The German-French Academy for the Industry of the Future, co-founded by Institut Mines-Télécom (IMT) and Technische Universität Munchen (TUM), supports the digital transformation of industry by taking action in three areas: research, training and innovation.

The health crisis has revealed the weaknesses in our economies, which have become too interdependent. In this context, the Academy launched a call for projects in May 2020 in order to develop new models for industry that are both more resilient and more sustainable.

This call for projects was made in the context of French-German cooperation, whose political leaders regularly affirm their willingness to come closer together.9 strategic projects have been selected to resolve and anticipate future crisis.

The pandemic has highlighted the need to change our models in all areas: industry, health, education, transport, environment and agriculture. In the face of emergency, initiatives taken in the field have shown that new patterns are emerging. Today, it is a question of designing long-term solutions and innovating to echo the aspirations that have been expressed by companies, while at the same time boosting economies.

9 projects have been selected to help industries to adapt

The scientific community of IMT graduate schools associated with its German partners has been mobilised and the following projects have been selected:

  • Ramp up production management
  • Productive circular economy
  • Privacy of personal data in COVID apps
  • Trust and transparency in ambient data collection
  • Human relations and digital technology in redisgned workspaces
  • Development of on-demand drug delivery systems
  • Additive manufacturing for biopolymeric multi-material parts
  • Collaborative, resilient and open supply chain managment
  • Remote maintenance for industrial robots

For this call for proposals, some fifty new French and German teacher-researchers have joined the Academy to share their expertise with industrial partners. On the French side, they come from: IMT Mines Albi, IMT Atlantique, IMT-BS, Mines Saint-Etienne and Télécom SudParis. Mines ParisTech, a strategic partner of IMT, has just joined the German-French Academy for Industry of the Future.

The projects: start-up of long-term Franco-German collaborations with industrialists

The call is intended to finance initial phases of projects lasting 6 to 9 months. This start up phase proposed by researchers at IMT and TUM addresses structural problems in the industry in crisis situations by identifying and developing innovative solutions with a strong potential for third party acquisition and technology transfer.

The objective of these projects is to build up a knowledge base based on academic excellence and disseminate it to industrialists. This transfer is carried out through PoC (Proof of Concept), technological platforms, new methods, training courses (initial or professional).

A successful model of cooperation

Created in 2015 by the French and German governments, the AFA represents a unique instrument of Franco-German cooperation in research and training. It already has 11 projects to its name, rolled out in two waves: “Challenges for the Digitalisation of Industry” and “AI for the Industry of the Future”. It now encompasses a large bi-national community of 150 teacher-researchers.

The network of academic and industrial partners of the German-French Academy for Industry of the Future is set to expand and strengthen within the framework of the German-French recovery initiative announced on 18 May 2020 by President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel. It aims to enhance cooperation between European countries in order to strengthen competitiveness and initiate a common strategy for greater autonomy of the European economy.

This political will was reaffirmed on 10 September at a working dinner between Bruno Le Maire, Minister for the Economy, Finance and Recovery and Peter Altmaier, Federal Minister for the Economy and Energy, who wish to accelerate Franco-German projects. Beyond government incentives, higher education and research institutions such as IMT and TUM play a major role in developing long-term solutions by bringing together international talent, training future engineers and exploring innovative technologies.