Hollande Pledges $407 Million to Boost Innovative Projects

French President Francois Hollande said the government will spend 300 million euros ($407 million) to subsidize innovative projects and boost growth in seven priority areas, including energy storage and big data.

A tender will start Dec. 1. A committee of public and private sector experts will select projects, granting them about 200,000 euros by the end of the first quarter 2014, to quickstart development, Hollande told reporters near Paris today. The jury will award subsidies of 2 million euros or more to the most promising projects at a later stage, provided that private investors commit the same amount, he said.

“Tomorrow’s growth is in innovation,” Hollande said. “We have all the assets to be leaders in 10 to 15 years.”

The plan, based on a report devised by the 2030 Innovation Committee, headed by former Areva SA head Anne Lauvergeon, aims to revive the economy as French exporters lost market share and corporate investment sagged amid rising taxes and red tape. Other priority areas include rare metals recycling, seabed mining, new vegetable proteins and chemicals and the digitalization of health care.

Hollande last month called on executives from carmakers to software developers and textile manufacturers to help France make 34 new high-tech products, including an electric plane, an ultra-low-energy-consumption car and a faster high-speed train, within a decade.

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