When the Sophia Antipolis site was chosen for Eurécom, the plan was for France Télécom to erect a building on a piece of land made available by the Conseil Général des Alpes-Maritimes and located on a new Sophia Antipolis university campus.
But the university construction project was put on hold, and the legal status of France Télécom soon changed with its schools being transferred to the direction of the Ministry of Industry through the administrative government-owned group of telecommunication schools (or INSTITUT TELECOM). As a result, a new solution had to be found.
This was in 1999, and at that time, a group of local industrials who had organized themselves around the Telecom Valley Association came up with the idea of a “3rd millennium university” that would support their development, and equal to that of the Silicon Valley campus in California.
Under the leadership of the Eurécom board, businesses in Sophia Antipolis worked to create an “ICST Campus” with several higher-education and research schools. Immediately supported by the local government agencies, this project would create a critical mass, and a comprehensive educational offer ranging from Technician to Doctorate level (via a Master’s degree), while offering a multidisciplary research potential that would meet the needs of businesses. It would also reinforce the position of Sophia Antipolis in the ICST expertise area.
On July 8, 1999, EURECOM, INRIA, UNSA and Telecom Valley signed a declaration of intent in which each party expressed its will to cooperate for the establishment of the ICST Campus.
From the onset, EURECOM has expressed its enthusiasm for this project which will anchor it in the heart of the Sophia Antipolis science park. This pioneering vision becomes even more meaningful today with the creation of “Expertise Areas”.
The Campus Project:
Beyond a construction project, the ISCT campus is first and foremost a collaborative enterprise with research projects funded by the Region, such as the UMTS software platform, an INRIA/Eurécom project financed with a € 511,000 grant from the Region. The proximity of all parties involved is also favorable to creating a pedagogical and scientific synergy with the exchange of professors (through a common Master’s), common research projects and seminars as well as cooperation with businesses based on a common business incubator policy.
The ISCT Campusreal-estate complex
campusStic photo wilmotteThe University Restaurant, ESSI, ESINSA, the University Technological Institute on Information Technology, and INRIA, all contribute to the “mini-campus” that exists today in the St Philippe area, close to Hewlett Packard. But the new ISCT campus will cover 14 hectares on a piece of property that the Conseil Général des Alpes Maritimes, who will be the main contractor, is setting aside for that purpose.
The Willmotte architectural project which was selected for the campus reflects the cooperative spirit which has been the driving force of this project. All the campus sections (EURECOM/INSTITUT TELECOM, ESSI, ESINSA, INRIA) will be connected by a large deck. They will also share a common research area with the incubator group and the usage lab, and a conference area equipped with a 350 seat amphitheater suitable for international seminars and conferences.
The building will include a library and a gymnasium. The total investment is estimated to be € 50 million.