R&D: CEA Tech, an accelerator for innovative projects 

#Innovation #Insights&co
© S. Oliver - stock.adobe.com

The internationally-owned companies which are based in Atlantic France are all connected within a business club. In order to tighten bonds and to put the spotlight on regional assets for businesses, webinars are organised frequently. A few weeks ago, one was dedicated to the CEA technological research centre.

The challenges, imperatives, and opportunities of technological breakthroughs” was the title of the webinar organised by Solutions&co, the economic development agency for the Atlantic France region. It intended to present CEA and its Atlantic-France-based technological centre.

CEA is a centre of excellence that specialises in converting research into industry. It is France’s leading technological research centre and the 2nd largest beneficiary of European funding in France. It works with more than 700 partners, 40% of which are SMEs.

CEA stands out for its basic research (mainly nuclear) but also leads technological research activities in digital technology, energy, and healthcare for many sectors (electronics, digital, energy, aeronautics, transport, agrifood, etc.)

CEA key figures

21,000 employees

5.8 billion annual budget

750 patents registered per year

In Atlantic France, there is a focus on the maritime industry, composites, and robotics

The Atlantic France CEA centre was created in 2013 in Bouguenais, on the outskirts of Nantes, explains Tony Prezeau, its Director. In the region, 3 main sectors are being explored with dedicated teams and research facilities. 

Marinisation of energy systems

Began in 2013, 13 people, a 300 sqm technical hall

The CEA works on methods to qualify energy systems in a maritime context: marine renewables, decarbonisation of maritime transport, offshore production of hydrogen and derivatives, etc. 

The Atlantic France regional council has offered support by providing equipment that enables manufacturers to carry out advanced tests on appliances such as batteries.

Tony Prezeau, Director

Robotics and digital systems

Established in 2015, 9 people, a 600 sqm platform

This branch specialises in industrial automation solutions, mostly for the agrifood sector. The projects use robotics to reduce the drudgery of tasks or to respond to labour shortages.


Created in 2016, 6 people, a 400 sqm platform + 1 shared platform with Arts et Métiers d’Angers

The third and last research unit created by CEA Tech Atlantic France is dedicated to materials characterisation and the durability, in particular of composite materials and those produced with additive manufacturing (3D printing). 

Tailored support for innovation

In addition to giving companies access to cutting-edge technologies, CEA Tech offers a complete tailored support package called Y Spot. 

Based on the problems identified by each project leader, we develop an innovative and appropriate technical solution. This concerns product creation or product improvement,  process performance, or sector diversification. The companies can come to our centre and use our facilities, but our experts can also visit their factories if needed.

Tony Prezeau, Director

An example of collaboration: Trelleborg Boots

Trelleborg is the world leader in technical polymer solutions. Founded in 1905, the Swedish Group has 16,700 employees, owns over 100 factories, and the annual turnover approximates €2.8 billion.

Trelleborg Boots is a division of the group and is dedicated to manufacturing steering and transmission boots for the automotive industry. It has 10 factories in 8 countries, including a brand new site in Carquefou, near Nantes (Atlantic France), which hosts the headquarters and the technical centre.

We started a collaboration with CEA Tech in 2019 through the ID4Mobility competitiveness cluster. Our first innovation project was to create a proof of concept. After this, CEA helped us to carry out an important literature study, tests, and measurements, and then a search for new products to diversify our activity. Recently, the research centre supported us with a European partnership proposal for the Horizon 2020 programme. The collaboration with CEA gives us access to skills we don’t have in-house and at a reasonable cost thanks to regional and European funding.

Frédéric Maitay, Innovation Manager at Trelleborg Boots

In Atlantic France, many structures can help boost innovation within your business
Contact us for free and tailored support.

Watch also