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2018 Annual Report

2018, a fruitful year for INRA

Promoting research excellence, fostering innovation, strengthening scientific collaborations in France and on the international scene, developing citizen science, creating a single research establishment in 2020… this report accurately reflects the human endeavours and scientific advances that the women and men of INRA have participated in for more than 70 years, with the enduring goal of serving the common good and expanding the boundaries of knowledge.

Updated on 09/16/2019
Published on 07/16/2019
Keywords: annual report

Philippe Mauguin, president and CEO of INRA, presents a review of 2018:

“At present, it is impossible to pursue certain avenues of research because we lack the necessary highly specialised infrastructure, which demands the investment of significant financial and human resources. INRA has adopted a sound approach for reinforcing and officially recognising these tools while simultaneously pursuing greater openness and superior performance. This approach has yielded results because, in 2018, 60 structures were granted formal status via an internal procedure. Furthermore, two INRA infrastructures, one focused on the sustainable management of forests and the other on the fight against infectious diseases, were included in the French Research Infrastructures Roadmap, and the Institute increased its participation in integrated European infrastructures.

60 structures were granted formal status via an internal procedure

More than ever, research is a global endeavour, and scientific progress must benefit us all. As a publicly funded institution and the second largest agricultural research institute in the world, INRA has a responsibility to develop productive scientific partnerships at all scales. In this respect, the Institute outdid itself in 2018. Our collaboration with the French National Centre for Scientific Research was strengthened and expanded, notably with regards to research on water, green chemistry, predictive methodologies, and biodiversity. A partnership agreement with the European Union's Joint Research Centre (JRC) resulted in new bilateral projects focused on agri-environmental issues, the climate, and soil health. I travelled to Brazil, Argentina, and China with the President and the Minister of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation to create five new international research laboratories and networks centred on rural development, forest genetics, viruses, grape production, invasive insects, and microbiology. With partners in France and Canada, we have also launched an international research network focused on the ties between nutrition and brain function.

In parallel, faced with increasing scientific competition at the global scale, it is important to cement France's position as a research leader. With this goal in mind, Didier Guillaume, the Minister of Agriculture and Food, and Frédérique Vidal, the Minister of Higher Education, Research, and Innovation, asked Marc Michel, president of the National Research Institute of Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture (IRSTEA), and me, president of INRA, to consider merging our institutes to create a single institute by 2020. In collaboration with Michel, I thus asked specialists from both institutes to assess the feasibility of such a project and to envisage the possible resulting synergies. We submitted our report to the two ministers in October 2018. It details the organisational, scientific, managerial, and regional aspects of the project, which received the ministers' support. As the future French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment, we will bring renewed energy to pursuing France's research goals.

Reflecting the human endeavours and scientific advances

Finally, our research accomplishments are meaningless if we fail to acknowledge the skills and creativity of those who work behind the scientific scenes each and every day. Certainly, 2018 would not have been as successful without the improvements we made to our employees' working conditions. For example, after a successful pilot project, INRA now allows all its staff to telework. My hope is that this report accurately reflects the human endeavours and scientific advances that the women and men of INRA have participated in for more than 70 years, with the enduring goal of serving the common good and expanding the boundaries of knowledge.”

2018 Annual Report