INRA presents its 2015 Annual Report
INRA's 2015 Annual Report presents the Institute's results in a year which was exceptionally eventful. It is presented in 2 volumes: the first is dedicated to life at INRA and its resources and the second to key scientific achievements.
The first Universal Exposition dedicated to food, Milan 2015 provided a unique opportunity to shine a spotlight on what’s at stake, take stock of current knowledge, and showcase technological progress in a domain that is at the core of our mission. INRA coordinated the participation of AllEnvi members in the design of the Pavilion France and the 50-some conferences they organised. In Milan, INRA also participated in European Commission events and conferences open to the public organised by Agreenium, which became the French Institute for Agricultural, Forestry and Veterinary Sciences in April.
Preparations for the COP21 began in 2014. Highlights included: The International Agricultural Show, where INRA presented research on soil, an essential component of the interactions between agriculture and climate; the international scientific conferences “Climate-Smart Agriculture” (Montpellier, March 2015) and “Our Common Future under Climate Change” (Paris, July 2015); several events including a Franco-Chinese conference “Agroecology and Climate Change” (Beijing, June 2015); and the launch on 1 December 2015 of the “4 per 1000” initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture. With CIRAD, IRD and CGIAR, INRA contributed to developing this initiative, which seeks to increase the organic carbon content of soils with a three-fold goal of improving soil fertility, adapting to climate change, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions. At INRA headquarters and on the occasion of the publication of a collective work by AllEnvi, the Minister of Research expressed his support for the scientific aspect of this initiative.
In 2015, the Institute also made strides on the issues of food security: the first projects of the metaprogramme GloFoodS with CIRAD were launched, and a study carried out with Pluriagri shed light on the risks facing North Africa and the Middle East, a region marked by soaring populations, a rapid nutrition transition, and the expected impact of climate change.
2015, an exceptionally eventful year
COP21, Milan 2015... an exceptionally intense year, 2015 also saw a revision of the statutes of INRA, an overall evaluation of the Institute by the High Council for Evaluation of Research and Higher Education (HCERES), a period audit by the Court of Auditors, and preparations for carrying through INRA’s vision through to 2025. After deliberations of the Board of Directors on 19 March 2015, the first concrete steps of the AgroParisTech – INRA common campus project in Saclay were taken. A competition opened that will lead to the selection of a project in early 2017 and preparations started for a support structure. Lastly, the two missions that I myself oversaw, “Agriculture – Innovation 2025” and “Citizen Science” provided a unique opportunity for stimulating collective adventures concerning complementary facets of agricultural research. My hope is that both one and the other will make a maximum contribution to implementing the national research strategy adopted by the French government in 2015.
Scientific strategies, priorities and research
In 2015, INRA researchers co-authored more than 4,000 peer-reviewed publications with colleagues from over 130 countries. It was therefore an extremely hard task to choose which research should be highlighted here. We did not choose the “best” research, which is a subjective assessment anyway, but rather the research that best reflects INRA’s strategic priorities, which aim to generate high-quality research with an impact that is also socially responsible and collaborative.
High quality because the production of quality research is a strong motivator for the institute and its researchers.
With an impact because INRA is a public institution that serves society by studying agricultural systems and food-related issues. At the start of this new millennium, we are facing a period of transition that is unprecedented in its intensity, speed, and complexity: there are ever emerging challenges related to demography, nutrition, biomass use, and climate change, just to name a few.
Collaborative because science is not a solitary pursuit. Tackling these challenges requires multiscale, multidisciplinary research whose quality will be enhanced by the contributions of a multitude of collaborators.
Socially responsible because INRA research addresses issues that affect our daily lives as well as our future—the institute conducts science for society.