The ongoing cooperation between Sophia Antipolis Foundation and Qingdao National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone


The Sophia Antipolis Foundation and Qingdao National High-Tech Industrial Development Zone
have much to gain by learning from each other as they each face their own innovation imperatives.

During 2021/22 the ongoing partnership between the two partners has helped advance cooperation in science, technology, and innovation. Situated in the south of the Shandong Peninsula and lying on the shore of the Yellow Sea, Qingdao is one of the 70 large and medium-sized cities of China.

Founded in November 1992, Qingdao National High-tech Industrial Development Zone (Qingdao High-tech Zone) was approved by the Ministry of Science and Technology. It is among the first batch of national high-tech zones approved by the Chinese State Council.

During the pandemic, the Sophia Antipolis Foundation has jointly organized the European First-class Parks Online Summit and the European First-class Science and Technology Parks (Qingdao Center) was established in 2020. Including the “Sophia Antipolis Innovation Road show on Artificial Intelligence and ICT Digital ”.

Also during the pandemic, the European First-class Parks Online Summit was held, and the European First-class Science and Technology Parks (Qingdao Center) was established in 2020.

This conference reflected the fact that both parties share common interests in fostering science and technology to solve the challenges of economic growth. Innovative companies such as Fair vision ( Digital and photovoltaic innovations for monitoring and analyzing competitive sports) Epicnpoc, experts in innovation, design and software engineering or Finwedge (experts in innovation, design and software engineering) have been showcased so as to find interesting partners within Qingdao.

Next step is to facilitate cooperation to take biomedicine and new-generation medical devices (intelligent manufacturing) as pillars for joint initiatives. Biomedicine and medical device industries will rely on the University of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences,) to help Qingdao High-tech Zone create a “Rehabilitation Bay” with international influence and domestic competitiveness.

The Sophia Antipolis Foundation and Qingdao High tech Zone will focus on the new generation of information technology industry and intelligent manufacturing industry focused for example on big data, robotics, and accelerate the creation of joint industrial clusters.

As soon as the pandemic comes to a halt the physical cooperation will restart and Qingdao is very keen on pushing forward the innovation agenda (There are about 230 foreign-invested companies in the High-tech Zone, of which one fifth are of EU investments.)

  • The cooperation with EUPIC – the EU Project Innovation Centre and the High-tech Zone is focusing on building a platform of exchange for cooperation with Europe.
  • Already more than 2,100 foreign governments and enterprises have representative offices in Qingdao.
  • A total of 160 Fortune Global 500 companies have invested in 309 projects in Qingdao.


Ecological efficiency and economic return


MYCOPHYTO is working on restoring natural balances by developing innovative solutions based on the restoration of resilience and nature. MYCOPHYTO implements natural biological technologies for agriculture and the environment, which take into account societal expectations and economic performance. The MYCOPHYTO concept is based on an observation: increasing and managing natural biodiversity in an agroecosystem makes it more robust and more resilient in the face of pests, climate risks, or a scarcity of resources only when biodiversity is carefully managed.

Ecological efficiency and economic return

MYCOPHYTO proposes revitalising cultivable soils with exclusively indigenous micro-organisms. Mycophyto does not replace chemical products with organic products. Instead, the Mycophyto innovation is based on the natural synergies between plants and microscopic fungi (AMF) in soils capable of interacting with plant roots. Agritech offers biological solutions determined according to a given terrain and using only native micro-organisms. Its patented processes multiply the concentration of fungi present in the soil, determine the effective plant-fungal combination, and set up the symbiotic interaction.

Mycophyto products have a double action: increasing plant nutrition quality and yield.

A team of recognized experts, high-tech standards

Justine Lipuma, President of SAS MYCOPHYTO. Ph.D. biology from the University of Nice,a specialist in plant-micro-organism interactions and symbiotic mycorrhizal interaction. The microbiological techniques necessary to select for symbiotic fungi (culture in selective synthetic media) and molecular biology techniques to characterize these fungi (selection for markers), as well as the in vitro culture (plants and fungi), are specific technical skills that she has mastered perfectly after four years of work in the laboratory. In addition, Justine Lipuma has also developed innovative scientific work on improving the efficiency of microbial symbiosis.

Christine Poncet, co-founder and agricultural engineer, graduated from ENSA Toulouse, Scientific Director of a scientific competition between INRA and MYCOPHYTO. INRA employee (high0level research engineer) and deputy director and innovation manager of the INRA Agrobiotech site in Sophia Antipolis, she has supervised numerous international projects. She regularly speaks at international conferences on agriculture and agroecology. She is in charge of projects related to the regional development dynamics and designing innovative production systems that are more respectful of the environment. Her overall objective is to achieve savings in inputs: water, fertilizers, pesticides, and energy and, at the same time, to promote the use of sustainable alternatives. In addition, Christine leads the Scientific Committee set up by MYCOPHYTO.

