CITRIS, INRIA and PRIME Sign Accord: Smart Cities Research and Open Innovation

Pictured, left to right: Michel Cosnard (President of Inria), Sabine Enjalbert (Director of Paris Region Economic Development Agency), Genevieve Fioraso (French Minister of Higher Education and Research), Costas Spanos (CITRIS Director)


San Francisco, February 12, 2014 – Inria, CITRIS, and PRIME strike a partnership to accelerate the development of ambitious research and experimentation initiatives on issues relating to urban centers. Mrs. Genevieve Fioraso, French Minister for Higher Education and Research, witnessed the signature of this Memorandum of Understanding. Researchers from Inria and CITRIS will expand their existing relationship and leverage PRIME’s network and programs on smart cities to lead this effort. The trio of experts will reach out to public and private organizations to expand the scope and implementation of their projects.

Researchers from Inria (French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control), and CITRIS (Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society, University of California) have had an ongoing relationship for collaborative research projects since 2010. In 2013 they signed an agreement regarding the CityLabs partnership in which Inria and CITRIS aim to undertake cutting-edge research in the domain of “smart cities” with a focus on gathering, analyzing, and visualizing complex urban data. PRIME (Paris Region’s presence in the U.S.) supports Inria’s entrepreneurial spinoffs with presence in the U.S.

“Building on the Inria@Silicon Valley program with Californian universities, the CITRIS-Inria partnership on smart cities is reinforced by this association with PRIME. This is a stepping-stone toward new ambitious research and innovation projects involving researchers, entrepreneurs, and citizens,” says Michel Cosnard, Inria CEO.

Together Inria, CITRIS and PRIME intend to collaborate on Smart Cities projects such as:

  • Democratization of urban data
  • Intelligent transport systems
  • Sensing and related analytics on air quality and CO2 emissions.

In addition, ways to engage with cities and corporations as well as with citizens to support these projects will be investigated, in related initiatives such as:

  • The “Government Report Card,” developed by the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative, a pilot project that aims to increase public engagement with political issues and to help leaders at all levels stay informed about the changing opinions and priorities of their constituents
  • The PRIME Open Innovation Club, which promotes the engagement with cities and corporations
  • The Gang of X, an association of Chief Information Officers of innovative cities such as San Francisco, Palo Alto, Paris

“Expanding our partnership with Inria to include PRIME and its network of companies and organizations will allow CITRIS research to translate into even greater impact for the San Francisco Bay Area and the Paris Region. These urban areas serve as excellent living labs for innovations in energy, transportation, public health, and civic engagement,” says CITRIS Director Costas Spanos.

PRIME has actively participated in the dialog between California and the Paris Region as co-organizer of California France Forum on Energy Efficiency Technologies, facilitator of the Paris/San Francisco MOU on Smarter Cities, and coordinator of the Open Innovation Club.

“Inria and CITRIS are formidable sources of innovation and adepts of an open approach to solving some of the most pressing problems facing cities. PRIME is delighted to join forces in tackling these issues and help create momentum with urban communities, corporations, and citizens,” says Xavier Wartelle of PRIME.

The trio offers an open collaborative forum to other non-profit organizations, students, researchers, entrepreneurs, startups, cities, and corporations to collaborate around its Smart Cities projects.


CITRIS (Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society) is a multi-campus research center of the University of California. With headquarters at UC Berkeley and affiliated campuses at Davis, Merced, and Santa Cruz, CITRIS researchers create information technology solutions for many of the world’s most pressing social, environmental, and healthcare problems.


About Inria

Inria is a public research body fully dedicated to computational sciences. Combining computer sciences and mathematics, Inria’s 3,500 researchers dedicate themselves to solving real problems, collaborating with the main players in public and private research in France and abroad, and transferring their results to innovative companies.



PRIME helps American companies innovate by connecting them with world-class scientists and research labs in the Paris region, and by streamlining access to R&D project funding. PRIME is funded by the Paris Region Economic Development Agency and is headquartered in San Francisco, with an office in Boston.