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Co-developing research with regions for sustainable regional development

©Fotolia P. Devain

11/15/2016

Amid agroecology, local networks and circular economies, rural areas are being subjected to significant changes and challenges. In order to imagine and co-develop useful tools (training, guides, etc.), PSDR4 participants gathered for some Researcher Training organized by Irstea and Inra in Toulouse on November 15, 2016 and in Aspet from November 16 to 18. The Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée Region and the French Rural Network also supported the events. 

Started in 1996, the PSDR (For and On Regional Development) program has encouraged cooperation between researchers and regional development stakeholders for over 20 years. For its 4th iteration, PSDR4 (2016-2020) has selected 33 projects in 10 French regions, focusing particularly on innovation and agroecology. The aim of the Researcher-Training organized by Inra and Irstea on November 15 in Toulouse is to imagine and co-develop the phases and work needed to create tools, guides and training programs necessary to provide answers to the challenge of regional sustainable development by 2020. 
By bringing together researchers and regional stakeholders, the day will be used to draw up plans to adapt rural and regional public policies in accordance with new social expectations (environmental conservation, local food, rural-urban connections, etc.).
 

Lessons from previous PSDR

One of the recommendations made at the end of PSDR3 (2007-2012) was to run this type of Researcher-Training event at the start of the program. The aim is to encourage exchanges and partnerships to launch projects. Other lessons learned from the previous program include the incorporation of evaluation times into project schedules, now extended from 4 to 5 years, and the implementation of national interdisciplinary groups. Innovative products from PSDR3 are already being widely used by professionals: 
  • The Rami Fourrager board game®. Aim: to help livestock farmers adapt their grasslands to climate change. 
  • The "Local Networks" guide: tools to take more effective action
These examples demonstrate the commitment that PSDR programs have demonstrated since 1996 to move research out of laboratories and into the real world, to confront social problems and the expectations of regional stakeholders. 
 

Focus on 3 PSDR4 projects

1: Agroecology: This is the focus of 12 of the 33 selected projects, including
 
  • The ATA-RI project [1] which will look at supporting the agroecological transition of the farming industry in Occitanie / Pyrénées-Méditerranée. The project will create the knowledge and tools needed to develop agricultural systems capable of sustainably managing biodiversity, water and soil. Started in 2014, ATA-RI has already resulted in the creation of a decision-making support tool, Capflor®, which encourages mixing fodder species in accordance with the soil and climate conditions of the plot being seeded and the value expected by the user (mowing, pasture, mixed).

Promoting interregional sustainable development through 2 projects:

  • The FRUGAL project [2] will look at analyzing food supply systems for cities in Western France and the Rhône-Alpes region. Farming in these areas is subject to regular crises (economic, health, property, etc.) so the aim is to find a way of relocating food to urban and peri-urban areas to make better use of local resources.
  • The POEETE project [3], which aims to understand the interest and operation of mixed livestock farming systems at both the farm and regional scale in order to optimize sustainability and resilience. This work should result specifically in the creation of a model/simulator capable of testing adaptations, cutting-edge innovations and optimization models for mixed livestock farms.
PSDR4 in numbers:

33 projects, running over 5 years (2016-2020), involving around 180 partner organizations (farming industry, local authorities, environment and landscape, land use and tenure, forest-timber sector) and more than 130 research teams (Inra, Irstea, CNRS, 21 schools of engineering, architecture, politics and management as well as 23 universities). The total amount of funding is €40M (total cost) including €11M in donations, involving INRA, Irstea, regional councils, the French Rural Network and the European Union through EIPs: European Innovation Partnerships. The average cost of a project is €1.1M (total cost), with a PSDR allowance of €290,000. Projects employ on average 20 FTE (full-time equivalents) and are made up of 4 research teams and 5 partner organizations.

Discover project overviews for PSDR4 and information on the researcher-training sessions

Press Contact  Scientific contacts 

Inra Press Service: presse@inra.fr (+33 (0)1 42 75 91 86) -

Irstea Press Service: presse@irstea.fr (+33 (0)1 40 96 61 41)

André Torre, PSDR Program Director (Inra, Agroparistech, Université Paris-Saclay) torre@agroparistech.fr (+33 (0)1 44 08 72 36)

Frederic Wallet, PSDR National Project Leader (Inra, Agroparistech, Université Paris-Saclay) wallet@agroparistech.fr (+33 (0)1 44 08 16 86)

Sabine Nguyen Ba, PSDR National Engineer (Inra) Sabine.nguyen-ba@inra.fr (+33 (0)1 49 59 69 01)

 
For further information: 

 

[1] Support for the agroecology transition - Engineering Research

[2] Urban structures and food management

[3] Considering mixed livestock farming for farms and regions