The AGRICYGEN project receives funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under Grant Agreement No. 763700
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INRA | L'Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique

INRA | L'Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique

The National Institute on Agricultural Research (INRA) is a non-profit public research institute that employs 1800 research scientists and more than 7000 engineers and technicians and conducts world class agricultural research across 14 thematic departments in France. INRA is Europe’s top agricultural research institute and is ranked 5th worldwide in animal and plant sciences. Its scientists work towards finding solutions for society’s major challenges. INRA carries out mission-oriented research for better food and nutrition, preservation of the environment and competitive, sustainable agricultural practices. INRA produces fundamental knowledge that leads to innovation and know-how for the society. INRA lends its expertise to public decision-making and to shaping national and international research strategies. INRA scientists have professional expertise in project design and management, including financial and administrative issues.
The INRA lab which will participate in the present project for the studies on small ruminants is the GenPhySE lab. It is part of the INRA Animal Genetics and Animal Physiology and Livestock Systems Divisions. GenPhySE is also affiliated to the Toulouse Veterinary School (ENVT) and the Engineering Faculty of Life Sciences (ENSAT) at the University of Toulouse.
Research in the lab aims at understanding the genetics and physiological processes underlying livestock phenotypes, including when the animals are considered within their production systems. The GenPhySE main research activities concentrate around:

  • Improving knowledge on the structure and functional organization of genomes
  • Exploring the genetic variability of complex traits in livestock
  • Understanding biological mechanisms underlying the expression of phenotypes
  • Increasing genetic gain through genomic selection and design of new breeding programmes
  • Improving our understanding of environmental effects on phenotypes
  • Designing more sustainable livestock production systems

Additionally, the GeSPR group within the GenPhySE lab, in collaboration with the Institut d’ Elevage (IDELE) association, has performed the relevant research analyses, simulations, and comparisons of methods to provide extensive consultation in order to facilitate the successful implementation of genomic selection in milk Lacaune, Red Face Manech sheep breeds and Saanen and Alpine milk goat breeds in France.


The INRA Department of Agroecology in Dijon, UMR Agroécologie, also takes part in AGRICYGEN. It consists of 97 scientists and 134 engineers and technicians. The main objective of the Agroecology Department is to develop sustainable agriculture and to improve agricultural productivity and quality in an environmental sound way. Their research focuses on understanding the biotic interactions between plants to plant and plants to microorganisms. The research strategy involves close collaborations with agents in the socio-economic world, the chambers of agriculture, professional organizations, inter-professional organisation, industry, also through networks, structural projects (FUI, PIA, CASDAR) and the administration. Flagship illustrations of transfer and dissemination activities are, for example, the participation in (i) the DEPHY Farms network, which is a pilot network of 1900 farms and 170 experimental sites in which agricultural practices are based on reduced pesticide use and (ii) CASDAR projects, which is the fund earmarked by the national program for agricultural and rural development.


The Agroecology Department is also involved in teaching to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the University of Burgundy. Thus, 12 professors, including an emeritus Professor, and 24 assistant professors working in the department are delivering approximately 6000 hours of courses per year. In addition, INRA and CNRS scientists take part in training courses in the Bachelor and Master programs. The academic reputation of the Department is illustrated by the coordination of 5 FP7 EU projects and participation in 8 others and in several networks (ERA-NET, Marie Curie ITN, COST actions and others) since 2010. The Agroecology Department also organized international and national meetings such as the First Global Soil Biodiversity Conference (700 participants from 56 countries). 

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