The Muse success story continues with "ExposUM

On November 30, the University of Montpellier, in close collaboration with its I-site MUSE partners, was awarded 23.2 million euros for its ExposUM project, winner of the "Excellences sous toutes ses formes" call for projects under the future investment program (PIA4). This sum has been doubled by the Occitanie Regional Council, bringing to 46.4 million euros over eight years the funding for this project dedicated to the study of external and environmental factors capable of affecting human health.

Philippe Augé, President of the University of Montpellier, declares: " This success is gratifying in more ways than one. First and foremost, it is recognition of the University's leadership in life and environmental sciences. A leadership that we have built with our partners around the three challenges of "feeding, caring and protecting", at the crossroads of which lies ExposUM".

A unifying project

ExposUm is the name of the ambitious project submitted by the University and its partners in response to the "Excellence in all its forms" call for projects. Excellence in all its forms ". The name was chosen in direct reference to the exposome concept, which refers to " all exposures to external and environmental factors (food, pollution, infectious agents, etc.) capable of affecting human health", explains Eric Delaporte, Professor of Infectious Diseases and project leader. It's an extremely unifying theme in Montpellier, which will enable us to cross-reference a large number of themes, as well as multiple disciplines such as oncology, nutrition, ecology, chemistry, human sciences... And we have excellent research centers to do this."

To respond to this call for projects, the University of Montpellier, CNRS,IRD,Inrae, CIRAD,Inserm, CHU de Montpellier,Institut du Cancer, Institut Agro,ENSCM,Ifremer andInria got together to devise a project that would bring together all the strengths of Montpellier. This project is the fruit of a collective effort to make the most of all the skills we have at Muse," continues Eric Delaporte. For François Pierrot, Director of the I-site Muse, ExposUM is nothing less than the "keystone of the edifice we have been building since 2017: bringing together a large number of scientific communities around the three pillars we have chosen."

Strong support from the Occitanie region

Of the 35 applications received by the Ministry, only 15 were retained in this first selection wave. While a number of major Parisian universities were rejected, the University of Montpellier was the only winner in the Occitanie region. "This is a further success, in addition to the 2.5 million euros awarded 15 days ago to innovation clusters. These successes reinforce the credibility of the University and its partners," emphasizes Philippe Augé.

As the Ministry points out, "the projects selected are all expected to have an impact on their local area. The Montpellier project emphasizes this local dimension, and the Region has responded by doubling its contribution and providing a budget of 23.2 million euros. A commitment made in the name of its Green Pact for Occitania, as underlined by President Carole Delga: " The collective research work to be carried out by the University of Montpellier and its partners on the impact of external factors and our environment on health is essential. A better understanding of these phenomena will enable us to implement more appropriate and innovative public policies in the region. That's why I wanted to give this project every chance of success through strong financial support.

By supporting the establishment and development of companies, ExposUM should also be a major asset for the metropolis and the Med Vallée project, which aims to make Montpellier a European-class hub for health, the environment, food and well-being.

New Chairs of Excellence

In all, more than 46 million euros over 8 years will be added to the resources provided by the University and its eleven partners. This is a significant sum, and a strong signal for Montpellier on a national level," enthuses Eric Delaporte. Our project is extremely ambitious, and we must now collectively establish the precise strategic orientations of the first actions we want to implement." Research projects will of course see the light of day, thanks to the recruitment of young researchers, but also new chairs of excellence " which will really be at the heart of ExposUM ".

Cutting-edge technological platforms for risk assessment, pollutant concentration measurement and health impact monitoring will be strengthened through the recruitment of engineers. Human and financial resources will also be provided to enhance the value of research results and make them directly useful to society. Of course, training will not be forgotten, with the creation of new training courses in Montpellier, as well as in areas where emerging risks are significant. " With ExposUM, we are quite simply writing the next chapters in the Muse success story," concludes Eric Delaporte.