are international references in the digital sector and constitute the Supinfogroup.

These schools are currently training 1,200 students in animation, video games and industrial design. Upon finishing their studies, the young professionals are immediately snapped up by major animation studios (such as PIXAR and DREAMWORKS) or by games companies of international repute (such as GAMELOFT, UBISOFT and HYDRAVISION).

Supinfogroup’s reputation now stretches as far as India, where the group of schools has been selected by private investors in order to set up a campus dedicated to multimedia technology and video games at Pune (near Mumbai). The investors were particularly impressed by the quality of the films presented by the students and by the prizes that they have won at several international festivals.

Built and financed by an Indian real-estate magnate, the brand-new campus already welcomes 350 students. Billed as the Oxford of South Asia, Pune attracts students from across the world — a resounding endorsement of Supinfogroup’s expertise and excellence.

The ambitions of the Lille region, however, are not limited to training the elite of the digital-design industry: Northern France also intends to develop highly innovative projects across a region that is blessed with exceptional sites for this very purpose.

The Plaine Images business park aims to promote the development of a world-class centre of excellence dedicated to imaging technology, and to support the convergence of expertise, businesses, screens and formats that characterize the sector. Today, Plaine Images concentrates 50 companies employing 1,000 staff.

Housed in a group of buildings, on a five-hectare former industrial site, which have been restored to the highest standards, Plaine Images promotes the development of its on-site businesses and the synergies that exist between the various sectors within the imaging industry. In order to create dynamic links between artistic projects, companies and research laboratories, Plaine Images is home to a business incubator.

One of the most notable and newest ventures on the site is the Imaginarium, a platform where businesses, artists, training entities as well as R&D teams can meet and collaborate to boost their creativity and generate new content. At the end of 2012, the Imaginarium will become home to a research-innovation-development space that will be unique in France and, in fact, in Europe.

The Imaginarium is backed by the University of Lille and by CNRS (France’s National Centre for Scientific Research) and will concentrate on visual studies. It will provide state-of-the-art equipment such as a virtual-visit platform, a perception/action laboratory, and various workshops for artistic experimentation.

For its part, the Serre Numérique (literally, the Digital Greenhouse) is set occupy 15,000m² in Valenciennes. In September 2013, the schools in the Supinfogroup will move to the Serre Numérique, which is structured around a simple idea — “Digital design in all its forms”.

The Serre Numérique will bring together business leaders, entrepreneurs, designers, researchers, teachers, students and artists with the aim of embracing every area of digital design, from video games, animation and virtual worlds to industrial simulation, urban design, product design, 3D, and many more. Serre Numérique, more particularly, intends to focus on the segment known as serious games. It will be a unique venue, where training, funding and research will combine to create a stimulating environment for carrying out projects with high added value.

The Pôle Images is the backbone of the digital cluster that the Lille region has turned into in the past decade or so. The Pôle Images cluster of excellence comprises 120 companies, 27 specialist training centres and schools, 22 R&D bodies, and nine professional associations. The cluster’s role is to stimulate growth in the sector by facilitating partnerships between businesses, training centres and researchers who operate in the field of imaging.

Pôle Images is also developing a European perspective on the sector, by establishing cross-border links with similar clusters in other European countries, as well as encouraging synergies for generating creative content.


About Nord France Invest

Nord France Invest is the publicly funded investment-promotion agency for the city of Lille and its region. The agency helps to develop businesses and assists them in making the most out of their move to Northern France.

Drawing on expertise across a wide range of fields, Nord France Invest and its network partners offer personalised and fully confidential services to investors, free of charge, from the initial decision through to the launch and follow-up. In pursuing these aims, Nord France Invest draws on the skills of its own staff, combined with expert input from an extensive network of regional and international partners.

Nord France Invest has issued this press release. Nord France Invest can be contacted directly on nfinvest@nfinvest.fr.

For further information, please go to: www.nordfranceinvest.fr

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