Summary
In a series of videos BRGM reviews its successful projects and programmes, flourishing partnerships and exceptional results in 2021.
11 April 2022

BRGM presents flashbacks of some of its key achievements in 2021, with each video covering one of the six strategic goals in its objectives and performance contract with the French government, namely:

  • Promote a research policy to support the production of knowledge, expertise and innovation
  • Deploy BRGM’s expertise to help shape public policies
  • Support a proactive policy for innovation, adding value and knowledge transfer
  • Strengthen BRGM’s European and international strategy
  • Develop a sites and training policy in line with our scientific strategy
  • Boost governance and management dynamics

You can watch the 6 videos by clicking on the links below.

The blue-green water in this limestone formation, Oman The blue-green water in this limestone formation, Oman

Production of knowledge, expertise and innovation

BRGM’s research contributes to the production of knowledge, expertise and innovation. Discover some of the 2021 success stories.

Three European H2020 projects won

In 2021, BRGM was entrusted with 3 European H2020 projects: Rawmina, CoCliCo and Promisces.

The “OneWater - Water as a Common Good” programme, chosen by the government

The OneWater - Water as a Common Good project was selected in the first round of the call for “Priority Research Programmes and Equipment” (PEPR), published in the framework of the Fourth Future Investment Programme (PIA4) and the France Relance (recovery) plan. This 10-year programme benefits from a €53 million investment for the future to explore 6 scientific and technical challenges for moving towards more responsible conception and management of water as an essential common good. 

Exceptional success in French research agency (ANR) calls for projects

Finally, 14 projects out of the 56 BRGM pre-proposals submitted in December 2020 were selected in the context of ANR calls for projects, i.e., a success rate of 25%.

2021 achievements: production of knowledge, expertise and innovation

Find out more about our 3 success stories in 2021, concerning the production of knowledge, expertise and innovation.

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AGREED PERFORMANCE OBJECTIVES Focus 1: Championing research policy that drives knowledge production, expertise, and innovation Success 1: Three European H2020 proposals accepted "Already 21 proposals from BRGM... and 17 more coming in 2022" 9 million euros in non-targeted funding = 66 full-time positions. 3 European project proposals accepted in coordination with Rawmina, CoCliCo, and Promisces projects Developing 3 innovative technologies Recovery of mining waste through bioleaching, alkaline leaching, selective recovery Consortium of 19 partners Goals: recover valuable and critical raw materials and various marketable fractions BRGM technology: bioleaching metals in pilot reactor. Working toward demonstration unit in Spain. Goals: treat 100-150 kg per day of mine waste Create web platform for climate services Assessing coastal hazards 1. Evaluate erosion and submersion coastal hazards in Europe 2. Explore sea-level hazard scenarios and socio-economic impacts 3. Develop enhanced services for expert users Launched in 2021 for a 4-year period, the platform can be useful in the Copernicus programme, partnering with Mercator Ocean Developing innovative solutions for eliminating potentially harmful pollutants Julie Lions Expert hydrogeochemist (DEPA/EVE) The H2020 Promisces project coordinated by BRGM is an ambitious and innovative part of the European Commission's Green Deal. It seeks to rein in the problem of air pollutants that spread throughout the environment, compromising the long-term availability of natural resources and re-usability in circular economies. Working with 27 partners across 9 countries, we're focusing our efforts on the water-soil-sediment chain to protect resources and ensure their long-term safety. BRGM will develop analytical methodologies for detecting perfluoroalkyls, or PFAS, in the environment, study their effects, and implement innovative remedies with commercial partners to treat contaminated groundwater and soil. BRGM will carry out 1 of 7 Promisces case studies on its plurimetric pilot lab, PRIME, located in Orléans. The experimental pilot will last two years. Success 2: Federal approval of OneWater - Eau Bien Commun programme OneWater is one of 4 projects that won approval in the call for PEPR proposals "OneWater wins approval as a 'PEPR exploration' in the Investments for the Future program." Investments for the Future OneWater program... 53 million euros in funding A 10-year program focused on 6 science and technology challenges to reconceptualize and improve water management as a common good. Two future PEPR proposals to be submitted by BRGM: SOUSSOL (subsoil common good), IRIMA (natural and technological risks) Success 3: Outstanding acceptance rate in ANR calls for proposals 8 projects accepted 56 pre-proposals submitted by BRGM in December 2020 14 projects approved in the general call for proposals 8 projects approved in bilateral programs (regional and international) 8 coordinated projects Total funding: 3.78 million euros

Subsidence, Rouvroy-en-Santerre Subsidence, Rouvroy-en-Santerre

Support for public policy development

In 2021, BRGM continued to provide support for its public partners and local authorities in charge of carrying out public policies. 5 success stories are highlighted here.

Support for the development of near-surface geothermal energy in the Greater Paris Metropolitan Area

BRGM provided support for the development of geothermal energy in the Greater Paris Metropolis. An exceptional project in an area of more than 800 km2 with 7 million inhabitants, 148 municipalities and energy needs in excess of 50 TWh/year.

