SAINT-FONS, France — In order to support its global growth strategy, Elkem Silicones has decided to build a new Research and Development (R&D) center at its Saint-Fons, France, site. This new site, operational at the end of 2020, will bring together 130 European researchers and will be at the heart of the Chemistry Valley and the Lyon Metropolis to reinforce innovation within Elkem in partnership with many innovative external actors to develop silicones. The silicones industry is experiencing strong growth, driven by urbanization, the electrification of transport means, renewable energies, and the growing needs for care and quality of life. It is a young and dynamic chemistry that requires significant innovation efforts to support its growth.

With this major project, Elkem Silicones doubles the space dedicated to research on its Saint-Fons site, bringing the size of its Research Center to 6,000 square meters, with the aim of reinforcing collaborative research within silicones teams, but also within its open innovation network in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region. Several workspaces of the site of Saint-Fons South will be grouped, allowing the R&D teams to work together in a unique place. The new center will also make it possible to welcome new research projects, add value to laboratory equipment or rethink the ergonomics of workstations. For four years, Elkem Silicones' R&D personnel have increased by 11% in France and by more than 20% worldwide. In total, nearly 130 people will join this new R&D center, with nearly 60% technicians.

Frédéric Jacquin, General Manager of the Elkem Silicones Division, said, "Innovation is an essential strategic issue for our industry and our company. Being able to invest in this field in France, thanks to a favorable local eco-system, high-quality teams and the competitiveness of research in France for many years, is a sign of confidence in our ambition to grow within a global project."