Seven billion people and in just a few decades 9 billion people, global warming, biodiversity, obesity, malnutrition… Food, agriculture and forestry are at the heart of these major challenges of our time. Their role is essential if we are to meet the growing and changing demand for food, to preserve the environment and contribute to sustainable growth. Those goals can only be achieved if new techniques are found. That is why research in these fields is necessary. France wants to lead this effort.
Since the 19th century, agricultural sciences research has been carried out by major public institutions. Today, research is led by generalist public institutions like INRA and specialized organizations like CIRAD, CEMAGREF and teaching organizations. Recently, a new organization was created, Agreenium, regrouping six of the most important public institutions and French Agricultural Universities, mixing education and research establishments to better address the challenges of the future!
Agreenium is one of the world’s largest agricultural and veterinary research and education organizations. It was founded by six of France’s major research and teaching organizations (INRA, CIRAD, AgroParisTech, Montpellier Supagro, Agrocampus Ouest and the National Veterinary School of Toulouse) with the shared goal of strengthening the links between higher education and research, and highlighting this work on both a national and international scale. Created in 2009, it includes more than 12 000 people and held the First European Summer School on Biorefining.
INRA (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) is the premier research organization in Europe, and second in the world today in agricultural sciences, plant sciences and the environment. It leads research for a healthy, high quality nutrition, sustainable and competitive agriculture, a preserved and valued environment and the protection of animal health. 1,839 researchers, 1,891 doctoral students, 2,572 engineers and 4,121 technicians work together to produce scientific answers to these questions with a characteristic mission-oriented approach.
CIRAD (French Agricultural Research Center for Development) is an organization working for development in the Global South and the French overseas regions. Its research work is generally conducted in partnership. CIRAD’s activities involve the life sciences, social sciences and engineering sciences, applied to agriculture, food and rural territories. CIRAD works hand-in-hand with local people and the local environment, on complex, ever-changing issues: food security, ecological intensification, emerging diseases, the future of agriculture in developing countries, etc. It leads joint operations with more than 90 countries and provides around thirty collective research tools accessible to partners from developing countries.
CEMAGREF (French Research Institute for Environment Sciences) has founded its strategies on two major fields: water and agro-process. Working closely with local authorities and the private sector, its major research themes are: environmental risks (flood, avalanche, forest fires…), water resource and use, clean technologies (ecotechnologies, treatment of organic waste, ecotoxicology…), environment economy and sociology.
IFREMER (French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea), through its research work and expert advice, contributes to knowledge of the oceans and their resources, monitoring of marine and coastal environments and the sustainable development of marine activities. Created in 1984, Ifremer performs targeted applied research to address the questions posed by society (climate change effects, marine biodiversity, pollution prevention, seafood quality etc.), and the seas and coastal waters to support public policy on management of the environment and its resources. It owns eight research vessels, one manned submarine, one remotely-operated vehicle for deep sea explorations (- 6000 m) and two AUVs (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) and work on 26 sites spread along the coastline of metropolitan France and French overseas regions.
ANSES (French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety) conducts missions in the areas of surveillance, expert appraisal, research and reference in a wide range of fields including human health, animal health and well-being, and plant health. The agency provides a cross-functional perspective on health issues and can identify, the risks to which people are exposed through their lifestyles and consumption patterns, as well as through the characteristics of their environment, including in the workplace. In charge of risk assessment, it provides information to the authorities, responds to their requests for expert assessment and provides early warning should a health crisis occur. The agency performs its missions in close cooperation with its European counterparts.
Research is also conducted in partnership with teaching organizations and other public institutions like INSERM (French National Institute for Health and Medical Research) or CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) to address for example the health problems linked to nutrition.