Portrait of Hugues Jeannerat

Course in brief

Hugues Jeannerat was born in Delémont. Engaged in associative life at a very young age, he quickly showed a keen interest in regional development and its social components. During his compulsory schooling, he dreamed in particular of carrying out tourism projects bringing together actors from various horizons to promote the local economy.

In 2000, he began his university studies in Neuchâtel (UniNE) at the Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences. An interdisciplinary course at the end of which he obtained a Licence in Political Science. Studying at this small university left a lasting impression on him. He particularly appreciates the close interaction between students and teachers as well as the links between the different disciplines (law, economics, sociology, geography, history and political science).

He sees regional innovation issues as a concrete way of bringing together the economic, social and institutional (legal and political) issues under study. As a PhD student at UniNE, he will participate in the "EURODITE" project, a major European research project on the knowledge economy and innovation. In 2012, he will complete his thesis on the challenges of innovation and value creation in Swiss watchmaking.

Between 2013 and 2017, he coordinates two agora projects aimed at promoting a dialogue between social sciences and society. One of the projects focuses on the future of innovation policies in Switzerland. The other focuses on the development of innovative collective projects in the canton of Neuchâtel. At the same time, he is coordinating a collaborative project within the Maison d'analyse des processus sociaux. This project aims to promote the contribution of social sciences to innovation. It is within the framework of this project that a close collaboration with the UniNE's Intellectual Property and Innovation Cluster has been established, leading to the creation of an interfaculty Master's degree in innovation, the first of its kind in Switzerland.

What does Microcity bring to your activities?

Microcity is for now a label, which represents an opportunity to work, think and innovate together. This label has for example been used for the organization of the Journées du territoire 2016 that we co-organize with the HE-Arc, management domain. It is now necessary to concretize it through interdisciplinary collaborations encompassing research, economy and society.

What types of research are currently being conducted as part of the Master in Innovation that could benefit other Microcity members?

This Master's degree, which is unique in Switzerland, provides an approach to innovation in the broadest sense of the term: framework conditions for innovation, innovation management, case studies and theories of innovation. These different areas of reflection allow students to approach innovation from an interdisciplinary perspective and to build bridges between students, researchers, companies and society. Concretely, this can take place in the framework of specific seminars, workshops and conference cycles.

In your opinion, how important is the Microcity innovation cluster for the canton of Neuchâtel?

Beyond the cutting-edge research and innovation potential that the cluster offers for the region's companies, I believe that Microcity represents above all a human resources potential for thinking about the future of the economy and society of the Jura Arc region. Students are, in my opinion, human resources to be valued more. They are the ones who potentially differentiate Microcity from other Swiss innovation clusters focused primarily on the link between research and industry. Actions carried out and co-developed with them to reflect on the future of our economy, our society and our region could provide a collective, reflective, creative, interdisciplinary and intergenerational impetus. More than a label, Microcity would thus become the intermediary and the driving force behind economic, technological and social innovations that go beyond traditional technology transfer.

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