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13th INRA Awards ceremony © Arnaud Veldemann

2018 INRA Awards

Updated on 01/29/2019
Published on 11/12/2018

The 13th annual INRA Awards ceremony took place in Paris’ elegant Edouard VII theatre in the company of Didier Guillaume, Minister of Agriculture and Food, and Frédérique Vidal, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. After kicking off the evening with Philippe Mauguin, President and Director General of INRA, they were joined by Axel Kahn, President of the joint INRA-Cirad-Ifremer Ethics Committee, and two Deputy Directors General of the Institute, Christine Cherbut and Fabrice Marty, to distribute trophies to the six winners and one scientific team. The awards pay homage to the recipients’ commitment and results in different fields of agricultural research.

The INRA Awards enable us to discover inspiring stories of research and innovation and also bring to light research teams where debate, mutual trust and conviviality are established.

In the words of Philippe Mauguin, President of INRA, “Agricultural research must rise to the major challenge of feeding the planet in a context of climate change and populations steadily on the rise. INRA, number two on the global stage of research in agriculture, food and the environment, is making significant contributions by implementing an ambitious strategy to constantly push the limits of scientific knowledge and find real-world solutions. At the heart of this strategy lies a team of 10,000 researchers, engineers, technicians and administrative staff. It is this confluence of talent, often invisible to the public at large, that the INRA Awards help make visible”.

This year’s Research Support Award recognises two unique career paths:

  • Christine Charlot, General Secretary of the Management Board for eight years and currently Director of research support services at INRA’s Nouvelle-Aquitaine-Bordeaux site
  • Jean-Michel Gigleux, head of Human Resources in the Forest, Grassland and Freshwater Ecology division.

Dominique Ripoche takes home this year’s Innovation Award, in recognition of her contribution to bringing the code for the internationally-known STICS model – at the crossroads between agriculture and climate change - to life.

The collective Science with an Impact Award goes to the Prion Task Force, whose research over the past 20 years has contributed to safeguarding food and human health from Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs), also known as prion diseases, of which “mad cow” is the most notorious.

The Promising Researcher Award honours the career of Christophe Gouel, an economist and expert in global trade and world food security.

The Scientific Breakthrough Award goes to Abdelhafid Bendahmane, who is recognised as one of the most visionary researchers in the field of plant science.

Lastly, Isabelle Oswald was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for her expertise in toxins produced by fungi, present in 50% of the food we eat and therefore a real public health issue.

“For over 70 years, INRA’s achievements have shaped our todays and tomorrows, rising to both short-term health crises and long-term challenges. I am proud that the careers honoured this year by our international jury illustrate the capacity of public research to be responsive and anchored in the here and now, while capitalising on and investing in the future.  The dexterity of the Prion team in the midst of the mad cow crisis has helped it understand other Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSEs) and human diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The STICS model of the 1990s has successfully integrated sustainability criteria that have become a must today. After boosting yields, the knowledge of crop genes of agronomic interest is being used to foster plants’ natural resistance to disease. INRA economists have successfully incorporated changing global trends into their forecasts. And last but not least, our work would be impossible without those who provide support services. Their enthusiasm for and professionalism in working with individuals and teams serve as a poignant reminder that research is first and foremost a human adventure”.

13th INRA Awards Ceremony © Arnaud Veldeman

The ceremony

The 13th INRA Awards Ceremony will be held in Paris at the Théâtre Édouard VII. Each year, the INRA Awards honour the creativitity, talent and commitment of INRA researchers, engineers and technicians.

Find our more about the event >

The international jury

President of the jury:

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


Reinhart Ceulemans, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Dominique Bureau, Economic Council for Sustainable Development at the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition, France
Sophien Kamoun, Sainsbury Laboratory, United Kingdom
Christine Watson, Scottish Agricultural College, Scotland
Agnès Van Den Pol-Van Dasselaar, Wageningen University and Research, the Netherlands