Professor Carlos Moreno
“At a time when our world is changing profoundly as a result of major technological, economic, social, environmental and political changes, urban spaces crystallize all the challenges of our future development, and yet the city of tomorrow, like that of yesterday, it must be a place of encounter, exchange, life, a city for women and men who live and make it live.”
CARLOS MORENO — ONE MAN, MANY WORLDS
Carlos Moreno was born in Colombia in 1959 and moved to France at the age of 20. He is a Senior University Professor, an international expert of the Human Smart City, and a Knight of the French Legion of Honour. This scientist and humanist describes his exceptional career as a path guided through and through by passion: a passion not only for innovation, creativity and exploration but also one for sharing, connecting, and building ties with others. A journey on which he has explored a variety of disciplines and fields in a wide range of spheres – teaching, research, business and industry – strong in his conviction that innovation springs from interaction among them.
TEACHING, RESEARCH AND SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTATION
Carlos Moreno swiftly joined France’s scientific community in 1979. In 1983 he became a researcher and lecturer at the IUT in Cachan at the Université de Paris Sud, working in the computer science and robotics laboratory (LIMRO). There, he was a leading figure in robotics, a budding discipline at the time which draws on IT, electronics and mathematics and studies the interface between robots and their environment.
Mr Moreno’s work in robotics and artificial intelligence made him absolutely certain of two things: one, that systems must be designed in terms of complexity (as defined by French thinkers such as Henri Laborit and Edgar Morin), meaning that an entity can only be understood in relation to its environment and must be studied in the context of how it relates to and depends upon other factors; and two, that this ‘complexity’ can be applied in the real world to create value through innovative services and uses. Also during this period, Mr Moreno helped create one of France’s first technology transfer offices in the Paris region, at the CERMA in Cachan.
In 1990, after taking part in its creation, he began working at the Université d’Evry, where he became a Senior Professor. While working at the computer sciences lab (LaMI – Laboratoire des Méthodes Informatiques), a joint unit run by the CNRS, he founded and directed the “Distributed Reactive and Adaptive Systems” team and developed extensive ties with industry. In the late 1990s, the creation of Genopole, a biotechnology cluster in Evry, gave scientists, research engineers and entrepreneurs at the university an opportunity to work together despite their different backgrounds and specialisations — an approach that Carlos Moreno has tirelessly promoted since.
Exploring a system from the viewpoint of complexity means understanding it in context and studying its vitality as manifested in the relationship among its component parts, the energy which creates these, and the changes made in order to establish an equilibrium, extract knowledge, introduce change, make a breakthrough, anticipate a death or predict the emergence of new situations.
ADVENTURES IN BUSINESS
In 1998, a new law on innovation and research in France (the ‘Allegre Law’) enabled researchers to start their own business. Professor Moreno quickly seized this opportunity to rally his best PhD students, capitalise on the critical mass of knowledge they had generated, and find industrial applications for the expertise acquired through intelligent complex systems. His start-up, Sinovia, was created in 1998. Based at the laboratory, Sinovia centred on the intelligent control of complex systems with an emphasis on infrastructure. Aided by government funding, Sinovia signed its first partnerships with industrial firms. Every project developed by Professor Moreno during this period has since proven pertinent (see below) and revealed his visionary spirit.
A pioneer in his field, in 2006 he turned his attention to cities – a complex system par excellence – and developed the concept of the ‘sustainable digital city’ as a viable platform from which to provide the services needed to ensure the well-being of a city’s inhabitants. In this context, Professor Moreno’s start-up began working with INEO, a subsidiary of GDF SUEZ, which acquired Sinovia in 2010.
Carlos Moreno became Scientific Adviser to the Chief Executive Officer in charge of strategy for GDF SUEZ’s Smart Cities programme. For five years, he led international efforts to develop the city of the future and created the Live in a Living City forum which brings together experts from around the world to look at how urban environments are changing.
Since November 2015, Carlos Moreno has been coaching promising innovators, policy makers and entrepreneurs through his consulting firm InTI in order to transmit and grow his assets.
Among Carlos Moreno’s contributions in the field of technology:
- Urban platforms for multi-technique / multi-service resource sharing
- Smart street lighting systems which promote safety and sustainable development
- Risk prevention at high-risk industrial sites in France (in line with the Seveso Directive)
- Drone programmes for the French military
- Robotics for genetic analysis
- Reactor control systems (nuclear industry)
- Off-shore oil installations
- Assembly systems (automotive industry)
- Mass market innovation (home automation and assistive robotics)
FOCUSED ON SHARING
Throughout his career, Professor Moreno has strived to build connections between worlds most often devoid of them. His extensive work to build bridges between public entities, major firms and SMEs in the high-tech sector is driven by a firm belief in the importance of working together and a desire to cultivate collective intelligence. He also plays an active role in public and private initiatives in the areas of innovation and research partnerships. As a scientific expert he has taken part in several government committees, in working groups and public service missions. He frequently appears in the media to discuss science, technology and related applications for the general public, and provides project support to value-creating start-ups and other innovative entrepreneurs. Carlos Moreno has contributed significant efforts to developing ties between France and Latin American countries, including relations between major firms with export activities in the region. He has also developed business opportunities and promoted reciprocal technology transfer.
Equal to his passion for creating value through business is Professor Moreno’s commitment to France, a country that has welcomed him warmly and to which he remains a faithful servant. While he no longer teachers in an official capacity, he continues to pass on his knowledge and is closely involved in several public service missions. He was named Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur in April 2010.
The outstanding career of Carlos Moreno is marked by an interest in people – a focus on others through which we can look beyond ourselves to build a new world together.
Among Carlos Moreno’s public endeavours in service of the community:
- Initiated the Live in a living city international conference
- Initiated the City Protocol Society
- Member of the French National Steering Committee of the Carnot Institutes
- Member of the Advisory Committee for Strategic Planning of the Commissariat General for Investment of the French government’s Future Investments programme
- Member of the Scientific Committee of the S2E2 Competitiveness Cluster
- Former representative of France on the Factory of the Future taskforce for the EU Eureka programme
- Former Director of the Comité Richelieu, an association of high-tech SMEs which promotes the Pacte PME, a support initiative for SMEs
- Former director of Regional Centres for Innovation and Technology Transfer (CRITTs)
- Co-founder of Caldas, an international network for the scientific diaspora