Agroecology 4 min

Kick-off meeting for the “Growing and Protecting Crops Differently” priority research programme projects

PRESS RELEASE – The kick-off meeting for the scientific projects selected for the “Growing and Protecting Crops Differently” priority research programme was held on 23 September 2020.

Published on 23 September 2020

illustration Kick-off meeting for the “Growing and Protecting Crops Differently” priority research programme projects
© République française / INRAE

This €30 million priority research programme (PPR) was launched at the request of the French Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Frédérique Vidal, and the Secretary-General for Investment, Guillaume Boudy. The PPR’s scientific oversight has been entrusted to INRAE. INRAE’s strategic approach to new agricultural practices as alternatives to plant protection products served as the basis for a call for projects managed by the French National Research Agency (ANR).

The recommendations of an international jury, which examined the projects’ relevance and feasibility and in which the French Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of Ecological Transition took part, informed the selection of ten projects by the interministerial steering committee chaired by the French Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation. The project leaders gathered for the kick-off meeting on 23 September 2020.

These long-term projects (six years) cover all the issues raised in the call for projects: removal of “scientific barriers”, understanding of the microbial environment of plants and its influence on their health, methods of monitoring the emergence of plant diseases in order to implement preventive measures and early treatments, and the social and economic aspects of the transition to pesticide-free systems.

These projects bring together numerous research units from French universities and research organisations. The size of the project groups and the long research terms will make it possible to build sustainable scientific communities specialised in these new complementary approaches, which leverage sensors, plants’ natural defences and biological control. The projects will focus on enhancing cropland organisation and supporting shifting economic sectors to create agriculture that can address future challenges.

Numerous symposia and events will be organised for researchers and other agricultural stakeholders to monitor project progress, quickly share the results and thus facilitate the transfer of knowledge and solutions to society, and especially to farmers.


List of projects:




Coordinating research unit


Mobilizing and breeding intra and inter-specific crop diversity for a systemic change towards pesticide-free agriculture

Jérôme Enjalbert

Quantitative Genetics and Evolution
Joint Research Unit (GQE)

Paris-Saclay University · INRAE · CNRS · AgroParisTech


Sustainable pest control in Fabaceae-rich innovative cropping systems

Judith Burstin

Agroecology Joint Research Unit

INRAE – AgroSupDijon - Université de Bourgogne-Franche Comté - CNRS


Building pesticide-free agroecosystems at territory level

Muriel Morison- Valentin

Agronomy Joint Research Unit 

Paris Saclay University - AgroParisTech - INRAE


Stop the use of pesticides on seeds by proposing alternatives

Matthieu Barret

Research Institute for Horticulture and Seeds (IRHS)

INRAE - Insitut Agro, Agrocampus Ouest, University of Angers


Cultivating the grapevine without pesticides: towards agroecological wine-producing socio-ecosystems

François Delmotte

Grapevine Health and Agroecology Joint Research Unit (SAVE)

INRAE - Bordeaux Science Agro


Adapting the concept of ecological immunity to crop protection: Rosaceae and Solanaceae, two case studies

Catherine Coutand

Horticultural Plants and Cropping Systems Unit (PSH)



Facilitating public Action to exit from peSTicides

Julie Subervie

Centre for Environmental Economics (CEE-M) - Montpellier

INRAE – CNRS - University of Montpellier -  Montpellier Supagro


Building epidemiological surveillance and prophylaxis with observations both near and distant

Cindy Morris

Plant Pathology Joint Research Unit

INRAE - Avignon University


Early detection of pest insects using pheromone receptor-based olfactory sensors

Philippe Lucas

Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences in Paris (IEES)  CNRS - IRD - INRAE - Université Paris-Est Créteil - Sorbonne University


Deciphering plant-microbiota interactions to enhance crop defences against pests

Christophe Mougel

Institute for Genetics, the Environment and Plant Protection (IGEPP)  INRAE – Institut Agro, AgroCampus Ouest - Université de Rennes 1

Learn more


Clover and sainfoin, a good diet for sheep

If combined with grass to make silage, the tannins in sainfoin and the polyphenol oxidase in red clover preserve plant proteins during the fermentation stage and then in the rumen of sheep. This can improve the zootechnical and environmental performances of ruminant production.

04 February 2020


Feedipedia, an online encyclopaedia of livestock feeds

Feedipedia is an open access information system on animal feed resources that provides information on the chemical composition, nutritional value and safe use of livestock feeds available around the world. In particular, it gives livestock farmers in warm regions access to information so they can better use the many local plant species available to them. It is managed jointly by INRAE, CIRAD, AFZ and FAO.

05 February 2020


Animal feed tables

Animal feed tables provide essential information used to calculate rations and assess production levels given an established ration. They have been improved on a regular basis since 1978.

05 February 2020