Already over a thousand signatories to the appeal launched by the Metropole and the University of Montpellier to support Montpellier's AI projects

Students, teachers, researchers, engineers and presidents of startups and companies, industry representatives, local authorities, healthcare establishments...: over 1,100 people have signed up to the appeal launched just a few weeks ago by the University of Montpellier, the Metropole of Montpellier and the region's AI players to establish Montpellier as a stronghold for Artificial Intelligence. Among them are many nationally and internationally recognized experts, such as Yann LeCun, father of modern AI, winner of the Turing Award (the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in computer science) and director of AI research and vice-president at Meta.

A call for signatures supporting a region committed to responsible, sovereign and ethical AI

The Metropole of Montpellier and the University of Montpellier are entering the prestigious race to win the major 'IA Cluster' call for projects as part of France 2030, an initiative that aims to consecrate a center of excellence in artificial intelligence.Boasting a dynamic ecosystem, Montpellier is positioning itself as a major player in the field of AI. The 'IA Cluster' call represents an unprecedented opportunity for recognition for this region, which could rise to the rank of International Capital of Artificial Intelligence, highlighting the significant impact of the region's collective dynamics.

The jury auditioning the Montpellier delegation, led by the University of Montpellier, will take place this Monday, January 8 at 10am in Paris . "Everyone has answered the call," stresses Michaël Delafosse, Mayor and President of the Metropole. The University, CHU, ICM, research organizations and laboratories, and local authorities (Région Occitanie, Département de l'Hérault) have expressed their support for the Montpellier project, in particular through a partnership with the Metropole and Région Occitanie.

This candidacy is based on a call for signatures to show their support for this unprecedented mobilization of Montpellier in favor of innovation, research and training in reference AI: has just exceeded 1100 signatories.

The Montpellier bid is the only one to benefit from such broad support from the entire community and the region's ecosystem through all its signatures. It's a unique initiative on a national scale.

Montpellier: a city bursting with AI initiatives

Montpellier Méditerranée Métropole, anchored in the Occitanie region, is a dynamic hub for innovation, offering exceptional academic, entrepreneurial and infrastructural resources . True to its reputation as a gifted city, Montpellier stands out for its proactivity in the field of artificial intelligence: 

  • The University of Montpellier and its academic partners are recognized for the quality of their research, with a strong focus on "Nourish, Care, Protect". Artificial intelligence is present in all fields. AI research at the interface with health and the environment has led to numerous achievements. Take Pl@ntNet , for example. developed in partnership with research organizations (CIRAD, IRD, INRAE, Inria) and laboratories at the University of Montpellier, which, with 25 million users in over 200 countries, combines scientific excellence, participatory research and transfer to private enterprise. 
  • The Metropolis of Montpellier is the first city to organize a local citizens' convention to determine the future uses of AI for its inhabitants and the territory. This convention provides a platform for dialogue and exchange on current and future AI issues in various sectors, combining health, mobility, ecological transition, social justice and user relationship management. 
  • The region is home to numerous companies and startups specializing in and using cutting-edge AI technologies. In addition to the most emblematic players in the digital field (Dell, IBM, Atos, for example) or in fields that make extensive use of digital technology (Grid Solutions, SLB), several companies are recognized as leading players. For example, PRADEO and, which combine AI and cybersecurity, are among the most visible internationally. Startup Numalis recently announced that it had raised funds to provide all the tools needed to build trusted AI. Rooted in the fields of health and the environment, some startups are not to be outdone and are betting on AI, such as VOGO, Intrasense, Predict Services and SWEEP, which is positioning itself as a leader in decarbonization IT solutions.
  • The local authorities, the Rectorat and the University of Montpellier have also decided to join forces to train schools and teachers, from primary school to university level, in artificial intelligence. Thus, for the first time ever in France, all these players have signed a collective commitment agreement to raise awareness and train schoolchildren in Artificial Intelligence, in order to address issues such as the impact of AI on schoolwork, copyright, personal data, fake news and so on.
  • A strong partner in the project, Cines, a national player with three missions (high-performance computing, long-term archiving and hosting), recently saw its skills recognized with the arrival of the Adastra supercomputer. Adastra is the most powerful supercomputer in France and ranked 3rd worldwide for its low environmental impact in the Green 500. At the same time, we are currently installing AI solutions on supercomputers at CINES in Montpellier, creating a unique consortium for local authorities, researchers and businesses. We plan to organize AI awareness and training modules for various institutions, and are preparing an international forum scheduled to take place in Montpellier in 2024-2025.
  • In October 2022, the Metropole of Montpellier is launching a powerful act around artificial intelligence by banning facial recognition by automated processing on its territory, to preserve the public freedom of its citizens. At a time when many cities are looking at the issue of video protection with AI, particularly in the run-up to the Olympic Games, Montpellier is choosing a trusted digital environment. 

"Digital is above all political. What we're doing in Montpellier, at Michaël Delafosse's initiative, is working on a technology that serves the people and our region. That's why we're committed to a trusted, ethical, sovereign and responsible AI. We are the very first territory in France to consult its citizens on AI in the territory, hear their recommendations and feed the future AI and data strategy. It's AI by and for citizens ", says Manu Reynaud, Deputy Mayor of Montpellier in charge of the Digital City.

" Philippe Augé, President of the University of Montpellier, comments: " Montpellier has a large number of projects in the field of artificial intelligence, which reflect the considerable expertise of its research laboratories, partner institutions and companies. The vIA-UM project, in response to the "IA Cluster" call for expressions of interest, reflects these strengths and the dynamic collaboration between all the players involved.

A pioneering city for AI in healthcare

Montpellier, a city of innovation in medicine and Europe's oldest medical school (8 centuries), is renowned for its ecosystem around new medical technologies. As part of the MedVallée project - a global center of excellence in global healthcare - many companies in the Montpellier area are using AI to develop new medical solutions, such as Quantum Surgical, which has just received European certification for its AI-enabled lung cancer surgery robot.
It is also a strong ecosystem for public health research: the Montpellier University Hospital is working on the ERIOS project (Espace de Research et d'Intégration des Outils Numériques en Santé ), within which the ERIOS#1 project brings together the University Hospital, the Dedalus company and the University of Montpellier to create the first center for experimentation on the use of software in healthcare. With several targeted use cases (e.g. for monitoring therapeutic isolation in psychiatry), AI plays a particularly important role, and engineers specializing in generative AI are working alongside researchers to support the digital revolution that is taking place.

In Montpellier, civil society organizes AI events

The new technologies of generative AI are also raising questions about all aspects of Montpellier society: numerous round tables have been organized to examine the future impact of artificial intelligence on different aspects of everyday life: