INRAE : A review of the French-Australian history of collaboration in agronomy #ST16 [fr]

On the 1st January 2020, INRAE (National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and the Environment) was born from the merging of INRA (National Institute for Agricultural Research) and IRSTEA (National Research Institute for Science and Technology for the Environment and Agriculture), two research institutes already well established in Australia.

The recent signing of the new multi-year framework agreement between INRAE and CSIRO (Australia’s leading research agency for agriculture, food and the environment) to strengthen their collaboration (May 2020), renewing the one previously established between INRA and CSIRO, reflects the particularly positive dynamic between scientists from both institutions, and the desire to advance their collaborative efforts in areas deemed scientifically strategic. A review of the French-Australian history of collaboration in agronomy through these institutes.


Agriculture is an important sector of Australia’s economy, both historically and in the structure of its foreign trade. The country’s challenges in this field are multiple, because of the progressive decline of the working population, but also because of difficult conditions due to climatic hazards.

Number and themes of co-publications

With 893 co-publications, Australia ranks 10th among the countries publishing jointly with INRAE, just behind the Netherlands (953 co-publications) and ahead of China (845 co-publications).

The main institutions in Australia with which INRAE co-publishes are the University of Queensland (152 co-publications) and CSIRO (152 co-publications). The Universities of Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and the Australian National University (ANU) are also important partners.

The main keywords of the INRAE-Australia co-publications are represented by the word cloud below (word size is proportional to the number of publications, with a threshold of at least 2 occurrences). Climate change is the main scientific theme explored by the two countries.


Conventions and framework agreements for scientific cooperation

On the ex-IRSTEA side, a framework agreement with the ANU was signed in 2004 and then renewed in 2016 for 5 years. IRSTEA has also instructed in 2016-2017 an International Joint Unit (IMU) project on the theme "Policy Analytics: Recoupling knowledge, values and process for improved public policyin the 21st century", involving in addition to ANU, the University Paris Dauphine (UMR CNRS LAMSADE) and the University Paris Saclay.

On the ex-INRA side, a MoU was signed on 5 November 2015 with the CSIRO for 5 years. Within its framework, 5 calls for exchange projects were carried out (2016 to 2020) in the fields of environmental sciences, plant, animal, and food research. It has allowed the setup of around 40 cross-mobility research projects selected and co-funded, representing an investment of around 150,000 euros for INRA to date.

In 2020, INRAE and CSIRO signed a 5-year renewal of this research agreement, an opportunity to broaden the scope of the CSIRO and INRAE partner units, as well as to support a greater number of projects through the launch of new annual programmes of joint exchange calls (also called "Joint linkage calls"). The new Framework Agreement also includes a wider range of research topics, including food science and health.

For the 2020 call for projects, INRAE and CSIRO have awarded a total of 100,000 euros in funding for nine different projects, which will be implemented as soon as travel between France and Australia is possible again.

Themes of INRAE-Australian partner collaborations

On the ex-INRA side, over the period 2016-2019 linked to the MoU between CSIRO and INRA, 8 exchange projects concerned plant sciences, 6 animal sciences, 6 production systems and 6 food sciences. Apart from the INRA-CSIRO agreement, INRA collaborations with Australia mainly involve co-supervised PhD students.

On the ex-IRSTEA side, expertise in water and land management is acknowledged in Australia. Australia is indeed marked by water issues, which today constitute one of the top national priorities. Environmental considerations, often in relation to water, are thus at the forefront of research policies.

The main themes of collaboration between Australia and ex-IRSTEA are as follows:

  • Water: Water management, participatory modelling, Hydrology, Policy analysis
  • Territories: Forest Ecology, Forest Fires, Geo-mechanics and Torrential Erosion, Biodiversity, Ecosystem Services Mapping,
  • Eco-technologies: Solid waste and bioprocesses, information systems for integrated environmental management, Life Cycle Analysis
  • Computer Science: Text mining, Semantic Web, Spatial information

IRSTEA’s main scientific partners are ANU and CSIRO (water management), the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Sydney and the University of Macquarie in Sydney (forest ecology).

INRAe presentation video

To learn more about this institute, discover the INRAe presentation video:

Dernière modification : 13/08/2020

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