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2017 INRA Awards

2017 INRA Awards

Updated on 12/14/2017
Published on 11/20/2017

Stéphane Travert, Minister of Agriculture and Food, Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and Philippe Mauguin, President and Director General of INRA kicked off the 2017 INRA Awards ceremony hosted by Thomas Hugues at the Salle Gaveau in Paris. Along with Christine Cherbut, INRA’s Deputy Director General for Scientific Affairs, Fabrice Marty, Deputy Director General for Research Support Services, and Philippe Gillet, President of INRA’s Scientific Advisory Board, the three then went on to present six winners with trophies in recognition of their commitment and achievements in different domains of agricultural research.

INRA: above all, a human adventure

“Agriculture in the 21st century must rise to some big challenges, and the men and women of INRA continue to play a leading role. The stakes are high: ensure food and nutritional security for 9 billion people in the near future; manage the resources of our planet more sustainably without compromising biodiversity and health; and combat climate change. In France, we are fortunate to have in INRA a reliable, inventive and bold research programme that is hailed by the scientific community around the world.

For 70 years and counting, INRA is pushing the boundaries of knowledge in the fields of agriculture, food and the environment, and finding solutions adapted to the issues of our time. Indeed, it is the Institute’s duty to succeed. Day in and day out, more than 10,000 researchers, engineers and technicians are working to shape the food and agricultural systems of tomorrow. This collective and demanding mission, fuelled by the right balance between fundamental and applied research, is above all a human adventure. The INRA Awards are an opportunity to shine a light on the lives and success stories that are part of that adventure. The Institute excels in leading the world to the cutting-edge of science while harnessing the impact of research and innovation to improve the lives of people. 

This year’s Research Support Award goes to Françoise Macouin for her key role in managing human resources at the Institute’s Nouvelle Aquitaine-Poitiers centre. Her 30-year career and commitment to developing innovative tools at national level bear witness to the quality of her contribution to serving others.

The Technological Innovation Award goes to Anne Lacroix, engineer at INRA’s Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes centre. Her profoundly multi-disciplinary approach, contributions to managing the environmental impact of food and agricultural systems and the consumer economy, and energy invested in developing citizen-science initiatives have been lauded by all of her many and diverse partners.

The collective Science with an Impact Award goes to the Laboratory for Environmental Biotechnology (LBE) at the Institute’s Occitanie-Montpellier centre. The lab’s record cannot fail to impress: 7 patents, 11 licences, 2 start-ups, and more than 60 industrial jobs created. Its crowning achievement is the socio-economic development of “green” bio-refineries. By transforming rubbish into resources, the lab is fulfilling society’s goals as industrial players would.

The Promising Researcher Award goes to Florian Maumus, researcher in the Genomics-Info unit of the Institute’s Île-de-France Versailles-Grignon centre. His bio-informatics research is advancing science’s understanding of the evolution mechanisms of plant genomes, and holds promise for the future of plant breeding.

The Scientific Breakthrough Award honours the achievements of Nathalie Gontard who, as research director in INRA’s IATE unit in Occitanie-Montpellier, is inventing sustainable and smart packaging. Inspired by her experience around the globe and cited some 500 times in scientific publications last year, Nathalie is without a doubt a boon for developing the more responsible agricultural and food systems of tomorrow.

Lastly, this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award recognises Joël Doré, research director at Micalis and Scientific Director of MetaGenoPolis at INRA’s Île-de-France Jouy-en-Josas centre. His name is forever linked to the spectacular advances in the past 30 years in science’s knowledge of intestinal microbiota, first in animals then in humans. After reconciling the public at large with microbes, his research will be key in using their interaction with human cells in nutrition and as a therapeutic solution to metabolic, degenerative, neurological and inflammatory diseases.

I am particularly proud that those recognised by the international jury of the 12th annual INRA Awards also highlight the Institute’s firm roots in reality. A reality that depends on advanced scientific knowledge to enlighten citizens and guide decision-makers. The reality that we live in a digital world where bio-informatics is all-important, where the environment is key for transforming our production systems, and where well-being, health and fulfilling careers are ideal levers. We are honoured to welcome our two ministers in charge of research and agriculture, Frédérique Vidal and Stéphane Travert today; their presence is greatly appreciated. They remind us that our goals and balanced approach are complementary as we work together to build a better tomorrow and strive each day to make that goal a reality”.  

Philippe Mauguin, President and General Director of INRA

the international jury

President of the jury:
Philippe Gillet, Vice-President for Academic Affairs at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland

Prof Reinhart Ceulemans, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Prof Frans Kok, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
Prof Johann Swinnen, University of Leuven (KUL), Belgium
Prof Pere Puigdomènech, Molecular Biology Institute of Barcelona, Spain
Prof Agnès Van Den Pol-Van Dasselaar, Wageningen University and Research, Netherlands
Prof Christine Watson, Scotland's Rural College, Scotland