The National Research Alliance for the Environment, AllEnvi, to which Irstea made a major initial commitment, was set up on 9th February 2010 by the Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
Fourth out of the five (*) alliances set up to pave the way for the national research and innovation strategy, presided over for the first two years by Irstea, AllEnvi focuses on 4 major issues in environmental research:
- food, feeding 9 billion people in 2050 whilst preserving the environment;
- water, guaranteeing access for all, in terms of quantity and quality;
- climate, tackling climate changes and erosion of biodiversity;
- territories, abiding by environmental quality rules in town and country planning.
The alliance aims to give fundamental and finalised research a central role in promoting an innovative society, open to the economy and in control of environmental risks, in France and in Europe. It specifically aims to organise coordination of all French environmental research forces and propose joint programming to the financing agencies.
Aside from Irstea, AllEnvi groups together eleven founding members and fifteen associate members, major research operators in the field covering all the scientific, economic and social issues in the environment. This therefore involves over 15,000 researchers joining forces to solve complex problems or interacting on a wide variety of phenomena by contributing diversified knowledge including biology, agronomy, physics-chemistry, town planning, ecology, geography, economic and social sciences. Combining expertise and talents makes them more efficient, whilst preserving each one's autonomy. This organisation also enables researchers to keep working on issues that require long term scientific investment and finally make a name for environmental research in public debate.
Presided over by François Houllier, current President of INRA, the alliance is organised flexibly around an office (comprising Irstea, INRA, CNRS and IFREMER) and the Alliance Board comprising twelve founding members. It brings together almost 250 researchers within 14 topic groups, 2 cross-discipline groups, an Assessment group, a Europe group and a PR group.
It should be noted that the results of the call for projects involving future investments have taken up a major share of environment research, obtaining 15% of the attributed budget, with 9 Equipex, 5 "Biotechnologies and bio-resources" projects and 17 Labex.
The AllEnvi website
(*): Aviesan (Health), Ancre (Energy), Allistène (Digital), Athéna (Human and social sciences).