GRENOBLE ALPES
OUR CITY

At the heart of one of the wealthiest regions in europe

Home to 8 million residents and a thriving economy with 3 million jobs, Auvergne Rhone Alpes boasts a GDP of €250 billion, making it France’s second wealthiest regional economy.

At the heart of this flourishing region, Grenoble Alpes’ metropolitan area is one of the region’s main economic contributors, offering an array of highly-specified sectors – many on the cutting edge of their fields: micro/nanoelectronics, software development, medtech, energy, cleantech, mountain sports, and more.

Grenoble Lyon France Europe

A region with international reach

A mid-sized Metropolitan area (600,000 inhabitants), Grenoble Alpes has the largest English-speaking population in France outside of Paris. Situated at the intersection of three major European cities (Lyon, Turin and Geneva), the city enjoys a potential customer-base of 20 million people within a 200km (~125-mile) radius, and up to 60 million customers within a 500km (~300-mile) radius. It is an ideal location for companies doing business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Each year, more and more French and international businesses choose Grenoble Alpes for its dynamic business and research sectors. Companies like Apple, Huawei and Prophesee have built R&D centers in the city, while others, like Plasmatherm and Naver Labs, have chosen it for their European headquarters. Some others, like BD and Caterpillar, longtime residents of the area, have chosen the city for the development or expansion of their production capabilities, often with the intention of being closer to regional subcontractors and research hubs. With highly-developed scientific infrastructure and an entire value chain of dynamic businesses, Grenoble Alpes is ripe with opportunities for companies seeking to innovate.

Grenoble Alpes international

Pioneers of innovation

Historically, Grenoble Alpes has been a leader in scientific innovation and social progress. The appearance of hydroelectricity at the end of the 19th century led to the development of a diversity of industries in the region. The simultaneous development of the academic and industrial spheres intensified Grenoble Alpes’ reputation as a hub for new ideas and inventions.

industrie - Grenoble industriel

In the 1950s, Grenoble became known as a pioneer in the field of computer science, inspiring several American and European corporations to move their activity to the area. At the impetus of two men, Jean Kuntzmann (founder of Grenoble’s first laboratory for applied mathematics and computer science) and Louis Néel (Nobel laureate in physics and initiator of Grenoble’s center for nuclear studies –known today as the CEA Grenoble), the city chose to invest heavily in scientific research. Since then, industrial and scientific research have evolved side by side: from hydraulics to electricity, electricity to physics, physics to mathematics, mathematics to computer science, computer science to nanotechnologies, and more…

Grenoble’s long-term investment in science has paid off: today, the city has become synonymous with innovation. A rich network of science & technology research centers has developed around a handful of internationally-acclaimed large science facilities. The construction of these facilities was the result of close international cooperation:

x Institut Laue Langevin (leading international neutron research center) ;
x EMBL (European Molecular Biology Laboratory) ;
x European Synchrotron Radiation Facility  (global leader in x-ray science) ;
x Institut de radioastronomie millimétrique  (global leader in radioastronomy) ;
x Laboratoire Européen de champs magnétiques  (part of the European Magnetic Field Laboratory Network).

GRENOBLE ALPES: get ahead

In order to increase Grenoble’s reach, local actors have created a community around the banner “Grenoble Alpes”.

A collective action to promote a city that continues to attract innovative and pioneering projects in the domains of the energy transition, ecology and the social economy.

Spread the word about Grenoble’s activity by becoming a Grenoble Alpes pioneer!

