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1980s: the expansion of biotechnology

In the 1980s, agricultural and agri-food issues became increasingly complex as a result of overproduction, the introduction of milk quotas, increased awareness of pollution caused by agricultural activities and the first common agricultural policy. Concerns grew about the environment, production conditions and product quality. During this period, the expansion of biotechnology began to have an impact on research. INRA took part in the 1982 biotechnology mobilization programme. There was a special focus on molecular biology. This led to major changes in the investigation of the living world, research practices and researcher evaluation. INRA successfully navigated an academic turning point by focusing on scientific excellence. In 1984, the Institute became a national public scientific and technological establishment under the joint authority of the Ministries of Research and Agriculture. Its missions included improving product quality and suitability with respect to consumer demands, and the protection and management of natural resources and rural areas.