Ahe PS deputy and deputy mayor of Grenoble has just been appointed Minister of Higher Education and Research at the age of 57, after joining François Hollande's campaign team in charge of innovation.
Geneviève Fioraso began her career in politics by becoming in 1983 the parliamentary assistant of the socialist deputy-mayor Hubert Dubedout. In 1995, she became the chief of staff of the new socialist mayor Michel Destot.
Since 2001, she has been his deputy for the economy, trade, crafts and innovation at the Grenoble town hall and first vice-president of the agglomeration community. As a Member of Parliament, she has taken part in the Economic Affairs Committee, the Parliamentary Office for the Evaluation of Scientific and Technological Choices (OPECST) and was draftsman of the budgets on industry, energy, sustainable development and technological research in 2009, 2010 and 2011.
Participating in reports on the evaluation of the application of article 19 of the law on the research programme in 2008 and on synthetic biology in 2012, Geneviève Fioraso chaired the Forum for Higher Education and Research of the SP in May 2011 in Toulouse. She had joined François Hollande's campaign team in charge of innovation, as part of the "Productive Pact" aimed at supporting competitiveness in France.
Since 2007, as a socialist deputy in the first constituency of Isère, she has been taking up issues in the National Assembly in her favourite areas, research and innovation.
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A very private experience
Geneviève Fioraso is a specialist in the economy of research and innovation. After Hypokhâgne and two master's degrees in English and economics, she taught for three years before embarking on a more political career as an information officer and then parliamentary assistant to the charismatic mayor of Grenoble Hubert Dubedout, the inventor of municipal action groups.
But she has also worked in the private sector, notably in the management team of Corys, a high-tech start-up founded in 1989 by Michel Destot, a specialist in energy and transport simulators.
She also managed the Rhône-Alpes digital agency and, after three years as a marketing executive at France Telecom, in 2003 she took over as head of the semi-public company Minatec Entreprise, which is responsible for promoting the innovations of the Grenoble campus dedicated to micro and nanotechnologies. Isn't this world-renowned competitiveness cluster the perfect model for an industrial eco-system and innovation?
His background certainly testifies to his good knowledge of industry and new technologies, but perhaps not of academia. And in this sector, there are many building sites to be set up.
The "passion for innovation"
Baptized the "passionaria de l'innovation" in the early 2000s, Geneviève Fioraso believes that her role as an elected official is that of "facilitator" or "connecting" or "realization". "In Grenoble's ecosystem, such an attitude would be commonplace if the elected representative did not apply this principle to all sectors of the economy, from traditional industry to biotech, and to urban planning conceived as a vector of development. As an assistant for economics at the university and research of the city of Grenoble, she is constantly putting together the files, putting the players in touch with each other, financing the infrastructures and giving a helping hand, and making valuable contacts.
"Our brain is not binary," Geneviève Fioraso recently explained at a conference, stressing that Grenoble's innovation projects "know how to combine large industrial groups and start-ups, decentralized ecosystems and centralized energy production systems, and how to create synergies between education, research and business. (Source: lesechos.fr / 16 May 2012).
These principles are sure to apply to the department that has just been entrusted to him.
Geneviève Fioraso's blog: http://www.genevieve-fioraso.com/
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