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Agricultural research in Montpellier is recognized as one of 13 fields of scientific excellence in France

INRA President and Director General Marion Guillou, CIRAD Director General Gérard Matheron, and Director of Agro Montpellier Etienne Landais, have the pleasure of announcing the launch of an advanced thematic research network (RTRA) on agricultural research and sustainable development.

The network is one of 13 approved on Wednesday 4 October 2006 by the French government. RTRAs are one of the structural measures taken under the 18 April 2006 Research Programming Act to identify and consolidate the main French scientific poles capable of being among the leading runners in the global research field.

CIRAD*, INRA* and Montpellier SupAgro** are building on their reputation for metropolitan, Mediterranean and tropical agricultural research and on the momentum of the Agropolis International group to:

- help farming systems in North and South adapt to climate change;

- tackle the risks linked to drought, biological threats and emerging diseases, ensure food safety, and fight the erosion of natural resources and biodiversity;

- take up the agricultural, food and environmental challenges posed by continued population growth, globalization and growth in emerging countries.

In consequence, the three founding organizations have chosen to work with their partners to build a network in Montpellier and Avignon, centring on plant science, from gene to system, applying a combination of biotechnical and socioeconomic approaches to temperate, Mediterranean and tropical research issues.

The network involves 500 top researchers and teacher-researchers, split between four specialized campuses equipped with advanced technology, working within elite research units.

The new means placed at its disposal and the quality of the joint research structure created will enable the network to play a major role on the international stage, alongside other globally recognized centres such as Cornell (USA), Wageningen (Netherlands), the John Innes Centre (UK) and the Max Planck Institut (Germany).

* Research operations at CIRAD and INRA concern issues relating to agriculture, food and food safety, the environment and territorial management, with particular emphasis on fostering sustainable development. INRA primarily works on temperate areas and CIRAD on the intertropical belt.

** In January 2007, Montpellier SupAgro will be a single establishment associating four organizations headed by the French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, working in Languedoc-Roussillon: Agro.M, CNEARC, ENSIA-SIARC and the CEP in Florac. Along with Agro ParisTech, it will be one of the two leading French agricultural higher education establishments.

Helen Burford | alfa
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