Treatment of a sink-hole under a shop in Saint-Etienne

BRGM intervened promptly by treating, as a matter of urgency, a sink-hole discovered under a business in Saint-Etienne. The work, completed in less than 2 months, filled in the 15-metre-deep cavity which had a surface area of approximately 100 square metres.

Mineral resources: support for industrial sectors

To provide sustainable access to mineral resources, BRGM has intervened to support industrial sectors, in particular by carrying out three geological and mining studies in partnership with French industrialists. The Minéralinfo website, the French reference portal on mineral resources, has, moreover, been completely redesigned.

Development of geothermal energy in the Caribbean

2021 was also the year in which BRGM undertook the energy transition project in the Caribbean. Within the framework of Interreg cooperation led by the Guadeloupe region, this 2-year project will usher in the creation of a centre of excellence and the exploration of deep and near-surface resources.

Managing the risk of karst collapse in Orléans

Finally, BRGM intervened to prevent a risk of ground collapse in Orléans on Avenue Gaston Galloux. This event led to discussions with local actors on ways of improving the overall management of karst collapse risks.

2021 achievements: support for shaping public policy

Our expertise in shaping public policy led to 5 major achievements in 2021.

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Focus 2: Leveraging BRGM expertise in public policy Success 1: Near-surface geothermal in Paris BRGM at work in a critical regional network Major project in France's most populous area Unique study area Population of 7 million 148 communes 800 km2 Energy demand >50 TWh/year 12 agents across 3 operations centres 1. "7 Reasons to go Geothermal" guide created and published 2. Updating information on subsoil database BSS and published in real time on www.geothermies.fr 3. Mapped areas of near-surface geothermal potential in the Paris region Success 2: Sinkhole repair beneath a business in Saint-Étienne Emergency stabilisation of topsoil and building BRGM's response: works finished in under two months repairing a hole 15 m deep and 100 m2 in surface area Propping Filling the cavity Rehabilitating power grid and earthworks Repairing the foundations Success 3: Sustainable mineral exploitation BRGM partnering with industry 3 geological and mine studies working with French companies Goals: securing supply of mineral resources More sustainable and comprehensive exploitation. Complete redesign of www.mineralinfo.fr 10,000 visitors per month 20,000 page views per month French reference of choice for mineral resources Goals: offer rich, up-to-date data for individuals as well as companies to bring mineral resources to public attention Success 4: Going geothermal in the Caribbean 3D modelling of geothermal reservoirs on a volcanic island Energy Transition in the Caribbean is an Interreg initiative taking place in Guadeloupe for a two-year duration. Regional development of geothermal is one of the main aims of the project, and BRGM is making it a top priority to create a technical hub for exploring both deep and near-surface resources. BRGM is working to develop rapid, cost-effective, and bespoke approaches for Caribbean islands to determine and profile geothermal reservoirs. This is possible in large part thanks to geophysical tools developed to build new geothermometers and assess potential near-surface geothermal resources. Success 5: Risk management of karst sinkhole on Avenue Gaston Galloux in Orléans From assessing susceptibility to risk management Goals: 1. Creating an accurate geotechnical model 2. Creating a bespoke action plan along with assessment and susceptibility mapping 3. Geophysical feedback and adopting a multi-measured approach 4. Working with locals for integrated management of risk of karst sinkholes

PRIME platform, Orléans PRIME platform, Orléans

Valorisation, innovation and transfer

In 2021, BRGM continued to promote innovation by supporting several future-oriented projects.

The Imagine2 project awarded the EquipEx+ label

As part of the French “Investing for the Future Programme” (PIA [Programme d’investissements d’avenir] a total of 50 strategic projects for developing research facilities received the EquipEx+ label . One of these, Imagine2, aims to create a national imaging and analysis platform for energy and environmental transition. This project should boost the influence of higher education and research in the Centre-Val de Loire region, and strengthen cooperation between research establishments, particularly thanks to existing platforms, such as Plat’ Inn, PRIME and the MIMAROC platform currently being built. 

BRGM wins the 1st phase of the BHP Tailings Challenge

The Circular Mine Consortium, of which BRGM is a member, was selected in the first phase of the BHP Tailings Challenge, one of 10 consortia chosen out of 153 applicants. Objective: to develop an innovative process to treat 50 million tonnes per year of mine waste from the processing of copper ores. BRGM is positioned as a world-renowned player in the reprocessing and recovery of mining waste.

2021 achievement: valorisation, innovation and transfer

Two 2021 achievements are presented here, illustrating proactive policy for innovation, development and knowledge transfer.

