Horizon Europe: CIRAD’s scientific excellence rewarded

Of the 15 proposals submitted by the CIRAD teams in 2021 to the Horizon Europe call for proposals under “Food, Bioeconomics, Natural Resources, Agriculture and the Environment”, 12 were selected, including three new projects coordinated by CIRAD.

“I am pleased with the results achieved during this first call for proposals from Horizont Europe and I congratulate our scientific and support teams.”said Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin, CEO of CIRAD.

These results underscore the scientific excellence of the CIRAD teams, and in particular of the female researchers who have received grants from the European Research Council and Marie Curie.

Elisabeth Claverie de Saint-Martin

CEO CIRAD

A brief overview of these projects with their scientific leader:

BCOMING, conservation of biodiversity in order to reduce the risk of infectious diseases

With BCOMING, we seek to understand the mechanisms that support the development of infectious diseases and the links between biodiversity and human health. Our goal is to develop strategies to conserve biodiversity and monitor diseases that can reduce their risk.

Julien Cappelle

BCOMING project coordinator (UMR ASTRE)

For the amount of 6 million euros the project will start in August 2022 for a period of 4 years.

Project BCOMING (Conservation of biodiversity to mitigate the risks of emerging infectious diseases) focuses on seven pathogens distributed in three study areas: Cambodia (Sarscov-2), Guinea (Ebola, Marburg and Lassa) and Guadeloupe (West Nile). Trematode worms and coronaviruses present in each of these areas will also be studied.

Regrouping fourteen partners from the four countries of the European Union (Germany, Belgium, France, Hungary) and the four associated countries (United Kingdom, Cambodia, Thailand, Guinea).

BOLERO, improvement of coffee and cocoa tree rootstocks for high-performance, low-power farming systems

In the context of climate change, the main goal of BOLERO is to propose new methods for selecting rootstocks in tropical arboriculture, to increase the resilience of polycultural and agroforestry systems of small coffee and cocoa producers.

Benoit Bertrand

BOLERO project coordinator (UMR DIADE)

For the amount of 8 million euros the project will start in october 2022 for a period of 4 years.

Project BOLERO (Breeding for coffee and cocoa root resistance in low-input farming systems based on improved rootstocks) will take place in three countries – Vietnam, Nicaragua and Uganda – representing the three continents (Asia, South America, Africa) and the diversity of production systems.

He was interested in the role of root architecture in the productivity of coffee and cocoa trees with regard to the selection of the most suitable rootstocks. This will include identifying root traits that improve productivity, optimizing the use of nitrogen nutrients, developing digital tools to help select the best rootstocks.

The BOLERO project unites eighteen partnersincluding five private partners, from eight European Union countries (Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, the Czech Republic) as well as the United Kingdom, except Nicaragua, Vietnam and Uganda.

GUARDEN, protection of biodiversity of endangered plants and ecosystems

With the GUARDEN program, we focus on increasing the capacity to conserve biodiversity and its contribution to human nutrition through the development of innovative and widely available digital methods, exemplified today by the Pl @ ntNet platform.

Pierre Bonnet

GUARDEN project coordinator (UMR AMAP)

Up to 4.5 million euros are supported, the project will start in November 2022 for 3 years.

Case studies will be conducted in southern Europe (Spain, France, Greece, Cyprus) on remarkable plants of Mediterranean ecosystems. They focus more generally on the plant species of Community interest listed in the annexes to the European Habitats Directive. The Madagascar case study will review the island’s exceptional but highly endangered biodiversity, with priority given to the trees and shrubs that make up the ecosystem structure.

Project consortium GUARDEN (Protecting Biodiversity and Critical Ecosystem Services Across Sectors and Ranges) to gather sixteen partners six European Union countries (Belgium, France, Cyprus, Spain, Greece, the Netherlands) and two associated countries (Madagascar and the United Kingdom). It is multidisciplinary and includes ten large research organizations and universities, as well as four pioneering SMEs and two territorial organizations.

Two European Research Council and Marie Curie Excellence Fellowships scholarships

Marie Curie Grant for the Development of Banana Disease Monitoring Tools

The main goal of the INDICANTS project is to develop and validate innovative molecular tools in this area for the rapid diagnosis of four banana diseases on the spot.

Isabelle Robene

INDICANTS Project Coordinator (UMR PVBMT)

Supported by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant under the previous H2020 program up to EUR 220 000, INDICANTS project (INNOVATIVE DIAGNOSTICS for banana pathogen monitoring) started in January 2022 for a period of 2 years. The project coordinator is the Department of Plant Pathology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

The diseases involved in the development of rapid diagnostic tools are Fusarium wilt, banana bacterial wilt, Moko disease and banana blood disease (BDB).

European Research Council grant on farmers’ access to seed diversity

CIRAD is also involved in eight other Horizon Europe projects:

  • MAMBO, “Modern Approaches to Biodiversity Monitoring” (UMR AMAP)
  • REACT, “Rapid Elimination of Invasive Agricultural Pests Invasive by Resolving Sterile Insect Engineering Programs” (UMR PVBMT)
  • ORCaSa, “Operation of international research cooperation in the field of soil carbon” (UPR AIDA)
  • DIGITAF, “DIGItal Tools to help AgroForestry meet climate, biodiversity and agricultural sustainability goals: connecting the field and the cloud” (UMR AMAP, UMR ABSYS)
  • ECO2ADAPT, “Ecosystem Adaptation and Making Changes to Form, Protect and Maintain the Resilience of Tomorrow’s Forests” (UMR AMAP)
  • SPIDVAC, “Improved control of priority animal diseases: New vaccines and accompanying diagnostic tests for African horse sickness, small ruminants and foot-and-mouth disease” (UMR ASTRE)
  • ISIDORe, “Integrated Infectious Disease Outbreak Research Services” (UMR ASTRE) in the framework of the European Emergency Preparedness and Response Office – HERA
  • REFRESCAR, “Improved coordination of national and European bio-economic research and innovation programs in the ERA through enhanced SCAR working groups”

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