The international city of knowledge: a tertiary center in the heart of a cross-border program

Countries: France, Switzerland
Border(s): France-Switzerland,
Greater Geneva,
- Cross-border conurbations
- Spatial planning and development
- Economic development
- Education, training and languages
- Research and innovation
- Public Services

Lead partner: Communauté de Communes du Pays de Gex

In response to the necessity of rebalancing economic activity between the two countries, the "Cité internationale des savoirs" (International city of knowledge) project, between Geneva and the Pays de Gex in the Ain department, plans the development of a 10-hectare site as a skills centre dedicated to knowledge transfer and innovation. An integral part of the cross-border economic and spatial planning strategy of the "Cercle de l'Innovation" and linked with the major facilities of the region (airport, CERN, NGOs, etc.), the centre initially accommodate two training organisations, an NGO and a private property development programme.

Project goals

The objective is to develop a large-scale partnership project on both sides of the border, between Geneva (CH) and Ferney-Voltaire (FR).

Project activities

The International city of knowledge

Spread over ten hectares, the international city of knowledge will be devoted not just to training, research and innovation but also to NGOs and the dissemination of cultural and scientific knowledge. As a multifunctional hub it also provide facilities for the service sector and hotel accommodation. One of the issue is to share the facilities (lecture theatre, conference rooms, video-conferencing facilities, interpreting booths etc.).

A first building in 2015

  • 4000 m2 for the service sector will be ready by the end of 2015.
  • The National centre for training and research for the Lake Geneva area (CNAM Léman), the Greta Val Bugey Léman (training for adults) and private activities have all expressed interest in the site.
  • Its advantages are the perfect site with premises that are functional, suitable and provide room for expansion.
  • This first service sector building is complemented by hotel facilities: a top end hotel and apartment hotel.

A very special location

  • Geneva international airport (13 million passengers in 2011, 17 million expected in 2025) is only 3 minutes away.
  • The Geneva international organisations quarter (40,000 diplomats and staff, 36 international organisations and 25 NGos) is only 8 minutes away.
  • CERN one of the largest research laboratories in the world (2,500 scientists permanently on site and 8000 scientists using the facility) is 10 minutes away.
  • Palexpo, conference and exhibition centre (1.3 million visitors annually) is 4 minutes away.

A wide range of services

  • International connections
  • Hotel facilities
  • Service sector activities
  • High quality training
  • Interpreters’ booths
  • Leisure

Project duration

The Communauté de Communes du Pays de Gex launched a competition in May 2012 for promoters and architects to start up the project.