Innovation and partnerships

innovons ensemble
innovons ensemble

The Innovation program of IDEX aims to structure and stimulate innovation emerging from research activities of Université Côte d'Azur's members. 
The strategy is based on three different calls for proposals:

  • "Partnerships" for R&D collaborations between a company and a research laboratory
  • "Prematuration" for proof-of-concept projects for valorization purposes
  • "Deeptech Start-up" to assist with the creation of a start-up producing groundbreaking innovations.

These actions are carried out in conjunction with the valorization units from UCAJEDI members and those in the public and private sectors with an interest in innovation (SATT Sud Est, Incubateur PACA Est, BPI France). This strong action in favor of innovation is combined with the activities of the Reference Centers, which focus specifically on societal challenges and local issues in their disciplines, around technological platforms and expertise in science and engineering. See, for example, the IMREDD Smart Territory Reference Center.

Partner companies for innovation: examples


Kinaxia was created in 2010 as a start-up, and it has now become an SME with 160 employees that offers innovative applications for the real estate sector. After the success of 2 collaborative R&D proposals in response to the UCAJEDI Partnership calls in 2017 and 2019 and the subsequent recruitment of 2 post-doctoral associates, Kinazia was able to incorporate AI solutions into their service. This innovative approach was developed with UCA's I3S and ESPACE laboratories. Kinaxia was an early partner of the 3IA institute, which has enabled 2 CIFRE PhD students to begin their research on this topic in fall 2020.


The start-up, Mycophyto, was created in 2017 as a result of support from the Sophia Agrobiotech Institute (INRAe, UCA, and CNRS), and the prematuration 2016 IMPACT project. Mycophyto now offers natural biostimulatants (mycorrhizal fungi) for sustainable agriculture. After receiving several local and national awards, Mycophyto was awarded the iLab label from BPI France with €245k of funding and was able to secure €1.4M from private investors thanks to Partnership support from UCAJEDI for an AI project with researchers from INRIA. Mycophyto currently holds 2 licensed patents, has grown to 13 employees, and is also a partner of the 3IA Institute.


Amadeus, a worldwide leader in information systems for civil aviation with 3000 employees located in Sophia Antipolis, signed a major partnership agreement with UCA in 2017. The agreement covers collaborative research in AI and the humanities to better understand the global behavior of travellers, and includes specific continuing education programs. Three R&D projects focusing on AI were cofunded by Amadeus and UCAJEDI, starting in 2018, and 3 seminars were given by UCA faculty to Amadeus engineers, which brought together 2650 people from several locations around the world (Sophia, Bangalore, Barcelona). In 2021, projects will be centered on the modeling of travellers' behavior with research groups in economics, psychology and behavioral analysis. Amadeus is a partner of the 3IA institute.


Therapixel is a start-up that emerged from INRIA in 2013 and now employs 20 people. Together with the CHU, they submitted the RADVISE-X proposal in 2017 aimed at assisting radiologists in their analyses of lung images for the detection of tumors. By applying AI and deep learning approaches, a 20% decrease in false positives was obtained by 2019, and a second project now builds upon these promising results: LUNGSCREEN CT. The latter project was awarded €200k of funding from the Explore call for proposals from the pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca, which enabled the recruitment of 2 data scientists. The software developed in this project is co-owned by Therapixel, the CHU and UCA. Lungscreen CT was presented at the European Congress of Radiology as an exemple of application of AI in medical imaging.


In 2018, Université Côte d'Azur and the MyCoach group cofounded the start-up Activiti under the auspices of the French Ministry for Sports. Activiti offers an application with simple physical exersises for patient recovery, which are validated by physicians from the CHU. More.

Start-ups @ Université Côte d'Azur

A start-up Université Côte d'Azur satisfies at least one of the following:
  • one of the founders is a permanent researcher/engineer, post-doc or PhD student of one of the members of UCAJEDI
  • the start-up has a collaboration contract with Université Côte d'Azur as a part of a UCAJEDI project
  • the start-up has a licensing agreement for an asset developed within the framework of a UCAJEDI project
11 start-ups have been created: MycophytoYukkin Therapeutics, MusicIA, Pocket ConfidantActiviti, MyDataModels, Epicnpoc, Oui!Greens, Live Anatomy, Mouratouglou Digital Coaching, Human Roads

12 start-ups to be created in 2021

1 equity investment: Activiti créée avec MyCoach

Deeptech start-up program

In 2019, UCAJEDI launched the "Deeptech Start-up" call for proposals in alignment with the Deeptech Program of BPI France. This initiative is specifically for postdocs and engineers who propose a solid proof of concept or a prototype study, where applicable. This new call seeks to fill a gap in the funding scheme for this early stage of development. For postdocs, this tool can be linked with the i-PhD tool of BPI France, and in future this call will be linked with the national program of BPI France.

The UCAJEDI Innovation and Valorization Commission

The UCAJEDI Innovation and Valorization Commission, established on 3 July 2018, brings together representatives of the valorization, technology transfer and innovation services from UCAJEDI members: Université Côte d'Azur, EPSTs (CNRS, Inria, Inserm, Inrae), CHU Nice and the Skema Business School, as well as SATT Sud Est, Incubateur PACA Est, and BPI France. Its primary mission is to evaluate innovation projects that request co-financing from UCAJEDI calls for innovation proposals, in accordance with the valorization and innovation strategies of UCAJEDI members. Prior to the launch of an innovation project, the commission coordinates the support of the different organizations involved, and draws up a roadmap for the maturation and financing of the next stages of start-up development (where applicable), as well as the freedom of use and the conditions of technology transfer.

Innovation program in numbers
  • Prematuration call: 30 submitted proposals, 19 cofunded projets, €4.4M total funding from €1M IDEX funding. Leverage effect = 3.4.
  • Partnership call: 41 submitted proposals, 18 cofunded projets, €10M total funding in response to €1.5 IDEX funding. Leverage effect = 5.7.
  • DeepTech Start-up call (launched in 2019): 17 submitted proposals, 12 cofunded projets, €2.9M total funding from €592k IDEX funding. Leverage effect = 3.8.
  • 12 projects currently following the "Maturation" program of SATT Sud-Est.
Patent applications: 17
Pending patent applications: 10
Licensed patents: 2
Pending licensing: 24 = 12 from Partnership + 12 from Deeptech Start-ups
Collaboration agreements signed with companies: 16
Start-ups created: 11
Start-ups being created: 12
"User's guide" for companies

UCAJEDI released the "UCA Guide for Companies" in 2018, at the first workshop dedicated to the links between Université Côte d'Azur and companies. This guide is a comprehensive summary of the benefits and opportunities that Université Côte d'Azur offers companies, for example, the diverse tools and contracts from the recruitment of trainees and continuing education programs, to collaborative public-private partnerships.


19 prematuration projects

18 partnership projects

12 Deeptech start-up projects (launched in 2019)

Innovation program: facts and figures

Call Submitted proposals Funded projects Total cost Contribution from partners Contribution from IDEX Leverage
Prematuration 30 19 4 419 353 € 3 415 969 € 1 003 384 € 3.4
Partnership 41 18 10 085 240 € 8 605 860 € 1 479 380 € 5.8
Deeptech start-up 17 12 2 904 858 € 2 312 858 € 592 000 € 3.8
TOTAL 78 41 17 409 451 € 14 334 687 € 3 074 764 € Mean leverage 4.7