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The district funds science

The district funds science

Established in 2022, the Regional Science Programs of High Ambition (PSGAR) aims to support and highlight research programs capable of making technological leaps, impacting three main types of societal problems: coastal hazards, agroecological transition, and emerging infectious diseases. Programs coordinated by public laboratories are intended to provide support or guidance for future regional policies. The goal is to put knowledge at the center of public debate.”Gerard Blanchard trusts, Vice President of the Regional Council in charge of higher education and research.

To achieve this, €7.9 million has been granted by the Standing Committee of Nouvelle Aquitaine for implementation and research linked to three programmes:
– CORALI, multidisciplinary knowledge for better adaptation to coastal hazards (€2.3 million)
– MAIA, Agroecological Aggregation and Intensification to Strengthen the Resilience of Agricultural Systems and Ensure Food Security in New Aquitaine (€2.4 million)
– MIE, Emerging Infectious Diseases (€3 million)

At the Purdue Regional Hall, elected officials and educators detailed action plans for various PSGAR schools to mark their official launch

Coasts to tame

PSGAR CORALI aims to deepen scientific knowledge about coastal changes and their impacts on local life. In addition to the consequences of global warming or natural movements of the coast, “There is a strong change in the coastal zone linked to the development of the number of people using it“, mentions Olivier Pujolar, Vice President responsible for Partnerships and Territories at Purdue University. For more than a decade, towns like Lacano have been exposed to constant changes along the coast, and are no longer able to adapt to them.

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We suffer from a lack of knowledge regarding wave modification and transformation during storms“, confirms Olivier Pujolar for his part. To address this problem, the CORALI project wants to rely on a scientific review of coastal development, examining past developments as a mirror for the future of Aquitaine's new beaches.

This historical study aims to develop adaptation strategies, which will be based on studying the development of coasts in the medium term, as well as on events related to sudden climate changes. These two areas of study will make it possible to capture the coasts of New Aquitaine by 2028, a date that extends to the current PSGAR CORALI.

Environmentally friendly agricultural production

Agriculture is the primary economic pillar of New Aquitaine. But the dominant model in the region remains intensive agriculture, which, although profitable, does not allow sustainable exploitation of resources and has a significant impact on the environment. “We have a complex agricultural context“, regrets Adrian Roche, Research Director at INRAE. It is from this context that PSGAR MAIA was born, the aim of which is to intensify agroecology to ensure food security in the region.

Before we can make this new agricultural method workable and seek to popularize it, a period of scientific analysis and research will be in place. “There is a lack of understanding of the positive and negative impacts of agroecosystems. This deficiency is explained by the current context, where agroecology is considered a minority“, explains Adrian Roche. The financial assistance proposed by the region (2.4 million euros) will allow the support of stakeholders and regions “On the transformation of agro-food systems and the intensification of agroecology”.

Once this research period is completed, the MAIA project promises, among other things, to increase the number of agro-ecological zones, reduce the use of pesticides, maintain soil health and fertility, and predict the risks of climate change.

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This project will extend until 2027, with support from the region and local stakeholders.

Avoid spreading disease

Apart from the problem of agro-ecological transformation, there is a health problem“, shouted Alain Rousset. The president of the regional council here refers to a global pandemic affecting New Aquitaine, which is avian influenza. This pathogenic disease is currently limited to poultry, which if infected with the disease dies within a few days. If humans are not affected, for the time being, With this transition, it could be very different, and in the worst-case scenario that researchers envision, bird flu could turn into a human-to-human influenza pandemic by 2030.

Pattern of bird influenza transmission

To avoid this scenario, the region decided to invest €3 million in PSGAR MIE. The goal is to prepare to fight the emergence of tomorrow's viruses, whether at the human or animal level.

The effect of global warming on the transmission of some viruses appears“, warns Dennis Mulvey, professor at Purdue University. To do this, rapid and innovative diagnostic tools will emerge. At the same time, improvement of current treatments will be implemented, in response to the fact “Many people die due to antibiotic resistance“, confirms Marie-Cécile Bloy, professor at the University of Limoges. With the support of no less than 37 different actors, including 4 national centres, the MIE project aims to create a synergy between actors for better health of citizens.