Réunion’s CYROI: A fertile environment for tropical research
Seen from continental Europe, Réunion may seem remote – but of course, it is just a hop, skip and a jump away from many countries in a different part of the world. CYROI, the biomedical research and innovation platform established in this overseas territory of France with help from the EU, is available not just to the island’s researchers, but also to scientists from the neighbouring East African countries and beyond. The affiliated business incubator supports a variety of start-ups.
" CYROI is a research and innovation platform with an associated business incubator. It provides a setting where new ideas relevant to tropical biodiversity, health and environmental aspects can be explored, and where start-ups developing and harnessing fresh knowledge in these areas can flourish. "
CYROI, the cyclotron and biomedical research platform of the French island of Réunion, is dedicated to life science research focusing on health and opportunities offered by the terrestrial and maritime biodiversity in this part of the Indian Ocean.
The platform includes a business incubator that enables promising start-ups to develop and refine new knowledge-based ideas in a setting conducive to innovation, and thus helps to support the island’s economic development. As of July 2016, eight businesses have benefited from this assistance.
From inspiration to innovation
Completed in 2008 after three years of construction work, CYROI supports a growing community of scientists from academia and industry, and helps to foster a new generation of researchers. It offers comprehensive support to researchers at various steps in their careers and work. It provides services at all stages of the innovation process, from fundamental research for the creation of new knowledge to applied research and the creation of businesses exploiting innovative concepts based on the resulting insights.
The platform’s research infrastructure — which includes laboratories for microbiology, organic and analytical chemistry, biochemistry and an insectarium — is used not only by experienced scientists, but also by students embarking on a career in the life sciences.
Heath research at CYROI notably focuses on emerging infectious diseases and metabolic disorders. Other activities explore tropical biodiversity, for example through work on the potential of Aloe species endemic to the region.
No man is an island
CYROI enables researchers to benefit from equipment and services that would be far too costly for individual scientists or laboratories to acquire or operate. It is committed to training and scientific cooperation across the Indian Ocean and at the international level, and it helps start-ups to network with other budding entrepreneurs and the island’s wider business community.
Plans to extend the premises of CYROI-BioTECHnology (CBTECH), the business incubator established by the platform in 2010, are under preparation. Initially designed to house up to three start-ups, the incubator is running out of space.
It is already home to eight fledgling companies, and the upgrade under consideration would allow it to host up to a dozen more. One of the main advantages of accommodation at CBTECH is the availability of private premises and laboratories which enable start-ups to develop and refine their products.
As a further invaluable service to the local community, CYROI produces a radioactive tracer that is used in positron emission tomography (PET), a medical imaging technique notably employed for the early detection of various types of cancer. The required fluorine isotope is generated by the facility’s cyclotron.
The tracers decay very quickly. Prior to the construction of this facility, patients had to travel to mainland France to benefit from this type of imaging. By making it available on the island, CYROI has helped to pre-empt 2000 such journeys In 2012 alone, adding to the quality of life of local patients and to the equity of healthcare provision throughout France, CYROI management notes.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “CYROI: Cyclotron and Biomedical Research platform” is EUR 28 831 424, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 17 298 854 through the “Réunion” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.
FundEuropean Regional Development Fund
Operational programmeOperational Programme 'Réunion'
Project duration01/2007 - 12/2013
Total InvestmentEUR 28 831 424
EU InvestmentEUR 17 298 854
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