The SIGNALIFE Labex Innovation Program is launching the 2020 YEP Call for Projects with the following objectives:

  • To support innovation within the scientific community of the SIGNALIFE Labex for projects with emerging technologies and potential for development
  • To develop new businesses with the aim of launching startup companies within the SIGNALIFE Labex.

Eligible projects will have a low level of technological maturity (Technology Readiness Level, TRL 2/3/4).

This call is one of the innovative actions of the SIGNALIFE Labex extension project (2020-2024), approved by the ANR and funded by the French government.

It is open to projects involving the development of technological and scientific assets linked to research on cell signaling in biology, carried out by or in collaboration with SIGNALIFE Labex teams (IDEX partners), and whose planned development includes the creation of a startup company. A YEP project must integrate one of the biology institutes of the SIGNALIFE Labex (C3M, iBV, IPMC, IRCAN, ISA), possibly in collaboration with INRIA, and must have obtained the agreement of its Unit Director (DU).

The projects submitted must present both:

  • A strong scientific and technological basis, having already been evaluated to assess the potential for development, and
  • A plan to form a startup

Eligible projects will also be backed by one or more of the various support systems for the creation of innovative businesses (Start-up DeepTech IDEX, BPI France, Incubateur PACA-EST, INRIA Start-up Studio, CNRS Rise, INRAE Transfert, etc.).

Expected deliverables will therefore be results or products able to exert a leverage effect, allowing the business project to develop, to reach milestones in technological development, to add value to existing technological assets, to facilitate entry on the market or to build the entrepreneurial team.

The maximum duration of the funded YEP projects is 30 months. The resources allocated include a full- time position for the recruitment of an assistant engineer for the entire duration of the project and an amount of €27k/year for running costs. A total of five YEP projects will be funded by this program.


The project coordinator must:

  • hold a permanent or temporary position covering his/her own salary for the duration of the SIGNALIFE Labex YEP
  • plan to invest time in the creation of a future business (as founder, chief scientific officer, …)

The YEP Project must :

  • either be an emerging project proposed by members of the scientific community belonging to the SIGNALIFE Labex and involving one of its biology
  • Or be a project proposed by researchers outside the SIGNALIFE Labex community working on cell signaling and wishing to collaborate with one of the biology institutes, thereby creating a collaboration with scientists belonging to the
  • Have the support/approval of the valorization/transfer entity on which it depends, notably the maturity level (TRL 2, TRL3 or TRL4) based on the assets of the
  • Have obtained or justify the request of funds from maturation calls. They may come from IDEX or from external structures (SATT SUD-EST, BPI France, Region, Europe, Investment Funds, Foundations, Cancéropôle PACA, INRAE prematuration/maturation program, )
  • Propose a valorization strategy in the form of the creation of a startup company, including target market, innovative component, timelines …

Review criteria

Proposals submitted to the SIGNALIFE Labex YEP will be judged based on the following criteria:

  • Technological and scientific impact of the project, added value in relation to the state of the art and prior knowledge, quality and innovative aspects of the project
  • Economic impact and validity of the planned business model (market, innovation, team, initial capital, initial business plan)
  • Feasibility of the project (structuring, milestones, additional funding and leverage, governance, integration within SIGNALIFE community, links with the local community).


Funds allocated through the YEP program include for 30 months (2 and a half years):

  • A sum of €27k/year for running costs (consumables, small equipment, services, travel costs, )
  • A full-time salary for the recruitment of an assistant

The Labex biology institutes (C3M, iBV, IPMC, IRCAN, ISA) will have to allocate to the YEP project coordinator suitable research area, bear the cost of the infrastructure if relevant, and allow access to their technological platforms, in accordance with the rules in place at each institute. A project in collaboration with INRIA must be hosted in one of the biology institutes.

YEP project coordinators will be able to benefit from cutting-edge training in entrepreneurship (University Diploma in Entrepreneurship)* at Université Côte d’Azur and from a preincubation by incubateur PACA- EST.

How to apply

Applications for a YEP project should be written in English and include a summary in French. They should include the specific items requested (scientific project, startup project, CV, detailed letter of support from the biology institute hosting the project, detailed letter of support from the valorization/transfer entity on which it depends). Applications should follow the Word format of the application form available for download via the link

A support and assistance unit for setting up a YEP project is offered by the SIGNALIFE Innovation Committee (CIS) with the help of the UCA Innovation and Valorization Commission of the IDEX (CUIV). YEP project coordinators are strongly encouraged to consult this unit before submitting the application ( )

Assessment of applications

The call will be open all year long. Proposals will be peer-reviewed by the SIGNALIFE Innovation Committee (CIS) with the help of the UCA Innovation Valorization Commission of the IDEX (CUIV). In the event of a positive evaluation, the CIS will address a funding proposal to the SIGNALIFE Labex Steering Committee (2 meetings/year scheduled in June and November).


* University Diploma in Entrepreneurship : see entrepreunariat