To reconcile environmental goals with efficient crop protection, research needs to broaden its scope along spatial, temporal and organisational dimensions. That is the challenge that INRA’s new meta-programme Sustainable Management of Crop Health (SMaCH) is taking on. Olivier Le Gall (pictured right), who heads SMaCH, seeks to develop research on crop health that is more international and cuts across natural and human sciences.
Over a period of 10 years, the programme promises to deliver economically viable and environmentally-friendly research solutions to crop protection. For that, it needs to cut across research structures shaped by many years of reliance on chemical control of biotic pressure on crop plants. That is why it brings together researchers from nine historically discipline-defined INRA departments covering agricultural sciences, environmental sciences, plant biology, ecology, forestry, genetics, mathematics, social sciences and economics. The trans-disciplinary nature of SMaCH is apparent in the component key actions of the programme:
The programme also emphasizes a worldwide perspective on crop health problems by comparing situations in different countries and pooling resources. The instruments considered include cooperative research projects, co-funded bilateral and multi-lateral projects, twinning programmes, and opening and sharing capacities to international partnerships and international mobility. An international committee with members from 13 countries plays a key role in the evaluation and selection of actions, scientific foresight and the identification of strategic partnerships of SMaCH.
ENDURE is pleased to have been identified as a major contributor to the international strategy of SMaCH. This relationship creates a win-win situation where SMaCH benefits from ENDURE’s Europe-wide resources and initiatives and ENDURE can be enriched by the significant research capacity represented by SMaCH.
The international activities of SMaCH have begun, with, for example, the organisation of an international conference on the sustainability of plant resistance. The conference will take place 16-19 October 2012 at La Colle sur Loup (near Nice) and will cover:
For more information on SMaCH: