Supporting the fledgling INRAE as it gets off the ground following the merger of INRA and IRSTEA is an exciting project that requires our best communication skills both internally and externally. The Institute’s entire management team – including the Communications Department, naturally – prepared for the merger well in advance. My ambition for 2020 is to facilitate the creation of a shared internal culture to unite everyone at the new institute. The discussions and debates held within the Institute to create the INRAE strategy for 2030 will help. We are putting the “careers” discussion network back together based on new groups, and will be using new digital tools.
INRAE also reflects an ambition to deepen our relationships with society and get young people interested in science early on. As a targeted research institute, we are uniquely placed to be both attuned to societal issues – which fuel our research – and be able to communicate on and share knowledge, analyses and solutions produced by our research. All of these things add to the debate on the major social issues related to our research themes.
The merger has given the new institute a new name, for which we will have to build a reputation in both France and abroad. This name is associated with an image and values that will help strengthen ties with economic, political and academic partners and international institutions. The new website, our public relations development, and our social media activities will be tools to help us do this.
From reviving and organising internal communication to creating a more coherent image of INRA for its different audiences, enhancing interaction with the network of communication contacts across the country, and launching and supporting the merger, Sandrine Vinzant had no shortage of exhilarating and sizeable challenges ahead of her when she arrived at INRA in January 2017. But she was certainly up to the challenge following her previous roles as advisor for communications and press relations at the Ministry of Agriculture, Agri-food and Forestry and government spokesperson’s office.
An exciting project that requires our best communication skills both internally and externally
From the time she arrived at INRA, Sandrine lent her support to the Institute’s new president, who “embodied” and led the Institute’s new strategy, while taking into account the recommendations from the institute evaluation report published before he came on board. She was committed to better understanding the existing communication networks and tools, which were especially numerous in a research institute with multiple partnerships. With support from various stakeholders and the HR Department, she implemented an internal communication plan to provide greater consistency between the existing tools, developed a new national intranet portal, and began considering and then testing a collaborative social network in the organisation. Many different stakeholders are involved in INRA’s communication and reputation, from project leaders to unit managers, the centres and various divisions. This proliferation sometimes makes it difficult to have a comprehensive view of our audiences. Through the redesign of the website, Sandrine worked hard to develop greater coherence by avoiding multiple messages and tools. The merger is a chance to expand the website redesign for the new Institute and to rethink how the department is organised to take into account all the many internal demands. Public relations development is also a very important area of focus.
Having previously worked for the French central government, Vinzant has in-depth knowledge of the French civil service. She began her career at the Ministry of Agriculture, Agri-food and Forestry in 1994, before joining the central administration where she held different positions in corporate and technical communication: Director of the Public Relations and Campaigns Department (2000-2003), Project Manager and Communications Director for the Directorate General for Economic and International Policy (2003-2007), and Director of Communications and Social Networks for the Information and Communication Division (2008-2012).
- 50 years old, 2 children
- 1993: Undergraduate degree with a specialisation in Media and Public Communication, Sciences Po Toulouse.
- 2007: Master’s degree in Corporate and Institutional Communication, CELSA.
- 1994-1997: Manager of the Agricultural High School of Chalons-en-Champagne.
- 1997-1999: Director of the Financial Department at the Alfort national veterinary school.
- 2000-2003: Director of Public Relations and Campaigns, Information and Communication Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
- 2003-2007: Project Manager of Origin and Quality Certifications and later Communication Officer for the Common Agricultural Policy at the Directorate General for Economic and International Policy at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
- 2008-2012: Director of the Communications and Social Networks Department, Information and Communication Division, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
- 2012-2016: Advisor for Communications and Press Relations at the office of Stéphane Le Foll, Minister of Agriculture, Agri-food and Forestry, Government Spokesperson.
2022: Knight of the Order of Merit
Swimming, cycling, cooking, travelling and crafts such as embroidery and DIY.