Federate - Innovate - Reach out: UM launches new key initiatives in the I-SITE excellence program

The I-SITE excellence program is continuing its strategy of supporting the scientific communities that make up the site's unique identity, and has approved five new key initiatives. Three of these initiatives - focusing on water, nutrition and food systems, and infectious risks and vectors in a One Health approach - will pursue international initiatives already underway. Two new key initiatives have been created, focusing on transitional public policies and local collaborative research actions on plant and agrosystem health.

These five new initiatives were officially presented on Wednesday, April 24, 2024. Philippe Augé, President of the University of Montpellier, took the opportunity to recall the financial effort of over 6 M€ mobilized to support the nine key initiatives (Kim) around the following themes: food and health; biomarkers and therapy; data for life sciences; water, sea and coastline; climate risks and health issues; risks and vectors; blood sciences; vine and wine sciences. Most of these initiatives have benefited from the momentum generated by the project, and have blossomed into broader initiatives such as the Occitanie region's Vinid'Occ (vine and wine), Rivoc (infectious risks and vectors) and WOC Clé challenges, and the Unesco Icireward International Center for Water for Kim Water.

Consolidating strategic international partnerships

If there's one main objective to remember in order to understand the challenges of the three key international initiatives, it's to strengthen and consolidate the strategic international partnerships of the members of the I-SITE supported by UM. These initiatives are financed by the UM2030 project of the France 2030 - IDéES program "Integration and development of Idex and I-SITE". Each UM2030 key initiative is supported to the tune of €200,000 per year.

The Water and Foods initiatives are focused on a single objective: to create an international doctoral platform to foster transdisciplinarity and develop the science-policy-society interface to promote career prospects for young researchers on an international scale. Foods is part of a network of 19 partners, and has already welcomed its first cohort in March 2024, who demonstrated the benefits of working together at the Montpellier Global Days 2024.Water, for its part, benefits from the support of the Unesco International Center and the dynamics of the "water family" on an international scale to develop its " Initiative for PhD: the internationalintercultural interdisciplinaty water network " platform in conjunction with 13 partner universities worldwide.

VECT-OH has focused its efforts on the impact of science on territories, building a global alliance with six major universities for the sustainable mitigation of vector risk as part of a global health approach (animal, human, plant). A particular focus is placed on the issue of urban vegetation, with regard to its possible impact on the transmission of vector-borne diseases.

Structuring multidisciplinary communities

The key initiatives financed by the I-SITE program of excellence aim to unite communities from different research structures in Montpellier around interdisciplinary themes, giving them greater regional, national and international visibility. Each I-SITE key initiative receives €300,000 in support over 2 years.

The " Politiques publiques de transition " (KIPPT) key initiative brings together a multidisciplinary community spread across some fifteen research units on the site. Work will focus on the pillars of the I-SITE (Feed - Care - Protect), but not only: transport, energy, education and digital technologies will also be addressed, to help public players move towards new, more sustainable and fairer development models.

Clapas is the acronym chosen for the key initiative " Local collaborative research actions on plant and agrosystem health ". This site-wide theme will further integrate plant health and agrosystems into the scientific ecosystem, notably by linking up with researchers working in animal health, human health and the social sciences.