All the partnerships developed by IFP Energies nouvelles (IFPEN) with industry are implemented on a global scale. These partnerships are most numerous in its traditional sectors of activity. They involve oil, gas and related companies, motor vehicle manufacturers and equipment suppliers, etc.
However, the number of partnerships in the new energy technologies (NETs) sector is growing significantly.
IFPEN proposes several different types of collaborative R&D projects.
Bilateral research contracts involve IFPEN and its partner jointly funding a research project and defining rules relating to ownership of the results. IFPEN works with over a hundred industrial partners in France or internationally. In the field of oil and gas production hoses, IFPEN has been working in partnership with Technip for a number of years.
Research consortiums bring together several partners, who pool their resources and expertise. More often than not, in basic research, the results are shared between the partners at the end of the project.
Joint Industry Projects (JIPs) are a specific type of consortium, mainly concerning exploration and production-related activities. IFPEN operates the R&D program alone. On completion of the project, the companies use the results, but IFPEN retains industrial ownership. Around three new JIPs are created every year, on average.
Another form of collaborative research has recently emerged: research demonstrators. These differ from consortiums and JIPs in terms of the magnitude of the resources deployed.
The last step in the validation of a technology prior to its industrialization, demonstrators are closely linked to the emergence of new energy technologies. The technical complexity of NETrelated projects and the associated financial stakes make working together essential, in order to validate a complete technological chain rather than a single isolated technology. This new type of collaborative research brings together R&D players like IFPEN with industrial players familiar with research demonstrators of this type, keen to conduct experimental development work (Futurol and BioTfueL projects, for example, in the field of 2nd-generation biofuels).
Finally, IFPEN is involved in numerous competitiveness clusters. Created by the public authorities to strengthen the role played by regions in research, competitiveness clusters bring together companies, higher education institutions and research bodies on the same site, working as partners on innovative projects.
IFPEN's innovations can give rise to licensing out operations, such as the IFPEN libraries integrated into the LMS Imagine.Lab AMESim platform, for example. They may also lead to joint offers: in 2011, IFPEN, Beicip-Franlab and Rhodia created the Chemical EOR Alliance™ together in order to market a joint services and consulting offer targeting chemical Enhanced Oil Recovery activities for the oil industry.
Patent filing is a key component of IFPEN's research development strategy. With a portfolio of over 12,600 active patents worldwide, IFPEN was the 11th ranked patent filer in France in 2011 in terms of the number of patents published and the 11th ranked French patent filer in the United States (2010). This “patentability” is taken into account from the very start of research projects, with the involvement of IFPEN's industrial property specialists alongside R&D project managers.
IFPEN nurtures relationships with major industrial players within partnerships on an international scale. The training activities of IFP School and IFP Training play an essential role in these business relationships. By training high-potential employees in foreign companies, they help to forge strong ties with the people destined to become the future industrial and political elite in their own countries.
2011 Activity Report - Part 5: From research to industry (PDF - 1.9 Mo )