Irstea - National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture (France)


Irstea is a public scientific and technological institute and reports to both the Research and Agriculture ministries. It collaborates with other research organisations, universities, industrial companies and local governments on environmental topics related to global change. Its research deals primarily with surface-water quality, biodiversity, green technologies, territorial planning and environmental economics. 

With a budget of 110 million euros, it employs 1,600 people, including 550 permanent researchers and engineers, in nine regional centres in France.

Irstea 2020 strategic plan, voted at the end of 2008, lays out the ambitions of the institute in three major scientific challenges for the years to come, namely water and territorial development, environmental quality and risk management for both natural hazards and pollution.

Irstea research is managed in twelves research themes organised in three departments:

  • Water
  • Environmental technologies
  • Land use

Some indicators

  • More than €2 M per year in European financing
  • 37 projects selected for the 6th RTD Framework Programme (success rate of 35%)
  • 10 projects selected for the 7th RTD Framework Programme
  • Institut Carnot label in 2006
  • 130 research contracts with industrialists
  • Involvement in 11 competitiveness clusters, including 2 with a global dimension
  • An incubator of innovative companies (Minéa in Montpellier): creation of two companies on average per year