Marque Grenoble-Alpes

PIONEERING MINDSET

1788 – Vizille, the birthplace of the French Revolution
In 1788, one year before the Storming of the Bastille in Paris, the “Day of the Tiles” in Grenoble and the unrest in the city’s surrounding valleys, marked the first signs of the political upheaval that would eventually lead to the French Revolution. The city’s inclination towards rebelliousness and its insistence on a more participative, innovative political system was a precursor to what we now call “democratic participation”. The city still prides itself on its rebellious and innovative nature.
19th century – Arts with Stendhal and Berlioz
Isère innovates in the domains of art and culture…
Grenoble’s surrounding area was the birthplace of Hector Berlioz, celebrated composer of the Symphonie Fantastique, orchestral visionary, and pioneer in organizing music festivals. Grenoble itself was the birthplace of one of France’s most esteemed writers, Stendhal, who mixed fiction and modern history and thus became known as the Father of the Realist Movement (successor to the Romantic era).
1817 – Artificial cement (Vicat)
At the beginning of the 19th century, Louis Vicat revolutionized the construction sector through his invention of cement. Two centuries later, Grenoble became the first city to design and build the first
eco-friendly neighborhood.
1822 – Champollion decodes hieroglyphics
In 1820, as a professor at the Université de Grenoble and at the tender age of 30, Champollion developed the basis of all modern Egyptology by decoding the Egypt’s mysterious writing – hieroglyphics – using the Rosetta stone.
1889 – Hydroelectricity
In the second part of the 19th century, the discovery of hydropower would make Grenoble a pioneer in hydroelectricity. It was in Grenoble that Aristide Bergès had the idea to use hydraulic power generated by waterfalls in order to serve the needs of manufacturers, powering machines like the paper mills of Lancey.
1907 – The first skis (Rossignol)
The first wooden skis in the world were made in Voiron (20min outside of Grenoble) by the carpenter Abel Rossignol. He founded the company Rossignol in the same year. In 1941, he patented his “plywood Olympic skis,” which were the precursor of all modern skis.
1944 – Grenoble is given the Order of Liberation by General de Gaulle
During the Second World War, the Vercors and Oisans mountain ranges at the edges of Grenoble were theaters of resistance against France’s occupation forces. The city itself was also an important seat of resistance, and it was later recognized as 1 of the 5 French Resistance cities by General De Gaulle on May 4, 1944
with the Order of Liberation.
1947 – Cable Transportation (Pomagalski)
With the development of Alpine skiing in Grenoble Alpes, Jean Pomagalski recognized the potential of ski lift technology, building the first artisanal ski lift as early as the 1930s at Alpe d’Huez. In 1947, the company POMA was created and would become a world leader in cable transportation.
1951 – 1st Computing Center for Computer Science in France
Jean Kuntzmann, professor at the Université Grenoble Alpes, created the first center for computing in France and led the first classes in this new science, now known as computer science. Considered by many to be the birthplace of computer science in France (CapGemini was founded in Grenoble in 1967), Grenoble Alpes is still recognized as a center of reference in the domain, home to 1 of the 4 French Artificial Intelligence Institutes.
1968 – Grenoble hosts the Winter Olympics
Grenoble is the 2nd French city to host the Winter Olympic Games (after Chamonix, in 1924). This event transformed the city and led to it being named “Premier City of the 21st Century” by the weekly newspaper Paris-Match in February 1968.
1970 – Louis Néel, Noble Prize in Physics
Following World War II, and at the behest of recognized scientists like Noble laureate Louis Néel, Grenoble’s scientific community began to organize itself around large international research facilities - in particular, the European Synchrotron (ESRF), built in 1989. It developed its high-level expertise in fundamental research in physics, materials and nuclear science. In the middle of the 1960s, the site ended its nuclear activities. Researchers turned their attention towards the emerging field of electronics. In 1965, the “integrated electronics” group produced its first integrated circuit, composed of 10 transistors, giving birth to the microelectronics sector in Grenoble and the creation of the CEA Leti in 1967, which in turn led to the creation of the EFCIS (today, STMicroelectronics) in 1977, Sofradir (today, Lynred) in 1986 and Soitec in 1992.
1973 – Frontal Head Lamp (Petzl)
In 1973, Fernand Petzl perfected his first wearable head lamp. Settled in the Gresivaudan Valley, just outside of Grenoble, Petzl has become one of the world leaders in individual protection equipment (notably climbing and alpine sports equipment).
2006 – Minatec, 1st European campus dedicated to innovation and micro and nanotechnologies
At the beginning of the 2000s, the CEA was already reputed as a pioneer in applied research, with its laboratory of electronics, technology and information (LETI). In conjunction with the support of the local engineering school (Grenoble INP), the French government, and a network of partners throughout the local government, it founded the MINATEC campus (MIcro & NAno TEChnologies). This unique campus model concentrated educational facilities, research laboratories, and industrial R&D activities (companies & startups) in the same geographic area. After the inauguration of MINATEC in 2006, the concept was expanded in order to build a “French MIT”, called GIANT, and built around 6 disciplines: new energy technologies, biotechnologies, micro and nanotechnologies, nanosciences, and technology characterization and management.
2007 – Model Checking (Sifakis)
In 2007, a French researcher from the Grenoble’s Verimag laboratory, Joseph Sifakis, became the first person in France to win the Turing award. This award, considered to be equal to a Nobel Prize, is the highest distinction one can earn in computer sciences. His work was based around critical embedded systems (nuclear and transportation), consisting of an algorithmic method with various applications, that span from aeronautics to portable telephones.
2014 – Deep Brain Stimulation (Benabid)
Professor Alim-Louis Benabid is the French neurosurgeon who invented the techniques for deep brain stimulation that make it possible for Parkinson’s patients to eliminate their tremors, therefore leading more functional and fulfilling lives without the need for radical surgeries. He received the Lasker Prize in 2014 (equivalent to the Nobel Prize) and was given the European Inventor Award of 2016. He is also the cofounder of Clinatec, center for biomedical research in Grenoble.
2019 – Artificial Intelligence (MIAI Grenoble Alpes)
Grenoble is one of four French cities with a government-certified Interdisciplinary Institute for Artificial Intelligence. The MIAI Grenoble Alpes (Multidisciplinary Institute for Artificial Intelligence) leads high-level research in artificial intelligence.

KEY FIGURES

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jobs in Grenoble's metropolitan area
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foreign-owned companies present in Isère Department
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city in France for eco-friendly commuting
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international airports (Lyon, Geneva, Grenoble)