Strong regional ties to the scientific ecosystem, an extensive network of partners

MYCOPHYTO is based in Sophia Antipolis and has offices, greenhouses, and laboratories at the INRA Sophia Antipolis site and at the Village By CA, as well as additional greenhouses at the Lycée Agricole in Antibes.

This single site comprising 4,500 m2 of greenhouses, offices, and laboratories is at the heart of MYCOPHYTO’s development project.

Committed and aggressive female entrepreneurship

“Reconciling Nature and its biodiversity to feed us better and sustainably preserve the future and the health of future generations.”

At its core: the conviction and the unique scientific expertise of two women

Ph.D. in microbiology, Justine Lipuma, returned from her collaboration with the University of Turin in 2015 with unique experience and knowledge of plant-microorganism symbioses and their beneficial effects on agroecosystems.

Driven by an unfailing determination that has motivated her since the age of fourteen, she focused her university career on providing benefits to the agricultural sector, which she knows well, having done her secondary studies at an agricultural high school. Her objective is to promote biological tools that are effective for sustainable agriculture

without adding chemical inputs, such as by using arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF).

At the end of 2015, Justine Lipuma met Christine Poncet, then-deputy director of the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute (INRA – French National Institute for Agricultural Research), in charge of innovation. Christine Poncet is an internationally recognised expert in agricultural production systems that are more respectful of the environment, particularly in designing and validating alternatives to chemical pesticides.

ERIK ORSENNA, financial and strategic support

A few months after its first fundraiser, Mycophyto was joined by academician Erik Orsenna, a nature enthusiast and specialist in raw materials. Below, he shares with Mycophyto his long-term vision of agriculture, his understanding of the issues, and support for his innovative solution.

Excerpt from the interview with Erik Orsenna published by La TRIBUNE, Tuesday, 20 October 2020

Did you take part in Mycophyto’s last funding round? How and why?

In the beginning, I was a professor of raw materials economics, particularly agricultural raw materials, and I have always been passionate about these issues. I got in touch with Alain Poncet, who was then in charge of the French development company, Compagnie d’Amenagement des Coteaux de Gascogne (editor’s note: the water management organisation on the left bank of the Garonne), the brother of Christine Poncet, co-founder of Mycophyto with Justine Lipuma. And above all, for fifteen years now, I have been working on issues of globalisation, cotton, water, paper, mosquitoes, pigs, etc. After my research on rivers, which is almost finished and has taken me ten years, my next study will be on soils. All roads led me to Mycophyto.

What will you bring to Mycophyto?

They are 40 years younger than me. I will bring my experience, and they will bring their fresh ideas. That’s what I call … a crew. What I can also contribute is the story, the words to build a story. It is clear that, at all levels, on the personal, company, and national levels, it is impossible to generate momentum without a narrative. Putting ideas and convictions into words is essential. And also, I have experience working with start-ups that have found success, thanks to the story, network, and a few other methods.

What are your hopes and dreams for the development of Mycophyto?

What is marvellous is that growth is never abstract, never above ground for me. And what is interesting is this link with a research centre known worldwide, Sophia Antipolis, but also with the different regions. No soil is homogeneous, and each needs its own diagnosis and an appropriate response to each diagnosis. It’s a bit like medicine … and that goes hand in hand with what I do with Pasteur, for which I am the ambassador. At its heart, Mycophyto is almost like breathing life back into the soil, a bit like a vaccine awakens potential immunological processes in each organism. I would define myself as an inquisitive person and a lover of the possible; the quest is real. I see a wonderful, enthusiastic team seeking to answer a fundamental question about our future.



ecotone antibes

Hotels, restaurants, businesses and car parks, the Ecotone project will be built in the Trois Moulins district of Antibes, in Sophia Antipolis technology park.

Compagnie de Phalsbourg provided a competition-winning design to develop the 3 Moulins site in Antibes.

In partnership with Xavier Niel and in association with Ateliers Jean Nouvel, OXO (Manal Rachdi) and AAFB (Foussat Bapt architecture studio), the project involves the creation of 40,000m² of tertiary activity space, hotels and amenities within Europe’s largest technology park, Sophia Antipolis.

