Aiming for influence
To increase the attention paid to its research themes within the realm of European research, INRAE has developed a strategy for increasing its influence within European institutions, such as the Directorate-General (DG) for Research and Innovation, the DG for Agriculture and Rural Development, the DG for Health and Food Safety, the DG for the Environment, SCAR (the Standing Committee on Agricultural Research), and the European Parliament.
In tandem, the institute has established strategic partnerships with its counterparts in other European countries:
- Notably, INRAE coordinates the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) on Agriculture, Food Security, and Climate Change (FACCE, read the article) and has made significant contributions to the JPI on Water Challenges for a Changing World (Water).
- INRAE is a member of the Animal Task Force (ATF), a platform that brings together public and private stakeholders associated with the European livestock industry.
- INRAE is part of research networks that use interdisciplinary approaches to better respond to the needs of policy-makers, industry stakeholders, and society in general:
- EurAqua, the leading European network for research on water that has 25 members from across Europe;
- ALTER-Net, initially a "network of excellence” funded during the 6th Framework Programme, it now functions independently, has 25 members, and focuses on the complex relationships among ecosystems, biodiversity, and society;
- PEER, the Partnership for European Environmental Research that brings together 8 major European institutes.
- INRAE was behind the initiative "Towards Chemical Pesticide-free Agriculture," which was developed as part of the Horizon Europe framework programme and uses a same approach as the European Commission's plans "Zero Pollution Ambition", "Biodiversity 2030", and "Farm to Fork". The initiative promotes a multidisciplinary approach to reducing the use of pesticides in agriculture; previous efforts have largely focused on the individual contributions of various techniques (e.g., biocontrol, genetics, mechanical methods). It has brought together around 20 European research institutes found in 13 different countries. The initiative is affiliated with the national research programme "Growing and Protecting Crops Differently,” which is led and coordinated by INRAE.
One of INRAE’s priority goals is to spur research on pesticide-free agriculture, a major concern for French and European government authorities and citizens. INRAE is currently leading a national research programme and driving efforts to create a European roadmap.
A strategy for encouraging and guiding research
To encourage its scientists to take part in European research programmes and to guide them along the way, INRAE has developed an integrated strategy that makes use of the candidates' research backgrounds, their research units and centres, specially trained representatives within the scientific divisions, and a system that provides training and information.
Those coordinating collaborative projects receive customised help from INRAE's subsidiary INRAE Transfert, which guides researchers during the entire project development process.
The European Research Council awards 5-year grants to researchers who propose ambitious and original exploratory research projects. INRAE has policies specifically geared towards supporting researchers who apply.