Society is becoming globalized against a backdrop of technological change and growing concerns as to the sustainability of development. How can we prepare for a world of 10 billion people in which everyone gets a chance to benefit from scientific and technological progress, while also consuming, sharing out and, above all, saving natural resources, improving health, taking up the challenges of education and safety and establishing rewarding social relationships?

Energy transition and the circular economy

Mankind is consuming more resources than the natural environment can sustainablyprovide, and producing more waste than it can handle. More particularly, dwindlingfossil fuel reserves and climate change demand a radical change to the ways we produce and consume energy. However, the limits that have been reached are precisely one of the factors in today’s global economic slowdown that is interfering with our abilityto find solutions quickly.

Our challenge is to invent this future that is more sparing in its use of resources and its disposal of waste.Although it is not yet a reality, it is very much in gestation in our cities. It can be seen here or there in low-consumption cities and smart networks. Within this framework, materials and production technologiesalso have a great social and economic incidence. They allow the development of new solutions and can improve performances throughout the production sector, as well as in areas such as health, building and agriculture.

Digital metamorphosis

The digital industries are one of today’s most dynamic sectors in the world economy. In most developed countries, the rate of growth in the digital economy is twice that of the economy as a whole. It is in the throes of changes that look more like a revolution than a mere technological breakthrough. In the particular case of higher education, the leading North-American universities now see their future on the internet and are developing an offering of interactive distance courses. The changes underway in higher education could even prove to be comparable to those experienced by the media in recent years all over the world: a profound restructuring of their very existence around web systems.

The challenges of energy transition and digital metamorphosis overlap in many ways, most notably through the growing inter-connection between energy and information networks and the growing share of digital industries in global energy consumption

Combining vibrant business activities and supervision

Innovation constitutes a key factor in added value for the French economy, as well as providing a way of setting itself apart from the emerging economies. The economic crisis and global challenges are making innovation more acutely important to provide sustainable growth in France. The rules and theories we are working with were defined in times of strong growth and expansion. Today’s world is a different one and we need to consider other points of view, other methods and other organizations to innovate.

We need to be able to rely on the ability of the younger generations to make their contribution tomorrow to the innovation ecosystem as entrepreneurs, engineers, researchers, investors or consumer. To foster the spirit of enterprise, raising awareness among young people of science and technology, innovation and entrepreneurship, is a key issue.