Ecotone Antibes has three aims:

  • To become the gateway and the new tertiary image of Sophia Antipolis

  • To create a 21st century campus model in France

  • To become the centre of excellence for biomimicry in the South of France

The infrastructure will include:

  • 32,000 square metres of office and co-working space

  • A 4* hotel with 120 rooms, a swimming pool and spa (7,000 square metres)

  • 1,200 square metres of shops and restaurants

  • 750 parking places

Surrounded by 27,000 square metres of parkland, Ecotone Antibes will be the most vegetated building ever built. Fully integrated into its surroundings, Ecotone will eventually accommodate approximately 3,000 people.

The model was presented for the first time in the context of the International Market for Real Estate Professionals, MIPIM, held in Cannes.

Practical information


Based in Sophia Antipolis, VIDETICS is an Intelligent Video Analysis software edition company


Based in Sophia Antipolis, VIDETICS is an Intelligent Video Analysis software edition company, specialised in Deep Learning founded in 2019. VIDETICS’ core activities focus on developing Artificial Intelligence video analysis tools using software solutions specific to the Smart Cities universe, supplying people with the most relevant information for decision-making. The aim is to generate real-time alerts and statistical data to enable infrastructure managers to anticipate and prevent road congestion and to avert risks flagged up by the system.

Worldwide, 1 million people move to cities every week. This growing urbanisation creates significant logistical challenges (road congestion, waste handling, safety, etc.) and entails changes to infrastructure. Current infrastructure is not designed for the number of people who currently reside in some French cities.


VIDETICS Perception technology

VIDETICS Perception offers a software suite which analyses camera streams, making it possible to retransmit relevant information in real time to ensure an in-depth understanding of the city’s infrastructure and buildings for operators and infrastructure managers, who need to make informed decisions.

VIDETICS developed this solution in the laboratory, making use of existing IP cameras to use them asultra-powered sensors within 2 years. Thanks to artificial intelligence video analysis, this system enables Deep Learning intelligent processing of video streams.

VIDETICS is working actively on human action recognition, in order to protect vulnerable individuals and isolated workers. A number of developments are currently underway.



Riviera start-up, VIDETICS has just announced the raising of 2 million euros from several investors and BPI France. to enable the company to continue developing its technologies to address the challenges of major sporting events to come, such as the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympic Games, which will be held in Paris.

To support its development and technological progress, VIDETICS has surrounded itself with a number of key partners. VIDETICS is notably part of the Start-It-Up programme initiated by the Interdisciplinary Intelligence Artificial Institute “3IA Côte d’Azur”, which helps consolidate its ties with research institutes.

In keeping with its investment in Smart Cities, the start-up has also begun its expansion into the Smart Building market with a new, developmental project in Morocco, where it is analysing the 160 cameras at Mohammed VI University in Ben Guérir in order to reduce the building’s energy consumption.

The fundraising will also support the expansion of the company’s teams and skills. VIDETICS currently has 12 staff members and plans to recruit an additional 13 employees by the end of 2022; primarily developers and project managers.

Further information

Find out more at:


Software quality and the development of business applications


Founded almost 17 years ago by former Microsoft consultants, SoftFluentis composed of a team of leading experts in Microsoft technologies, software quality and the development of business applications including software eco-design.

Today, SoftFluent has 80 employees who are all specialised in .NET development and who provide daily support to a large number of major corporate clients, Mid-Sized Businesses, publishers and start-ups covering the entire value chain, offering:

  • – A consulting division and high-level advisory services: Architecture Design, Code Review, Due Diligence, CTO as Service, R&D as Service
  • – An application development division: modernisation of applications, custom software, Azure Cloud migration, agile methodologies, DevOps process.

Thanks to its consultants’ expertise in connected web, mobile and client-rich application architecture in complex environments such as On Premise and Cloud, SoftFluent supports its clients in all their IT projects, either at its service centre or on-site for technical assistance to help develop your team. Discover our good development practices, recommendations for IT decision-makers and our consultants’ top tips on our blog.

SoftFluent also supports humanitarian causes and contributes its expertise to health services with stakeholders such as Stago and EIG. Amongst others, SoftFluent has worked with Chartres hospitals in France to develop a digital tool to make a lasting improvement to comfort in ICUs.

Apart from its innovative ITC activity, SoftFluent has enhanced its offer of digital transformation and productivity software editing expertise, with innovative offers handled by its subsidiaries, including Abeee, a HR integration and retention solution and RowShare, a collaborative product for collecting and visualising data in complete confidentiality.

The company’s employees are shareholders through a FCPE[employee shareholding fund] and can therefore be part of its development strategy.

What’s more, their participation in Great Place to Work and being included on the winners list in 2016 (fewer than 50 employees) and in 2020 (more than 50 employees) reflect an HR management policy which puts people at the heart of the company’s success.

