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Research programmes

The Eccorev research federation

ECosystèmes COntinentaux et Risques EnVironnementaux (Continental Ecosystems and Environmental Risks)

Eccorev is a cooperative research structure studying "continental ecosystems and environmental risks", particularly as applied to Mediterranean areas.

Created on January 1, 2008, Eccorev is a group of laboratories, with complementary expertise and resources, that contribute to the development of an interdisciplinary approach to the environment. Thus it will be able to meet calls for tender on complex issues: global warming, regional vulnerability, biodiversity of ecosystems, remediation of contaminated sites, the impact of changes in the industrial fabric, tourism, agricultures, etc.

For the laboratories, Eccorev has a two-fold scientific dynamic: solving complex environmental problems by pooling the expertise of different research teams; and the emergence of new projects in each laboratory thanks to the existence of the research federation.
The federation provides a single contact point for answers to multi-layered problems addressed by many different scientific approaches, an advantage for funding and other partner organisations. Such collaboration gives the laboratories more weight in discussion with these partners.



Objectives of the research federation


The environment is a multi-faceted subject. Analysing the impacts of climate change involves a wide range of disciplines from hydrology, chemistry, ecotoxicology, and microbiology through to economics, law and sociology (agricultural practices, waste management...).
This is why the research federation includes human and social sciences, as well as "hard" sciences including natural science. Thus it tends to encourage innovative projects that have the primary aim of solving risk-related problems, taking account of scientific, technological, legal, economic and social aspects.

Eccorev's objectives can be specified as follows:

  • to set up and run a multi-disciplinary research forum, including human and social sciences, based on the environmental sciences, in order to create a national and European science and technology centre ;
  • to increase the visibility of research and encourage the organisation of scientific events and training;
  • to promote, support and run multi-disciplinary research projects, and giving them added scientific and economic value by creating relationships with local organisations;
  • to suggest sustainable ways of managing natural resources and environmental risks;
  • to optimise the use of intellectual and material resources;
  • to seek funding for projects (ANR, European Commission…).



The scope of Eccorev research


Eccorev's ambition is to better understand man’s interaction with nature in regard to vulnerability and risk. Eccorev applies this question to Mediterranean areas, a region which faces all climate problems except volcanoes, and which is under great anthropic pressure. The region has both mountainous and maritime areas, and will probably be sensitive to climate changes.

Eccorev is taking a two-fold approach.

One aspect is to look at “vulnerability”, developing a multi-disciplinary systemic approach for a better understanding of the various processes. Research projects should be able to relate physical, biological and biogeochemical processes to anthropic processes.

Eccorev is also directing its research towards action, deliberately working towards completed research. The objective is to find answers to "social expectations", in terms of technical solutions (environmental remediation, ecotechnology), legal and socioeconomic incentives tools to act. To do this, interactions between arriving at scientific knowledge and actions must be considered: when a process is properly understood the need to, and means of, action become apparent.



4 areas of research


It is to be expected that each laboratory will stimulate development of new scientific projects involving several of the federation teams. ECCOREV has defined four areas of research and "mobilisation programmes" to encourage thinking about prospects and projects, and cross-fertilisation between disciplines. Given the wide range of ECCOREV's activities, the main aim of these programmes is to cut across different areas of research. Furthermore, specific funding is planned to create links between teams to improve relationships between the "hard" sciences and the human and social sciences.


Area 1: Morphogenesis, natural risks, climatic variability (Olivier Bellier, Cerege)

  • Hydrological risks (low and high water levels) 
  • Seismic risks 
  • Risks from gravity and earth movements 
  • Climatic variation (past, present and future) 
  • Risks from forest fires


Area 2: Vulnerability of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (André Chanzy, INRA)

  • Sustainable management of resources (water, soil, biodiversity) 
  • Anticipate and follow the effects of global changes 
  • Prevent risks from loss of biodiversity, biological invasion and fire


Area 3: Environmental Ecodynamics and Toxicology (Wafa Achouak, CEA/CNRS)

  • Sensitivity of ecosystems to toxins (biogeochemical behaviour of contaminants in ecosystems - risk assessment) 
  • Sensitivity of living matter to pollutant toxicity (mechanisms used by toxins to change and adapt, impact and mode of action, identification of target molecules that indicate toxicity)


Area 4: Ecotechnologies and sustainable development (Gilles Peltier, CEA)

  • Characterization, treatment and limitation of pollution (detection, site remediation, water treatment, recycling) 
  • Production of renewable energy (production of hydrogen, biofuels, using biodiversity)


Cross-cutting mobilisation programmes

  • Territorial approach (J. Dubois, Institut d’Aménagement Régional)
  • Human-Environment Observatory in the Garadanne coalfield (P. Batteau, IAE)

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  • 09/09/08 Catherine Mercat was appointed as a member of the Eccorev director board. She is the second IRSN representative to actively participate to the management of the federation, after François Bréchignac, member of the Scientific board.


Human and material ressources

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