“The expertise of the scientific team at the CIHEAM Montpellier is used in applied research projects conducted in synergy with our Mediterranean network and our doctoral students.”
Research and education through research
The research activity has been an integral part of life at the CIHEAM Montpellier since 1978, with a first contract concluded with the European Commission examining the agricultural and food-related characteristics of the Mediterranean countries. Initially focussing almost entirely on expertise, it gradually evolved towards more academic and applied research primarily intended for public decision-makers. In 2006, it was endowed with a Mediterranean doctoral platform.
The research work falls under the aegis of a single laboratory called LAMES (Laboratoire d’accueil Méditerranéen en Economie et Sciences sociales). The scientific activities of research and education through research are coordinated by a permanent team consisting of 8 members of teaching-research staff who work in partnership with several institutions both in Montpellier and abroad. The primary remit of these permanent members of staff is that of providing training and higher education, while there is also a strong emphasis on the other missions of research, expertise and international cooperation.
This team is joined by the doctoral students of the CIHEAM Montpellier doctoral platform, many of whom are involved in the Institute’s activities and research projects.
Themes in step with current events
The CIHEAM Montpellier conducts research in the fields of the humanities and social sciences with a view to explaining major transformations and informing public decision-making on three key issues:
Sustainability and resilience of Mediterranean agro-ecosystems
Climate hazards, market instability, political and agri-environmental measures and the state of degradation of natural resources are taken into account. Based on agroeconomic approaches, the research and training programs analyze the origins of the environment-development debate and explain the dynamics of agroecosystems. In addition, participatory and modeling approaches make it possible to develop methods and tools for the design and evaluation of agricultural and food systems. The agricultural diversity and that of the actors at the level of the plot-farm-territory continuum are also taken into account.
Insertion of local agri-food chains in global value chains
In a context of market globalization, mastery of the supply chain and logistics processes (management of physical flows and information) is a necessity to ensure the performance of agrifood sectors and companies in interaction with their socio-institutional environment. The methodological approaches of value chains and sector analysis associated with the methods and tools of strategic management are used to analyze the strategies and modes of coordination of actors as well as to understand the modes of governance of the sectors. These analytical methods are also essential for understanding the complexity of the international environment: the functioning of markets (international and local) in a context of international negotiations aimed at greater liberalization, trade policies, national and international regulations.
Governance of rural territories in favour of the collaborative and reasoned development of rural areas
With reference to international standards and injunctions relating to sustainable development, the reflections developed lead to integrating, alongside decentralized or deconcentrated public institutions, the diversity of actors and to analyze their respective roles in the development and implementation of local development strategies. Agricultural and environmental sectoral issues call for an integrated approach. From this perspective, governance issues lead to questioning the life cycle of programs, types of collective actions, and agricultural and rural development projects, from their preparation to their evaluation while ensuring their consistency with regard to -views of other scales.
An extensive scientific network
The teaching-research staff at the CIHEAM Montpellier, the research fellows and the associate teaching-research staff are members of a university research laboratory and four separate joint research units, depending on the discipline they are involved in and the main focus of the work:
- LAGAM (Laboratoire de Géographie et d'Aménagement de Montpellier), an academic laboratory of the University Paul Valéry Montpellier III which has grown out of the GRED (governance, risk, environment and development) joint research unit
- UMR SENS (knowledge, environment and societies) with IRD-CIRAD-University Montpellier III
- UMR MOISA (markets, organisations, institutions and stakeholders’ strategies) with INRAe, Agro Montpellier-CIRAD Institute
- UMR ABSys (biodiversified agrosystems) with the Agro Montpellier-INRAe-CIRAD Institute
- UMR TETIS (territories, environment, tele-detection and spatial information) with CIRAD-INRAe-CNRS-AgroParisTech.