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Metaprogrammes: programming tools for strategic goals

Updated on 01/23/2017
Published on 12/14/2016
Keywords: Inra2025 - FOCUS

Programming, traditionally developed at INRA, has been enhanced since 2010 with the gradual implementation of eight metaprogrammes which address major scientific and societal challenges. The aim of the programmes is to broadly mobilise the expertise of the Institute and its partners without the compartmentalisation that exists between scientific disciplines and organisational structures, and to establish integrated and cross-disciplinary approaches – the only kind suitable for challenges of this magnitude. 


Focus on interdisciplinarity

Each metaprogramme is designed to combine the discipline-specific expertise of several divisions and apply it to a single transversal goal. Doing so mobilises INRA’s own human and financial resources as well as external ones. 
The growing importance of the metaprogrammes has resulted in the mobilisation of complete teams and the assignment of an increasing share of the overall resources allocated to units, as well as the recruitment of several dozen researchers and engineers to provide ongoing support for the projects developed by think tanks for each metaprogramme. 
From the outset, it was clear that metaprogrammes would only use a percentage of the Institute’s resources. This is still true today: the fundamental work of divisions on discipline-specific and com-plementary fronts is necessary on a long-term basis. 


Metaprogrammes as a vector of internationalisation for INRA

Metaprogrammes were also designed to facilitate access to foreign partners. Each programme has an international scientific committee composed of experts from every scientific field.
The range of programming offered by the metaprogrammes is systematically highlighted at events with our international partners, as are any specific features for which cooperation yields the most synergy.


Feedback and assessment: essential

As a concept, metaprogrammes are well established and are producing results. Their implementation has promoted dialogue at all levels and encouraged multi-disciplinary approaches.  They are powerful tools for breaking down internal barriers and pro-moting external partnerships.
For a detailed review of the progress made at the halfway point in the implementation of this pro-gramming tool – initially planned for a period of approximately ten years, with adjustments if necessary – another international event, similar to the one held in 2011, will be organised in 2017.