Saint-Gobain, a €42-billion multinational manufacturer of glass and construction material, is to set up its seventh global R&D centre in Chennai.
The facility, which will generate over 200 high-end jobs, will be housed in the IITM Research Park. The company announced plans to expand the facility to 1.20 lakh square feet from the present 400,000 sq. ft.
Saint-Gobain will lease about 120,000 sq. ft in the expanded facility, to be the anchor tenant in the second phase of the IITM Research Park expansion.
IITM Research Park set up by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras facilitates industry-academy collaboration by providing a common space to work together and also offering incubating space for entrepreneurs.
Saint-Gobain has worked with the institution over the years in a dozen research projects, and now, a concrete R&D tie-up brings the partners closer together, said Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT-M and Chairman of the IITM Research Park.
Didier Roux, Chief Technology Officer, Saint-Gobain Group, said the Group is strongly R&D focussed with nearly a third of its business generated from products developed less than five years previously. It spends over €450 million on R&D annually.
R&D presents a major career opportunity in the Group with skilled personnel evolving to take up larger responsibilities.
The Chennai facility will match its other R&D centres in Europe, Spain and China, he said.
Anand Tanikella, Managing Director, Saint-Gobain Research India, said the centre will start on a temporary facility and shift to the new place, which the IITM Research Park plans to complete by 2015.
Prof Ramamurthi said the first phase had come at a cost of Rs. 110 crore in 2010 and has been fully leased out.