At a meeting in Orléans on 14 December 2022, the CEOs of BRGM and Inria reinforced their collaboration by signing a scientific partnership agreement.
15 December 2022

The agreement signed between BRGM and the French National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology (Inria) should enable more synergism between their complementary R&D skills in digital technology applied to ground and subsurface issues.

Accelerating scientific and technological collaboration between BRGM and Inria

Given their shared interests and complementary knowledge and skills, BRGM and Inria wish to reinforce their scientific partnership on a long-term basis. The challenge is to make better use of the increasing amount of often heterogeneous data on the ground and subsurface in order to improve the management of natural resources and their uses.

For several years, Inria has made the application of digital technology to the environment a priority, particularly for the decarbonisation of areas such as agriculture, mobility, energy systems and industry. BRGM, meanwhile, has integrated digital development for its applications as one of six strategic scientific-research challenges.

Modelling subsurface phenomena and coastal risks

BRGM and Inria aim to set up several joint projects, including a "Challenge" inspired by the concept of the "augmented geologist". The aim is to develop digital devices that can be used in real time, particularly in the field.

The modelling and visualisation of subsurface objects and phenomena in the form of digital twins is indeed one of the main challenges in Earth and environmental sciences for the next decade. In particular, the aim is to better understand these phenomena in order to get to grips with the issues of risks, energy and natural resources. 3D geomodelling, through the mastery of tools ranging from 3D geometric modelling to spatial grids and digital simulation, is central to this approach.

The development of in-situ geomodelling solutions, capable of increasing the capacities of geologists who deal with these issues, is a challenge which BRGM is convinced can be met by developing specific digital solutions with Inria.

3D scan of an underground gallery, Haute-Vienne

I am delighted to see this partnership come to fruition as the Earth and environmental sciences are undergoing a major upheaval with the accelerating role of digital technology in our research and expertise activities. Collaboration with Inria, a specialist in digital R&D, is essential for the development of BRGM.

Michèle Rousseau, BRGM Chair and Managing Director

An "Augmented Geologist Challenge"

To meet this strategic objective, the "Augmented Geologist Challenge" will mobilise several research teams from both institutions along with the launch of several joint doctoral theses.

Other developments will also be strengthened, such as the modelling of coastal risks around a research centre in New Aquitaine. The two institutions also intend to intensify their partnership in terms of computation codes on the Uhaina platform to better model the evolution of the coastline and to evaluate the risks of coastal flooding in vulnerable sectors.

This collaboration agreement also sets a framework for future participation in joint projects, particularly in response to national, European or international calls for projects. Staff mobility, the creation of joint project teams and support for private enterprise projects are some of the means that can be deployed to achieve the shared ambitions of the two institutions in all aspects of their activities. The agreement has been signed for a period of 5 years.

3D geometric model of the Dogger aquifer in the Paris Basin

The contribution of digital technology to the Earth and environmental sciences is one of Inria's priorities for strengthening its impact: our sphere of expertise covers many such scientific and technological fields. Our partnership with BRGM will enable us to tackle issues that arise, at scale, with field data. I am pleased that we can strengthen our joint impact with BRGM on key issues for many public policies.

Bruno Sportisse, Inria Chairman and CEO

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Inria - National Institute for Research in Digital Science and Technology

Inria is the French institute for research in digital science and technology. Its DNA encapsulates world-class research, technological innovation and entrepreneurial risk. Within 200 project teams, most of which are shared with major research universities, more than 3,900 researchers and engineers are exploring new avenues, often in an interdisciplinary manner and in collaboration with industrial partners, to meet ambitious challenges. As a technological institute, Inria supports innovative diversity: from open source software publishing to the creation of technological startups (Deeptech). Inria has been awarded the Carnot Institute label, confirming its desire to bring research and industry closer together.