The fields of aviation, defence and homeland security present a major potential for development on all continents. The effectiveness of these high value-added economic and scientific sectors can be greatly enhanced through daily interactions and anchoring within a coherent geographical perimeter. They flourish even more in close proximity to business units that can provide them with expertise and test their innovations. This is the ambition of the Nîmes Metropolitan area with the Basecamp project, a French and European centre for civil security.
Basecamp, French and European centre
for civil security
The Nîmes Metropolitan area is home to six military units (including the military camp of Les Garrigues), the largest police academy in France, and, since 2017, the National Civil Security base with its search and rescue helicopters and water bomber planes.
Beyond the Nîmes Metropolitan area alone, this economic development project is perfectly integrated into the Innovation Strategy of the Occitanie Region. The ambition is to create a European-scale centre of excellence on some 650 hectares around Nîmes airport.
Here, business units, companies, start-ups and laboratories will find unique facilities, services and a collaborative dynamic in order to design, test and market innovative solutions.
Alongside the French civil security aviation resources, expert centres and economic development structures will be created.
- SIM, a simulation and coordination training centre for civil security aircraft and units.
- TARGET, a test and training area for water bombers.
- ROBOT, an experimentation ground for drones and robots in situations of natural disasters (flood, fire, collapse, etc.).
- DEPLOY, a platform dedicated to crisis logistics and emergency medicine.
Economic development structures:
- Business park.
- Start-up incubator.
- Conference rooms.
- Accommodation and catering areas.
With these facilities, Basecamp’s ambition is to create the first civil security Living Lab in Europe, a real catalyst for innovation and growth for industrialists working in the Security sector! Discover more.
Expertise and support for innovation and development
The activity of the Openîmes Agency aims to offer public and private actors (both companies and research centres) solid opportunities for innovation in collaboration with experts, civil security professionals, and other sources of expertise from the private sector.For more information,
Facilities and tools within the area
In addition to business units, the Nîmes Metropolitan area also boasts certain structuring facilities:
- The Mitra business park, dedicated to the aviation, civil security, industry and logistics sectors.
- The Nîmes airport,
- The training simulator for the coordination of air relief operations (Simulateur d’Entrainement à la Coordination des Opérations Aériennes de Secours, SECOAS), Entente Valabre
- The Olise®Lab platform for the characterisation of visible and infrared imaging systems, and the other facilities of the Nîmes National Laboratory of Metrology and Testing (LNE).
An environment conducive to innovation and development
In addition to its national aerial resources and its structuring facilities, the Nîmes Metropolitan area also boasts a dynamic fabric of companies specialising in civil security, defence and aviation, representing some 1,000 direct jobs and a cumulative turnover of €125 million, mainly concentrated around Nîmes-Garons airport. The latter is intended to become a regional airport specialising in “special aviation and air-land missions” with the support of the services of the Occitanie Region and the competitiveness clusters.
Companies in the sector
The companies in the sector were either created in the Nîmes Metropolitan area or have since settled here. Whether start-ups or long-established companies, they have sometimes strengthened their presence in the area, convinced by an economic development strategy and encouraged by an attractive and controlled business property policy, with the associated infrastructures.
Events throughout the year
Openîmes, in collaboration with sector actors, organises or participates in events throughout the year. Taking the form of conferences, round tables, etc., these meetings mainly deal with cutting-edge subjects.
The aim of these events can be to discuss current innovations between engineers, project leaders, company managers and experts, the emergence of new collaborative projects, or the promotion of the French civil security cluster. For example, the Aerial Firefighting Europe Conference and Exhibition, organised every two years in Nîmes.
Teaching, research and vocational training
Based on the economic approach, the Agency’s activity is also focused on supporting applied research in civil security through partnerships and agreements with academic actors (notably the University and IUT of Nîmes, the Institute of Fluid Mechanics of Toulouse, the University of Avignon, the University of Troyes, and the Ecole des Mines of Alès).
The thematic areas concerned include aerial fire fighting, aircraft maintenance, field hospitals, disaster medicine, air and ground robotics, logistics and crisis management.
Support for degree courses is also an important approach because the attractiveness of an area necessarily translates into an increase in its capacity to offer specialised training courses directly linked to the needs of its companies (aircraft maintenance, drones, risk and crisis management).
The full range of training courses available in the area, by speciality or diploma/degree, can be consulted on the “schools and grandes écoles” platform.