The French National Research Agency (ANR) has published the first results of its 2018 general call for projects (APPG), offering funding for scientific research. Ten projects submitted by Irstea have been chosen, three of which are directly led by research teams from its Lyon-Villeurbanne center.
Meeting current environmental challenges
In a context of global change affecting demographics, the economy and climate, the way in which water resources and natural hazards is managed is crucial. The 3 projects led by Irstea and chosen by ANR (APPROve, DEAR and DEUFI) aim to meet these environmental challenges in various ways and develop specific solutions and tools. The funding provided by ANR will provide precious support for these project and highlights not only the quality of the research carried out by Irstea's teams but also its relevance to the challenges currently facing society.
Better monitoring of water quality
The APPROve (Integrated Approach to Propose Proteomics for Environmental Biomonitoring Accumulation, Fate and Multi-markers) project aims to develop biomarkers able to detect the presence of pollutants in the environment and their impact on various physiological functions in invertebrates. This type of biomarker is crucial to evaluating water quality and predicting potential toxic risks. However, biomarkers currently used for invertebrates are not relevant. During this project, scientists will perform a feasibility study using metals to describe and understand the future of contaminants in their indicator species, Gammarus fossarum (a small crustacean).
Once validated for metals, this approach can be used for other molecules, such as pesticides or other contaminants.
Understanding rivers to prevent floods
Alpine rivers are often characterized by large transports of solids, particularly fine sediments such as clay, silt and sand. Successive deposits of these fine materials on shingle banks combined with plant growth increase the risk of flooding over the medium and long term. The aim of the DEAR (Deposits and Erosion of Fine Sediment in Alpine Rivers) project is to reproduce and predict the movement of fine sediments combined with plant growth on shingle banks. This research will be used to provide tools and recommendations to improve the management of alpine rivers and limit fine sediment deposits on shingle banks to prevent flooding.
Evaluating the risk of urban flooding
Although urban flooding has been widely studied, the behavior of water flowing through streets and between buildings is poorly documented. The DEUFI (Details of the Impact of Urban Flooding) project aims to understand the characteristics and impact of urban flooding on buildings and individuals. The project will result in improved methods of simulating urban floods that will be able to estimate the intrusion of water in built-up areas, evaluate risks to residents and material damages. This data can then be used to offer recommendations on the best methods to implement to prevent flooding and manage evacuations, in conjunction with resident perceptions and attitudes during short-term flooding.