President of Agropolis International, Montpellier (France)
Bernard HUBERT, Senior scientist at the National Institute for Agricultural Research (Institut National de Recherche Agronomique, INRA) and Professor at the Advanced School for the Social Sciences (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, EHESS), trained as an ecologist (his thesis study concerned functional ecology in Western Africa), but his work has broadened as he has questioned the role of human activities in this setting, seeking to understand the contribution of the social sciences to issues in the life sciences.
This approach led him to reflect upon cross-disciplinary studies and the conduct of interventional, mission-oriented research with the actors concerned. He put this thinking into practice by heading a research unit on ecological development oriented towards the links between animal husbandry and forests, the aim being to prevent forest fires in Mediterranean regions (coordination of activities by those involved in animal husbandry, forestry and local government, etc., combining diverging interests between heterogeneous actors), and directing three successive European projects.
This wide-ranging experience led him to become Director of the Agrarian Systems and Development Department at INRA (from 1994 to 2003), to which he gave new impetus on the interface between social sciences and biotechnical sciences after an international review he organised. Then he became the Scientific Director at INRA for Social sciences and applied mathematics and informatics (Scientific direction ‘Society, Economy, Decision’) from 2003 to 2007. From mid 2007 to mid 2010 he was in charge of a joint venture between INRA and CIRAD, the French Initiative for International Agricultural Research (FI4IAR), which will provide the two organizations, at the highest level, with real strategic study forums that will both benefit from and contribute to the evolution of science and will also enable them to work towards pertinent and open proposals of scientific programs aimed at both national and international decision-makers, based on national, European and international partnerships. He worked as Lead author for the “natural resources use regimes” of the “global” report of the "International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development" (IAASTD). He has been elected as Chair of Agropolis International in Montpellier, where he is acting since April 1st 2009, and is chairing since 2010 the French CRAI (Commission de la Recherche Agronomique Internationale), which groups together IRSTEA, CIRAD, INRA and IRD with the three Ministries in charge of Foreign Affairs, Research, and Agriculture.
In more recent years, sustainable development has provided the intellectual framework for the development of cross-disciplinary work around the notion of integration (of disciplines, social actors, public and private sector actions), by deliberately focusing on the design and conduct of research projects in society.
Thus in 2002, he joined with Olivier GODARD, an economist and Professor at the Ecole Polytechnique, to carry out a study on the implications of sustainable development for research at INRA. He thus designed and implemented a programme on ‘Agriculture and Sustainable Development’ (2004-2007), and then prepared its pursuit in the form of another programme – from which he is chairing the Scientific committee - on ‘Ecosystems, Territories, Living resources and Agriculture’ (SYSTERRA), starting in 2008 and granted by the French National Research Agency (ANR). Since 2010 he participates to the Steering Committees of the ANR Programmes “Agrobiosphère” and “Sociétés Innovantes” and chairs to one of "TransMed"
Finally, he ensured initiation of the third generation of participative programmes (2007-2011) "For and On Regional Development" in collaboration with ten French regions, involving INRA, CIRAD and IRSTEA.
He is a member of the Scientific Council of the CIRAD Research Department “Environment and Society”, of IFRIS (Institut Francilien Recherche Innovation Société/Labex SITES), of ICROFS (International Center for Research in Organic Food Systems) and chairs the Board of ICRA (International Center for development oriented Research in Agriculture) since 2009, and the Evaluation Committee of the Agricultural Research Institute of Neo-Caledonia since 2006. From 2002 to 2008 he act as a member of the "Continuing Committee of the International Rangeland Congress".
As Professor at EHESS, he is leading a research seminar on the epistemological and social challenges of advances in the life sciences in the context of future sustainable development, at Paris and on “Environmental controversies and anthropology of nature” at Marseille.
He was a founder member of the journal Natures Sciences Sociétés (EDP Sciences) which was launched in 1993, and remains one of its chief editors.
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