Bretagne (or Brittany) is a French Region situated in the peninsula of Northwestern France, between the English Channel and the Atlantic ocean. The Region has more than 3,2 million inhabitants. The main cities are Rennes (capital city) and Brest.
Bretagne is characterized by:
- a dynamic research and innovation ecosystem with important innovation capacity driven by regional clusters;
- massive investment in research with nearly 10 000 researchers;
- an excellent education system close to the needs of businesses, with over 110 000 students.
Regional strategy to support space sector
Brittany Region (Bretagne) is characterized by a dynamic research and innovation ecosystem with important innovation capacity driven by regional clusters. The Region has many important activities, initiatives, and facilities that allow to positioning itself as one of the most innovative regions for the use of space technologies, including:
- research teams working on remote sensing;
- companies working on space applications;
- working groups on earth observation uses for Local and Regional Authorities (LRAs);
- VIGISAT, a research space remote tool which provides instruments for land and maritime observation.
- support research and innovation;
- develop education and professional training;
- stimulate the industrial innovation;
- foster user uptake in LRAs.
As a Managing authority of European structural Funds, the Regional Council of Brittany has included space as component of its Regional Strategy for Smart Specialisation (S3) for the period 2021-2027 within the priority called Secure and responsible digital economy including upstream and downstream space sector.
VIGISAT, the first civilian radar satellite station in France
As part of its strategy to support space applications sector, Brittany initiated in 2009 a major support to VIGISAT, the main French station for the direct reception and analysis of high resolution satellite radar images.
Based in Brest and operated by CLS, VIGISAT is a reference for maritime surveillance and provides satellite services in near real-time: monitoring of pollutions and identification of polluters, detection of illegal fishing, knowledge of the maritime situation, detection of icebergs, environmental monitoring, support in offshore oil & gas industry, radar surveillance and maritime security.
Key regional actors
As part of its regional strategy to develop space applications, Bretagne Region supports two key entities working in this field:
- The Scientific Interest Group Bretagne Télédétection – GIS BreTel (Brittany Remote Sensing) – created in 2009 together with the VIGISAT station. GIs Bretel aggregates 11 academic/research labs around developments in Remote Sensing areas. It aims to promote research, education (academic programs), innovation and uses of spatial technologies linked to the exploitation of satellite data for maritime, costal and continental areas.
- The sea innovation cluster Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique (PMBA). Created in 2005, this cluster is dedicated to innovation for maritime activities. That includes activities related to earth observation and all maritime fields (safety and security, shipping, marine energy and biological resources as well as environment). PMBA gathers a membership of 400 including different communities i.e. academics, industrial or professional/institutional bodies. PMBA is the coordinator of the French BOOSTER MORESPACE with the support of GIS BreTel. This BOOSTER aims at promoting the use of satellite data for the development of new products, services and applications for the maritime sector. Moreover, Pôle Mer Bretagne Atlantique and GIS BreTel are members of the Copernicus Relay and Copernicus Academy Networks.
- 7 Technopôles de Bretagne (represented by Technopôle Brest Iroise for the space aspects). This association was created in October 2014 by the regional technopoles: Technopole Brest Iroise, Technopole Anticipa (Lannion), Lorient Technopole, Technopole Quimper-Cornouaille, Le Poool (Rennes), Technopole Saint-Brieuc Armor and VIPE Vannes. This network represents a key innovation operator in Brittany, based on a network of local players, approved by the national RETIS network (incubators, technopoles, CEEI), experts in supporting innovative companies, covering the whole of Brittany. It operates also the ESA BIC Nord France created in 2018 and has already incubated more of 10 startups in Brittany.