The Institut montpellierrain de l'eau et de l'environnement becomes a UNESCO International Center

On November 18, the general conference of UNESCO member states approved the creation of an international center dedicated to water in Montpellier. This is a major recognition for the water science community led since 2015 by the Institut montpellierrain de l'eau et de l'environnement (IM2E), which has benefited from the support of the MUSE I-SITE through its WATERS Key Initiative.

From the Institut montpellierrain de l'eau et de l'environnement...

Created in January 2015, the Institut montpellierrain de l'eau et de l'environnement (IM2E) coordinates and leads the largest national community in the field of water sciences. It brings together over 400 scientists and 150 PhD students from 15 research units*. The momentum generated by IM2E has been reinforced by the MUSE I-SITE project, since water is at the heart of the cluster's three key challenges: feeding, caring and protecting. The support provided by MUSE has enabled the collective ambition of Montpellier's "water" community to become a reality. Among the projects launched in this context is the creation of a UNESCO International Center, approved on November 18 by the General Conference of UNESCO member states, following a lengthy evaluation process led in particular by UNESCO's International Hydrological Program Council. There is only one other center of this type in France: located in Nice, it concerns pure and applied mathematics.

The agreement formalizing the implementation of the center will shortly be signed by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, UNESCO and the University of Montpellier.

... at the Centre international UNESCO de Montpellier

The creation of the UNESCO International Center in Montpellier (the official name is ICIReWaRD: International Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Water Systems Dynamics) is undoubtedly international recognition of the leading role played by the Montpellier water sciences community. The Center, which will position itself as one of the most important in the world - thanks to the diversity of its research and training themes and
the influence of its teams in the North and South - will boost the visibility and attractiveness of this community tenfold. Four objectives are being pursued:

  • strengthen scientific partnerships in the North, in particular through the network of UNESCO Water Centers and Chairs (the "Water Family")
  • consolidate solid and fruitful research and training collaborations in developing countries and regions vulnerable to water-related problems (rapid urbanization, demographic pressure, expected effects of climate change)
  • attract top students and scientists

train future professionals with the skills and expertise needed to tackle water issues in a world of ever-increasing constraints and new opportunities.

* ART-Dev, BRGM/NRE, ChimEco, Espace-Dev, G-EAU, GM, GRED, HSM, IEM, ITAP, CEE-M, LBE, LISAH, LGEI, TETIS under the supervision of 16 higher education establishments or research organizations (BRGM, CIRAD, CNRS, INRA, IRD, IRSTEA, AgroParisTech, CIHEAM, ENSCM, IMT Mines Alès, Montpellier SupAgro, Université des Antilles, Université de Montpellier, Université Paul Valéry Montpellier 3, Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, Université de La Réunion).