The current challenges facing agricultural research, such as finding efficient ways of feeding the world, the sustainable management of plant and animal health, and adapting to climate change, call for extensive efforts and a cross-disciplinary approach which addresses all aspects of these complex issues. To meet these challenges, INRA has initiated a new method of piloting its research, announced in the 2010-2020 orientation document: metaprogrammes. Eight metaprogrammes have been launched since 2011.
Aimed at promoting integrated and cross-disciplinary approaches in research, these metaprogrammes will in the long term mobilize 30% of the Institute's combined resources. Metaprogramme directors are chosen among INRA research division heads and act under the responsability of one of the scientific directors. The director of the metaprogramme brings together scientific leaders of the field, from different INRA research divisions, in a coordination unit with a decision-making role. Each metaprogramme is assisted by an international committee presided by the scientific director, which provides guidance and advice. INRA's Scientific Advisory Board is consulted on the specifications of each metaprogramme before being launched.
Specific focus will be placed on a) the relevance, originality and coherence of projects and initiatives and b) on a systematic incorporation of multidisciplinary, international and partnership-oriented aspects.
Each metaprogramme follows a life cycle consisting of several stages: incubation, exploration, development, implementation, follow-up and evaluation.
Eight metaprogrammes currently running
- SMaCH: Sustainable management of crop health (Director: Christian Lannou)
- GISA: Integrated management of animal health (Director: Thierry Pineau)
- ACCAF: Adaptation of agriculture and forests to climate change (Director: Thierry Caquet)
- MEM: Meta-omics and microbial ecosystems (Director: Emmanuelle Maguin)
- DIDIT: Diet impacts and determinants: Interactions and Transitions (Director: Jean Dallongeville)
- SelGen: Genomic selection (Director: Denis Milan)
- Glofoods: Study of transitions for global food security (Directors: Alban Thomas, INRA and Etienne Hainzelin, CIRAD)
- Ecoserv: Ecosystem Services (Director: Guy Richard)