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Cemagref, National Centre of Agricultural Mechanisation, Agricultural Engineering, Water and Forests, was the result of the fusion in 1981 of two separate bodies: GREF (CTGREF – Technical Centre for Agricultural Engineering of Water and Forests) and CNEEMA (National Centre for Study and Experimentation in Agricultural Mechanisation). Cemagref in turn became Irstea in November 2011 so that its name would correspond to the current content of its research which has evolved over the last 30 years from problems concerning agricultural mechanisation and planning to agro-environmental issues.

Founded on issues which were relevant during the ‘Glorious Thirty’ period (1945-1975), the National Centre of Agricultural Mechanisation, Agricultural Engineering, Water and Forests has rapidly evolved. Questions such as modernising and equipping the countryside and developing agricultural production would give way to new challenges such as the quality of food, managing water resources, controlling pollution, managing natural risks and developing rural areas in demographic decline. The work of Cemagref, and now Irstea (National Institute for Environmental and Agricultural Science and Research), still focuses on the research topics which are central in the development and future of our society and using the same model of targeted research. This work continues to thrive in the aim of finding and creating solutions to pertinent agricultural and environmental questions.