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AGROECOLOGY and research © Arnaud Veldeman, Véronique Gavalda

Agroecology at INRA: mobilising research

UVAE logo. © UVAE

The Virtual University of Agroecology: an ambitious project

During a talk held for the “New Directions for Agricultural Research” conference on 10 September 2013 at Agropolis International (Montpellier, France), Thierry Doré, professor of agricultural sciences at AgroParisTech, presented the project for a Virtual University of Agroecology (UVAE). This project is supported by eight different research and higher education institutions.

Updated on 07/01/2014
Published on 10/11/2013

Why a university of agroecology?

Scientists in research and development need to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in their fields, especially in agroecology, to drive necessary changes in agriculture. The UVAE is aimed not only at researchers, but those involved in development and other training programmes such as students.

Why virtual?

This flexible solution offers an online educational programme with modules that can be chosen by scientists as needed as part of their continuing education. It completes other learning methods, such as symposiums, bibliographies or research schools, and can provide trainees with a faster way to reach their objectives and a more consistent delivery of ecology information as applicable to agricultural sciences and vice versa.

How does it work?

Lessons will be presented in several different modules: concepts and methods, agricultural ecosystem processes and functions, and agroecological engineering.

The UVAE was launched in 2012 and is currently finalising a first introductory to agroecology module that will be available on the UVED site free of charge in the upcoming weeks.

Calls for contributions have been published for researchers interested in creating other modules, such as compiling existing resources so they can be used for learning.
Thierry Doré concluded his presentation by insisting on the importance of training not only in the development of new farming systems, but in combating the many preconceived ideas on agroecology. One such idea is that we can have it all: environmentally-friendly systems that are highly profitable. In reality, “as things stand now, if excessive production levels are maintained, we cannot reduce environmental impacts any further,” says Doré. Another widely held belief is that the agro-industrial model has rendered small farm models irrelevant. “This belief keeps us from moving forward,” Doré continues, because it prevents us from thinking about how we can preserve the many farming systems that exist in France and around the world.

Presentation given during the conference entitled “Setting new directions for agricultural research” held on 10 September 2013 at Agropolis International (Montpellier, France),

Scientific contact(s):

UVAE partners

INRA, CIRAD, Université de Lorraine-Ensaia, INPT-ENSAT, AgroParisTech, SupAgro Montpellier, Agrocampus Ouest and AgroSup Dijon