More information

For more information :


A requirement management tool


Requirement Yogi was founded by Adrien Ragot in 2013. The company, originating in Lyon, which provides a requirement management tool, has picked Sophia Antipolis for its new headquarters.

For handling long and complex specifications, Requirement Yogi helps you to simplify navigation and monitor requirements. The solution sets itself apart from large publishers, in particular thanks to the agility of its solutions and the customisable tool which is available in the cloud.

Project managers often use Word for specifications with many requirements, which are so technical that the files often contain thousands of pages. The Requirement Yogi solution is a business-specific software which delivers significant time savings, while respecting and streamlining the overall specifications process and ensuring customer satisfaction.

As part of the various integration stages, the Requirement Yogi solution enables you to write requirements in free text in your intranet (Atlassian Confluence), annotate them with sequential numbers and properties, and integrate them into the second phase using Jira to manage change requests, coupled with Confluence to manage static documentation. The solution can be directly integrated with external tools, such as ReqIF, the XML standard of requirement exchange. The last phase will therefore lead to the management of test plans in free text with images and explanations, while ensuring you have fulfilled all specifications.

Requirement Yogi is used for managing complex projects calling for the mandatory use of software, particularly in sectors such as industry, aeronautics, space applications, automobiles and banking.

For Requirement Yogi, setting up in Sophia Antipolis to consolidate its development means benefitting from an area boasting technological prowess, an entrepreneurial mindset and a labour pool of thirty thousand highly qualified individuals, with a strong international orientation, and which offers a less dense living environment from an urban planning point of view.

Following on from its recent installation in Sophia Antipolis, Requirement Yogi intends to recruit several new staff members between now and 2023 to respond to increased demand and to complement the existing team of three people.

The installation was made possible thanks to support provided by Team Côte d’Azur, the Department’s Economic Development Agency, whose purpose is to develop exogenous investment, to woo businesses and talent and to create jobs and wealth in the local ecosystem; making company setups possible and turning them into a success.

More information

Learn more about Requirement Yogi at:


Digital mobility-focused solutions


Instant System, based in Sophia Antipolis since 2013, is a pioneer and leader of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). The company designs applications allowing users to choose from a variety of mobility solutions for a given itinerary: train, underground, bus, hybrid bike, taxi, kick scooter, scooter, carpooling, etc.

Instant System have also developed a real time mobility centre (the Instant Hub) enabling them to help clients implement new transport systems thanks to the R&D team, working in tandem with the INRIA research laboratories to propose innovative and intelligent solutions.

Today, Instant System has more than 1,500,000 Users using the app to get around, 100,000,000 kms travelled, an 89% app retention rate and 100 B2B customers at country level.

A “Made In Sophia” mobility app

The solutions IS proposes are built around a growth hacking strategy which helps boost support for our customers and build a real B2C strategy with them. Strategic KPIs & Metricsenable customers to get to know their users better and offer them tailored solutions.

These solutions are based on unique and adaptive technology infrastructure. They refocus services on users by offering them assistance with real time mobility from a wide selection and cleverly combining forms of mobility for a single journey.

Instant System generates virtuous mobility patterns and more efficient combinations in terms of travel time – the best way to convince users to change their habits. Collected data enables cities to better understand mobility needs and optimise services accordingly.

Earlier projects
  • Appli STAR for Rennes
  • ViaNavigo for Ile de France mobility
  • Sibra for Annecy

Instant System is also a partner of the BNP Paribas group through its subsidiary Arval, and helps to design innovative mobility solutions for Arval clients, including STIB in Brussels and Ile-de-France Mobilités, the transport authority for the Paris region,

A comprehensive development strategy

The Sophia based company recently raised 8 million euros to deploy this technology in Europe and internationally and to break into the corporate sector.

Paris Fonds Vert and Opera Tech Ventures support this growth strategy, as well as platform enrichment, thanks to new features (simplification of the purchasing process for combined subscriptions, connectors with new mobility services and MaaS development geared to businesses).

“Instant System approaches mobility with a vision centred upon users and encompassing aspects linked to the environment and the public domain. We believe mobility is a service which must go beyond simple commercial logic, evolve and enable cities to become more hospitable and relieved from traffic congestion”, Yann Hervouët, CEO and founder of Instant System.

Find out more:


A Sophia-based company

Safeguarding health data

iQualit is a company based in the heart of Sophia Antipolis, and more specifically in Sophia Antipolis’ Biopark.

