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INRAE helps fund its international partnerships, which take three forms:
- LIA (International associated laboratories) : laboratories without borders, where INRAE scientists work side-by-side with international collaborators to build shared long-term projects of excellence.
- 2RI (International research networks) : international research networks focused on specific themes
- PPI (Priority projects of international scope) : projects in which INRAE provides tools and resources to boost research in specific subject areas
- IINRAE funds mobility projects called JLC (Joint linkage calls) as part of the framework agreements for scientific cooperation that it signs with foreign research institutes and certain foreign funding agencies. This investment fosters new professional relationships among researchers and the creation of collaborations.
The priority project of international scope "Soils and climate change” emerged from the 4 per 1000 initiative proposed by France during the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21). It established a global alliance for basic research (during a preparation phase funded by the European Commission) that is linked to innovation-focused projects centred on carbon storage and carbon monitoring in soils, notably via the Climate Knowledge and Innovation Community (Climate KIC).
- INRAE's metaprogrammes are transversal research programmes that bring together research teams from different scientific divisions. They develop integrated approaches for tackling different global challenges alongside major institutions such as the FAO, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (DG RTD), the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC), the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). In 2019, around 900 researchers participated in the institute's metaprogrammes; around 300 projects were produced, and the number of publications emerging from metaprogramme research increased 250% between 2010 and 2016.
Thanks to European and international research programmes, significant advances have been made in fields such as genome sequencing. Global information systems make it possible to share data drawn from observations of the Earth (GEOSS), CO2 exchanges (FluxNet), and plant functional traits (TRY), to name a few examples. INRAE has founded or coordinates several major research programmes in its fields of specialty, which it uses to bolster its scientific priorities; these programmes include the Wheat Initiative (started in 2011), the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA; started in 2010), and the 4 per 1000 initiative (started in 2015).
The "4 parts per 1000" initiative proposes to increase organic matter contents and encourage carbon sequestration in soils, through the application of appropriate farming and forestry practices.
INRAE's partners are not just found in European and Mediterranean countries. They are also in the US, Canada, Australia, China, Brazil, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Argentina, South Africa, and India. Their presence is especially notable in the number of co-authored publications (articles, reviews, proceeding papers and letters) and the presence of shared collaborative structures. Researchers from around 150 countries have co-authored papers with INRAE scientists.