09 Jan 2007   |   Network Updates

Agricultural schools reorganised in France

The French government reorganised its state schools for agriculture, food and the environment - merging seven smaller institutions into two new ones, Paris Agro Tech and Montpellier Sup Agro.

Paris Agro Tech is the larger of the two, with 2,300 students, 200 teaching researchers and a staff of 676. It combines, over nine sites across France, the former state INA-PG or Paris-Grignon agronomics institute, ENSIA or the food and agriculture school at Massy, and ENGREF or the waters and forestry school. The director of the new school is Remi Toussain, formerly director of INA-PG and also president of ParisTech, an association of French Grandes Écoles in science and engineering.

The other new school, Montpellier Sup Agro, has 1,100 students, 100 teaching researchers and a staff of 273. It combines ENSAM, the Montpellier agronomics school; CNEARC, the national agronomics studies centre, as well as the tropical food and agriculture department at Monpellier's ENSIA and CEP, the Florac centre for experimental teaching. 

In all, the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishing has been funding 25 different schools and research institutes across France, and the reorganisation was billed as an effort to concentrate resources and raise the schools' international profiles. The change was ordered in December, and took effect 1 January. The ministry said 8 January that it is providing the schools extra funding to complete the reorganisation.

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