The Industrial Chair of Engineering and Frugal Innovations (I3F)


The I3F chair (I3F is an acronym of I for Innovation, I for Engineering [Ingéniérie, in French], I for Industrial and F for frugal) is a pole of knowledge for developing and disseminating industrial knowledge and experience in the field of frugal innovation in engineering (i.e. “simple,” lacking unnecessary complexity).

I3F, the first industrial chair of the University of Paris-Saclay, is an interdisciplinary place of gathering and sharing between academic teams working on engineering and frugal innovation in a broad sense and economic players sharing the same ambitions.

About ten researchers are now involved in the activities of the Chair (founded in 2015), in the technological fields of the schools that carry it (AgroParisTech, Telecom ParisTech, Institut d’Optique Graduate School) and in the Economic and Social Sciences field. I3F is supported by the Foundation Carrefour.

“Frugal” has become a generic way to describe and qualify an open, evolutive set of engineering and innovation methods. One of the Chair’s scientific challenges is to describe this concept, by articulating field studies, engineering and management principles, methods and procedures. I3F’s scientific positioning is close to action research, i.e. a research that favors in-situ, contextual, meaning-making processes, and the production of actionable knowledge.

Three lines of research structure the Chair program (three levels of analysis [micro, meso and macro]):

  • Frugal engineering (Reducing Complexity),
  • Open innovation and its ecosystems (Organizational frugality and democratization of innovation),
  • global and territorialized innovation (frugality as proximity to markets of supply and demand).