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Research Introduction

Research conducted at Irstea are oriented to by both scientific and societal questions in the areas of environment and agriculture. Their aims lead to innovations for the society and allow assistance to public or private decisions. Irstea is characterized by a targeted research ..

Irstea counts 24 research units and joint research units. This network which makes the living tissue of research is a place of constant interaction with other research actors: higher education, other organizations, economic sector, foreign partners...

It is within the laboratories where missions are accomplished :

  • development and production of knowledge in all disciplines ;
  • evaluation of research results ;
  • training by and for research ;
  • dissemination of scientific and technical information.


Within the laboratory are grouped teams of researchers, engineers, technicians and administrative staff, teachers-researchers, postgraduate students and foreign scientists received for limited periods.

Question to Pierrick Givone - Scientific Director of Irstea
What is the common theme running through all Irstea’s research?

There are three prongs to Cemagref’s scientific strategy:

  • Approach environmental research topics with an enhanced understanding of their complexity. Natural environments are constantly adapting and changing and, therefore, are essentially complex. Increasingly, environmental research projects are jointly designed with actors from society, and the permanent interactions at all levels between human uses and natural environments makes them ever more complex.
  • Devise and implement systematic transdisciplinary practices. This means, in particular, encouraging holistic scientific approaches covering biological, geological and physical sciences and soft and social sciences in order, for example, to fully apprehend natural resource evaluations, the ecological benefits conferred by the environments in question and the usage conflicts arising from their exploitation.
  • Maximise the social usefulness of the research carried out and the results produced. This entails close tie-ins with land use development public policies in the broader sense, which, of course, in no way precludes the production of scientific and technical excellence.
Scientific excellence

The fame of Irstea comes primarily from its talented researchers justly rewarded in 2010 :

  • February: Award National Instruments 'embedded systems' to a team of Grenoble (F. Naaim, H. Bellot, TR Rivage, UR Etna).
  • July: three hydrologists - Vazken Andréassian and Charles Perrin and Audrey Valery (PhD student until last February) - collectively received the Tison price of the International Association of Hydrological Sciences (IAHS) at UNESCO. 
  • Julien Lerat was awarded the Henry Milo of Hydraulic Engineering Society for his thesis.
  • Rima Ghemraoui received the silver medal for thesis prize of the Academy of Agriculture.
  • November: the project DIGESTAERO Fabrice and Patrick Béline Dabert (UR "Environmental management and biological treatment of waste" in Rennes) with Guillermina Hernandez-Raquet (INRA) was awarded to Pollutec among the innovative techniques for the environment.