a systemic and integrated approach to major global challenges in terms of food, agriculture and the environment
INRAE develops its capacities for expertise, foresight and support for public policies by means of a systemic and integrated approach to major global challenges in terms of food, agriculture and the environment.
Studies are carried out by multi- and cross-disciplinary teams that include members from the economic and social sciences. They gather together scientific knowledge, research topics and methods that can be mobilised to engineer the solutions necessary to develop efficient public policies applicable at both a regional level (major cities and urban areas) and an international scale. To achieve this, we collaborate with major institutions such as the FAO, World Bank or IPCC, and also in many cases with French and European ministries, parliaments and institutions. This expertise and support contribute to the orientation of research: by listening to its partners, INRAE can anticipate major trends affecting society and science, adapt them and take account of them in its research programmes.
Expertise and policy support at INRAE: download
The General Directorate for Expertise and Support for Public Policies (DGDEAPP) comprises two entities: the Directorate for Expertise, Foresight and Advanced Studies (DEPE) and the Directorate for Support for Public Policies (DAPP). For all expertise and public policy support activities, the DGDEAPP acts as an interface between Scientific and Research Support Divisions. It works with the drivers of scientific skills within different INRAE Divisions and facilitates their interactions with actors in public policies.
- Patrick Flammarion: Deputy Director General of Expertise and Support for Public Policies
- Guy Richard, Director of Expertise, Foresight and Advanced Studies
- Nicolas de Menthière, Director of Support for Public Policies
Every day, climate change and the choices we make as a society pose new risks to nature, the environment and our food supply. These considerations guide public policy decisions at all levels – from the local to the national, European and international scales. Legislative and regulatory bodies, scientific experts and stakeholders share their expertise and provide public policy support through a range of activities. INRAE strives to share its research results to keep society informed and provide support to the entire public policy life cycle, from design to assessment.
Collective scientific expertise, foresight and advanced studies are designed to feed discussion on the future challenges faced by society and to inform both stakeholders and public debate. They enable the anticipation, support and monitoring of policies in place (evaluation, indicators, improvements, scientific information), the identification of emerging risks and the detection of weak signals in order to better define priority actions while allowing time for research to prepare and construct potential projects.
More specifically, collective scientific expertise is able to produce an inventory of validated scientific knowledge by explaining consensus views and scientific controversies.
Studies can mobilise uncertified scientific knowledge (or the grey literature) and be enriched by simulations using models that describe the functioning of the systems under study by integrating economic factors and the strategies of different actors.
Foresight studies can inform the long-term future using contrasted scenarios. They can generate knowledge based on data gathered from the experiences of the actors involved.
Expertise, the dissemination of a scientific culture and informing public policies and public debate all form part of INRAE’s missions. Because of its considerable experience in the conduct of expert studies, the Directorate for Expertise, Foresight and Advanced Studies has formalised the principles underpinning this work in a fifty page document.
INRAE’s research scientists and engineers can be mobilised to assist in the design of public policies and their instruments through ex-post and ex-ante evaluations. This work involves different INRAE Scientific Divisions and draws strength from all disciplines: economic and social sciences, biological, agronomic and environmental sciences and mathematics. This gives rise to either multidisciplinary working groups, such as that focused on reform of the CAP, or the participation of INRAE scientific experts in steering committees set up by its partners (e.g. French networks on animal or plant health, or the International Commission on Large Dams). It may also take the form of participation in debates initiated by the authorities (National Conference on Natural Hazards, or the National Conference on Water, the National Councils for Food or Collective Catering or the National Council on Agriculture and Food).
A few recent examples
These activities are carried out either directly by research units in the context of the research/expertise/support continuum on public policy support, or by specific internal or partnership structures within INRAE. Collaboration with regional actors and synergies of skills and knowledge concerning a given situation enable the development of technical tools, methods or references (databases, mapping) to support the deployment of public policies.
10 facilities, centres or teams which have been jointly recognized by the French Ministry of Agriculture and INRAE
- Monitoring of French animal genetic resources, management of the French animal genetic database (BDZN) by the Genetic Data Processing Centre (CTIG)
- Plant innovation and plant and seed quality at GEVES: geves.fr/geves/
- Production, management and mapping of soil data, InfoSol service unit at GIS Sol: gissol.fr
- Animal Health Epidemiological Surveillance Platform: plateforme-esa.fr
- Plant Health Epidemiological Surveillance Platform: plateforme-esv.fr
- Food Chain Safety Epidemiological Surveillance Platform: plateforme-sca.fr
- Reduction in pesticide use: Certificates for pesticide reductions (CEPP): alim.agriculture.gouv.fr/cepp/accueil
- Indicators to monitor and assess rural development activities: Rural Development Observatory service unit: odr.inra.fr
- Monitoring the offer of processed food products on the French market by measuring the evolution of nutritional quality: Food Quality Observatory (OQALI) oqali.fr
- Facilitating dialogue with stakeholders, supporting all actors in implementing animal protection measures, disseminating knowledge, good practices and innovations which benefit animal welfare French Reference Centre for Animal Welfare cnr-bea.fr/en/
These 10 facilities are supported and monitored by the Ministry of Agriculture and INRAE.
Similar facilities and structures are being developed with other ministries, such as the Ministry for the Ecological Transition, with
- The Permanent Avalanche Survey (EPA) and the mapping of the probable location of avalanches (CLPA) monitored with the French Forestry Bureau - ONF - (Directorate General for Risk Prevention) www.avalanches.fr
- Technical support for hydraulic structures (National pole for hydraulic structure safety)
How can INRAE research be useful to public policy? Many public policy issues require new knowledge and scientific studies. Our new series Science and Public Actors series proposes leaflets about issues which INRAE is focussing on via a research-expertise-public policy support continuum. The series covers INRAE’s major research subjects with concrete illustrations.
News concerning the COVID-19 pandemic has monopolised the agenda of public actors. It highlights the links between animal health, human health and biodiversity and the need for knowledge and anticipation to guide public action. Global health, integrating the links between human, animal, environmental health and food is the object of numerous studies and much research at INRAE.
N°1 One Health - download
Several topics have already been discussed in our previous collection "Science & Policy":