Specialised in assisting Life Sciences companies, iQualit provides expertise and customised solutions for data management. In concrete terms, this translates into business tools such as ERP, CRM, GED, Projets, GPAO, GMAO, etc., adapted to Life Sciences activities, as well as management of IT infrastructure and hosting, both in line with regulatory requirements. Furthermore, iQualit provides Expertise in Information Systems specifically tailored to Life Sciences, with high-quality support, management of qualified infrastructures and the development of customised solutions.

All of the services the company offers are in line with regulatory requirements in order to ensure data compliance, integrity and availability.

The health sector is one of the sectors hardest hit by cyberattacks, bearing in mind that more and more data is generated and transmitted online.

Health data is highly sought after by hackers for resale, disclosure and ransom, etc. Specific protection measures are therefore required in order to avoid such malicious attacks.

In this context, iQualit recently obtained “Health Data Hosting Provider” [HDS] accreditation. iQualit provides hosting for physical infrastructure, as well as offering information management hosting. This type of hosting concerns personal health data such as blood test and MRI results for example.

The main purpose of the accreditation is to protect patients and those persons holding their data, who are at risk of suffering adverse consequences. Data compliance, integrity, availability and traceability must be guaranteed through this hosting, and are strictly regulated by law. Companies and organisations can therefore outsource this task to an external firm such as iQualit to guarantee the security of gathered data.

iQualit obtained the accreditation for all of its activities, and most importantly in the two areas of application required, namely:

  • “Physical infrastructure hosting provider” accreditation, which regulates and guarantees the provision and maintenance of the physical infrastructure of the information system used, as well as physical sites where physical infrastructure is hosted.
  • “Information manager hosting provider” accreditation, which regulates and guarantees the provision and maintenance of virtual infrastructure, as well as of the application hosting platform of the health information system (administration, operation, remote backup, etc.).

What’s more, this accreditation calls for prior ISO27001 certification, which had already been initiated by the company. This is instrumental to ensuring a functional, regulated and protected system; in line with standards and offering customers data privacy, integrity and availability.

Finally, iQualit works with companies and entities to enable the organisations holding such data to focus on core business activities and to delegate information management, such as for example with specialised companies in the dans pharmaceutical industry, who are then free to concentrate on clinical trials and good laboratory practice, while complying meticulously with obligations under the Health Code. In this example, it is an issue of respecting “Generic Good Practice” or BPx regulations, yet another testament to iQualit’s expertise.


meeting with Strategic Management Master’s students from HEC Paris business school

immersion programme

A look back at the meeting with Strategic Management Master’s students from HEC Paris business school, who paid a visit to the Sophia Antipolis Technology Park on Monday 14 June as part of their study trip.

The visit was part of the “Learning Expeditions” immersion programme and meets specific educational objectives to gain insights about the Technology Park and its ecosystem and to promote stimulating exchanges with key local players.

The visit was a chance for students to benefit from another learning framework and to develop different constructive analyses in response to the economic reality of the Sophia Antipolis technology park.

Upon arrival, the students and their teachers were welcomed at the Inria Sophia Antipolis Méditerranée centre. It was an occasion to discuss technology, strategic sectors, French and international companies located in the region, public and private partnerships, artificial intelligence and digital technology in industry and business, as well as an initial approach to the context and developmental stages of the 3IA Côte d’Azur label.

Next, the students were divided into several groups for company visits; these included Accenture, Acri ST, Syneos Health and Nuvisan Pharma in the Sophia Antipolis Biopark. Concrete models for applying AI, cultural management, sustainable development and resilience. The students and companies greatly appreciated the time they spent together.

Thanks to interactive discussions, the students were able to draw comparisons with conceptional elements from their lessons, specifically in terms of strategic positioning, thanks to the consistency of the Sophia model.

Thanks to interactive discussions, the students were able to draw comparisons with conceptional elements from their lessons, specifically in terms of strategic positioning, thanks to the consistency of the Sophia model.

The three groups later came together for lunch at the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy, followed by a site tour, on which they heard anecdotes about the best prospects to come out of the academy.

It was on the “Sophia Discovery Tour*”, a special guided tour created for the occasion, that the students discovered a short historical overview of the technology park and several key locations including place Sophie Laffitte, the SophiaTech campus and INRAE.

It was also an opportunity for their teachers to review a few theoretical concepts during end-of-day discussions with several representatives from the Sophia Antipolis Biopark, Sophia Club Entreprise and Team Côte d’Azur.

Perhaps this one-day immersion helped to generate a few ideas for future projects both for the students and for the Sophia ecosystem.

*Sophia Discovery Tour – A guided tour of Sophia Antipolis Technology Park, offering a personalised experience focusing on visitors’ specific requirements.