The fourth INRAE Awards ceremony honours research excellence for a more sustainable future

Illustration The fourth INRAE Awards ceremony honours research excellence for a
Illustration The fourth INRAE Awards ceremony honours research excellence for a more sustainable future © INRAE
On 28 November 2023, INRAE will be honouring excellence and innovation at its fourth annual INRAE Awards ceremony. The event will be chaired by Philippe Mauguin, Chair and CEO of INRAE, and attended by Sylvie Retailleau, Minister of Higher Education and Research, and Marc Fesneau, Minister of Agriculture and Food Sovereignty. The winners, whether researchers, technicians or administrative staff, were chosen by an international jury for their outstanding contributions in support of the Institute’s research activities to tackle the challenges of global change impacting agriculture, food and the environment.

At this year’s awards ceremony at the Élysée Montmartre, INRAE will once again showcase the exceptional contributions of several of its researchers, technicians and administrative staff who have played a decisive role within the Institute in myriad fields, including microbiology for human health and understanding the digestive system, agronomic modelling, the connections between plants and their pathogens, and the study and impact of climate variables.

The winners were selected by a dedicated international jury(see list of members below), which examined the candidates’ achievements, projects and initiatives. The selection criteria included the impact of the work carried out in the research area, creativity, interdisciplinary collaboration and the practical application of the findings.

Lifetime Achievement Award

Philippe Langella , research director at the INRAE Île-de-France-Jouy-en-Josas-Antony centre and microbiologist by training, has developed an innovative approach to turning scientific discoveries related to health into tangible benefits. Philippe works with clinicians and companies to explore the use of lactic acid bacteria for human health purposes, paving the way for innovative applications (Crohn’s disease, cancer, etc.). He has charted a remarkable course from his initial idea, demonstrating how microbiological research can have a genuine impact on human health. His collaborative approach shows how science can be applied in practical ways.

Science with an Impact Award

The Agroclim support services unit, part of the AgroecoSystem Division at INRAE’s Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur centre, is being honoured for its significant impact on research. The unit, which was created 54 years ago, now boasts a 15-strong team whose work focuses on analysing climate variables, observing their effects on crops and helping to interpret future trends. Agroclim’s expertise is widely recognized by scientists, professionals and local authorities. The team’s efforts to disseminate scientific knowledge bring them into regular contact with schoolchildren and the media to raise awareness about the climate emergency.

Innovation Award

Olivier Therond , development coordinator for the MAELIA platform at INRAE Grand Est-Colmar, is an agronomist with a passion for modelling. He oversees the development of this platform, which simulates the dynamics of agricultural production and biomass processing to provide an essential decision-making tool for local and regional stakeholders. Since joining the Institute, this researcher has navigated between field research and modelling, taking part in the European SEAMLESS project and becoming a key player in the field of modelling.

Promising Researcher Award

Martin Beaumont , a research scientist at INRAE Occitanie-Toulouse, studies the biological mechanisms that govern living organisms. Driven by a passion for understanding the mysteries of the microbiota, he explores the physiological aspects of the digestive system of farm animals. The aim is to strengthen their intestinal barrier to be able to reduce the use of antibiotics.

Scientific Breakthrough Award

Sylvain Raffaele , research director at INRAE Occitanie-Toulouse, has spent more than 10 years studying the mechanisms of plant immunity. His innovative work explores the diversity of living organisms, revealing the complex interactions between plants and pathogenic microorganisms. His work at INRAE focuses on teasing out the relationships between plants and pathogenic microorganisms to better understand these complex interactions.

Research Support Awards - dual winners

Évelyne Barbin , assistant at the Plant Biology and Breeding (BAP) Division at INRAE’s Île-de-France-Versailles-Saclay centre, is indispensable when it comes to managing this division, the largest of the Institute’s 14 scientific divisions. With 15 years’ experience, she provides efficient and attentive service, offering invaluable support to everyone in the division. Her commitment, rigour and professionalism ensure that everyone can confidently do their jobs.

Dominique Fournier , documentalist at INRAE Occitanie-Montpellier, helps create value from the centre’s scientific publications. As an expert in the use of bibliographic databases, her talents support INRAE’s scientific and partnership strategy. With a PhD in agronomy, she embarked on a new career path in 2002 to become a documentalist. She is now an expert in scientific and technical information (STI) and raises awareness among researchers on the importance of open science in order to make research results accessible to all at no cost.

2023 jury members

Professor Philippe Gillet, President of INRAE’s Scientific Advisory Board
Main area of research: geophysics

Professor John Porter, University of Copenhagen
Main areas of research: climate change, ecosystem services in agricultural systems

Professor Agnes van den Pol-van Dasselaar, AERES University
Main areas of research: livestock research, sustainable grass and forage systems

Professor Annick Mercenier
Main areas of research: nutrition and health, gut ecosystem

Professor Annapaola Rizzoli, Edmund Mach Foundation
Main areas of research: ecology, epidemiology, risk assessment of emerging zoonotic diseases caused by global change

Professor Alan Matthews, Trinity College
Main area of research: agricultural economics

Professor Teresa Ferreira, University of Lisbon
Main areas of research: natural resources, freshwater ecosystems

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