Research and Innovation

The tourist and economic attractiveness and the excellence of this territory are measured by multiple criteria, including the dynamism and quality of research, technological and scientific innovation and the development of knowledge.

A true catalyst for collaboration between all economic players, the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolitan area ensures the dynamism of its ecosystem. The territory brings together a full range of organisations, services and spaces allowing the emergence of a creative community capable of innovating and undertaking. Experimentation is at the heart of the Metropolitan area’s approach to innovation and development.

The Research

University of Côte d’Azur

The national research institutes form the solid foundation for research that is fully integrated into the university ecosystem. Research is carried out through more than 50 Joint Research Units and laboratories. More than 1,200 researchers engaged in fundamental and applied research activities are involved in national and international networks. They are also major players in the development of innovation and the support of the Côte d’Azur economy.

In collaboration with the CNRS, INSERM, IRD, INRAE, CEA, INRIA, Observatoire de la Côte d’Azur, CHU de Nice, Centre anti-cancéreux Antoine Lacassagne (CAL), SKEMA and foreign research establishments, Université Côte d’Azur structures its research activity around different structures in all the major scientific fields:

  • 17 Own Research Units of the university,
  • 22 Joint Research Units,
  • 1 CNRS Own Research Unit,
  • 3 Emerging Research Units,
  • 1 Joint Service and Research Unit
  • 1 Maison des Sciences de l’Homme et de la Société (MSHS Sud-Est),
  • several joint project teams with Inria and 1 collaborative research and innovation team with SKEMA,
  • 5 research federations of the university and involvement in several national research groups,
  • 2 international joint research units,
  • several associated international laboratories and international research networks.

Sources: University of Nice Côte d’Azur

Other research centres

The territory also hosts major research centres. The sectors of activity concerned are more particularly those of information technology, micro-electronics, telecommunications and networks, software engineering, the space and aeronautics industry, life sciences and the environment, health-biotechnologies-agrochemistry and the aromatic industry.

Among the many research laboratories in the region, we can mention: CSTB, INRA, INRIA, INSERM, I3S, LEAT, ICN, INLN, LSBB ECOMERS, IBSV Laboratoires Jean-Alexandre Dieudonné, Géosciences Azur, Hippolyte Fizeau, research centres of Mines Paris Tech, research centres in biochemistry, particularly in medicine and perfumery.


Innovative enterprises

Innovation is an important growth lever for companies and regions. The Alpes-Maritimes department is home to 492 innovative companies representing 28,991 jobs and 11 billion euros in turnover in 2021.

A company is considered innovative if it meets one or more of the following criteria:

  • Be part of a competitive cluster.
  • Have published a patent during the last five years.
  • Have participated in a European framework programme (FP7 and/or H2020).
  • Have raised funds in the last six years (startups).
  • Be part of the list of companies identified by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation for innovation (FrenchTech120, Next40, etc.).

Most innovative companies are in the services sector (76%), 15% in industry, 8% in commerce and 1% in construction.

23% of innovative companies in the Southern Region are located in the Alpes-Maritimes.

Sources: Sirius-CCI Nice Côte d’Azur Economic Observatory

European Business and Innovation Centre (CEEI NCA)

The largest grouping of startups on the Côte d’Azur!

The CEEI NCA is a business incubator/accelerator created by the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan area. Its primary mission is to house companies and provide them with skills support in order to optimise their success rate. Located in the heart of the Eco Valley, its privileged location makes it the key player in innovation in the Nice Côte d’Azur Metropolitan area.

In addition to its function of hosting high-potential companies, the CEEI NCA also plays a driving role in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem thanks to its many partnerships, but also to the various events it organises and hosts.

Read more

European Innovation Campus

The first edition of the European Innovation Campus took place in Nice on 14 and 15 September 2022, co-organised by the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur Region, the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan area and University of Côte d’Azur. More than 200 participants were present at the IMREDD (Institut Méditerranéen du Risque, de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable) to discuss themes such as entrepreneurship and innovation for women, innovation for culture and creativity, artificial intelligence for territories… While Nice is a candidate for the title of European Capital of Culture, this event also made it possible to highlight the innovation ecosystem of the cultural and creative industries sector, which alone represents 4.4% of the European Union’s GDP.

For the first edition of this event, the European Commission chose Nice for its European dimension, its dynamism and its involvement in the field of innovation. Thanks to close collaboration between the European Union, the Region, the Nice Côte d’Azur metropolitan area and the Université Côte d’Azur, innovative projects are encouraged and supported. Fruitful collaborations were highlighted during the European Innovation Campus, which enabled exchanges and meetings on European, regional and local opportunities for innovation, cooperation and business creation.

Echoing the European Year of Youth, this event also provided an opportunity to honour the region’s young entrepreneurs with a sequence entirely dedicated to the presentation of their projects.

See also


Sign up now to get a sneak preview of exclusive offers, new experiences and all the news about Nice.