Horizon Europe: CIRAD scientific excellence rewarded

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

“I am delighted with the results achieved in this first Horizon Europe call for projects and congratulate our scientific and support teams”said Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin, CEO of CIRAD.

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

Elisabeth Claverie de Saint-Martin

CEO of CIRAD

Brief overview of these projects with their scientific leader:

BCOMING, preserving biodiversity to reduce the risk of developing infectious diseases

With BCOMING, we seek to understand the mechanisms that promote the emergence of infectious diseases and the links between biodiversity and human health. Our goal is to develop strategies for preserving biodiversity and monitoring diseases that can reduce the risk of emergence.

Julien Cappelle

BCOMING project coordinator (UMR ASTRE)

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

The project BCOMING (Biodiversity Conservation to Reduce the Risks of Emerging Infectious Diseases) focuses on seven pathogens across 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.

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

BOLERO, improving the rootstocks of coffee and cocoa trees for high-value, low-input farming systems

In the context of climate change, the main goal of BOLERO is to design new methods for rootstock selection in tropical arboriculture, increase the resilience of polyculture and agroforestry systems of small coffee and cocoa producers.

Benoit Bertrand

BOLERO project coordinator (UMR DIADE)

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

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

He was interested in the role of root architecture in the productivity of coffee and cocoa trees in order to select the most suitable rootstocks. This includes identifying root traits that improve productivity, optimizing nitrogen nutrient utilization and developing digital tools to select the best rootstocks.

The BOLERO project brings together eighteen partnersincluding five private partners, from eight countries of the European Union (Austria, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, Ireland, Italy, Czech Republic) and the United Kingdom, in addition to Nicaragua, Vietnam and Uganda.

GUARDEN, protecting the biodiversity of endangered plants and ecosystems

With GUARDEN, we want to increase the capacities for the conservation of biodiversity and its contributions to human livelihoods through the development of innovative and widely accessible digital methods, as illustrated today by the Pl@ntNet platform.

Pierre Bonnet

Coordinator of the GUARDEN project (UMR AMAP)

Supported up to 4.5 million euros, the project starts in November 2022 for 3 years

Case studies will be conducted in Southern Europe (Spain, France, Greece, Cyprus) on the remarkable plants of Mediterranean ecosystems. They will focus more generally on plant species of Community interest, as defined in the annexes of the European Habitats Directive. A case study from Madagascar will revisit the island’s exceptional but highly endangered biodiversity, prioritizing trees and shrubs, which structure ecosystems.

The project consortium GUARDEN (SafeGUARDing biodivErsity and critical ecosystem services across sectors and scales) meet sixteen partners six European Union countries (Belgium, France, Cyprus, Spain, Greece, Netherlands) and two associated countries (Madagascar and the United Kingdom). Multidisciplinary, it involves ten major research organizations and universities, as well as four pioneering SMEs and two territorial organisations.

Two European Research Council and Marie Curie Excellence Fellowships

A Marie Curie grant to develop banana disease monitoring tools

The main objective of the INDICANTS project is to develop and validate in the field innovative molecular tools for the rapid on-site diagnosis of four banana diseases.

Isabelle Robene

Coordinator of the INDICANTS project (UMR PVBMT)

Supported by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant, as part of the previous H2020 programme, up to 220,000 euros, the INDICANTS project (INnovative DIAgnostiCs for banana paThogens Surveillance) started in January 2022 for a period of 2 years† The project coordinator is hosted by the Department of Plant Pathology at Stellenbosch University in South Africa.

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

A grant from the European Research Council on farmers’ access to seed diversity

CIRAD is also involved in eight other Horizon Europe program projects:

  • MAMBO, “Modern Approaches to Monitoring Biodiversity” (UMR AMAP)
  • REACT, “Rapid elimination of agricultural invasive insect outbreaks by addressing them with sterile insect engineering programs” (UMR PVBMT)
  • ORCaSa, “Operationalization of International Soil Carbon Research Collaboration” (UPR AIDA)
  • DIGITAF, “DIGItal Tools to Help AgroForestry Meet Climate, Biodiversity and Agriculture Goals: Linking Field and Cloud” (UMR AMAP, UMR ABSYS)
  • ECO2ADAPT, “Ecosystem Adaptation and Change to Shape, Protect and Preserve the Resilience of Tomorrow’s Forests” (UMR AMAP)
  • SPIDVAC, “Improved control of priority animal diseases: new vaccines and companion diagnostic tests for African African horse sickness, peste des petits ruminants and foot-and-mouth disease” (UMR ASTRE)
  • ISIDORE, “Integrated Services for Infectious Disease Outbreak Research” (UMR ASTRE) under the European Health Emergency Preparedness and Response Authority program – HERA
  • REFRESCAR, “Improved coordination of national and European research and innovation programs in the bioeconomy in the ERA through strengthened SCAR working groups”

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