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Focus 3: Support a proactive policy of valorisation, innovation and transfer Success 1: Project Imagine2 awarded the EquipEx+ label Contributing to higher education and research in the Centre-Val de Loire region and promoting cooperation between research institutions. Imagine. Not a John Lennon song dug up in a geological exploration, rather a national structural action around large-scale scientific equipment. The Imagine2 project is an EquipEx in the 3rd Investing for the Future Programme. Coordinated by Cerege and supported by BRGM, it brings together 14 partners with the aim of offering a national multi-scale imaging platform for energy and environmental transition. As well as 10 million euros in subsidies and investments for equipment for BRGM or our partners in Orléans, this platform will also harness all the partners' existing equipment, thus giving us privileged access to hitherto inaccessible tools. Finally, Imagine2 will bolster the national and international foundations of BRGM platforms, both existing and under construction, including Prime, Plat'Inn, but especially Mimaroc, the 4D tomography platform which will be operational in March 2022. Success 2 - Winner of the 1st phase of the BHP Tailings Challenge (3 phases) Developing an innovative process to treat 50 million tonnes per year of mining residue from copper-ore processing Circular Mine Consortium 6 partners Phase 1 10 consortia retained out of 153 Phase 2 3 consortia will be selected BRGM positions itself as a key actor internationally in the reprocessing and recovery of mining waste

The Brandberg Mountain, Namibia The Brandberg Mountain, Namibia

European and international strategy

To strengthen its European and international strategy, BRGM provides support for high-stakes projects around the world.

Two major geological infrastructure projects finalised in Cameroon and Malawi

To increase geological knowledge of regions and their mineral resources, and to better understand natural hazards, BRGM has completed two major geological infrastructure projects, in Cameroon and Malawi. This work aimed to foster the development of strategic partnerships and promote the mining potential of both countries.

Support for the Namibian government in its fight against drought

BRGM also supported the Namibian government in its fight against drought. This is the 1st partnership between BRGM and the French Development Agency (AFD) for capacity building for groundwater management in Namibia.

2021 achievement: European and international strategy

Discover our 2 international stories of successes in 2021.

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Focus 4: Strengthen the European and international strategy Success 1: 2 key geological infrastructure projects finalised in Cameroon and Malawi Encourage the development of strategic partnerships and promote the mining potential of Cameroon and Malawi In partnership with the small-scale mining sector Aims: 1. Develop geological knowledge of the areas, mineral resources and potential 2. Conduct natural-risk assessments 3. Strengthen technical and human capacity 4. Deliver dedicated logistic and scientific equipment 5. Train students and government representatives 6. Set up a geological and mining information system Success 2: Bring BRGM support to the Namibian government to combat drought 1st partnership with the French Development Agency (AFD) to step up capacity and the management of groundwater in Namibia A 450,000-euro contract was signed with the French Development Agency in July 2021. It pledges BRGM's support to the Namibian government in the fight against drought, and embodies the first stage of a very promising, wide-ranging partnership with the AFD. A related R&D initiative will also be conducted for this project. It involves developing a method of assessing the impact of climate change on water resources in dry environments. Alexis Gutierrez is the manager of this 2-year project. A water-resource forecasting map will be drawn up for the northern provinces of Omusati and Kunene, which are particular priorities for the Namibian government due to their large number of inhabitants and agricultural activities. Finally, I'd like to add that special emphasis was put on training government officers from the two ministries benefiting from this project, those for Water and the Environment. Seven week-long training courses will be given on the different areas of hydrogeology.

Graphic design of web computer servers, Spain Graphic design of web computer servers, Spain

Site and training policy

BRGM developed a sites and training policy in line with its science strategy. For 2021, two key successes are highlighted.

Deployment of the Coastal Risks and Climate Change Unit in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

2021 marked a change for BRGM's coastal sector. The reference centre, initially based in Orléans, was relocated to Bordeaux, thus creating a centre of excellence on the coast. Objectives: to strengthen links with the Aquitaine science ecosystem and to create a centre of excellence with European or even international reach.

A Data Centre for pooling digital resources and services for researchers and teachers

BRGM, INSA Centre-Val de Loire, the University of Orléans and the University of Tours combined forces to set up a joint data centre called the Centre-Val de Loire Regional Data Centre. Labelled a “regional data centre” by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, it offers a “self-service” portal, a powerful and simplified tool for developing work and projects.

2021 achievement: site and training policy

This theme concerns 2 major successes of 2021 on the subject of site policy and training.

© BRGM

Focus 5: Develop a site and training policy in line with the scientific strategy Success 1: Deployment of the coastal risks and climate-change unit in Nouvelle Aquitaine Creation of a European centre of excellence on the coast Coastline management has become a key priority at BRGM, prompted by societal issues related to global changes. It is one of the 3 development priorities in our performance commitments and is based on the changes of the continental shelf-sea-land continuum, part of adapting our coastlines and making them more resilient. Firstly, by addressing natural and anthropic risks, such as the erosion or submersion of the coastline, and by assessing the resources and quality of coastal groundwater. In 2021, the BRGM decided to shift its coastal research centre from Orléans to Bordeaux. As a result, part of the coastline-risk and climate-change team, a group of 6 people from DRP, set up in Pessac, with the DAT Nouvelle-Aquitaine team, to work on a project that aims to create, with our research and institutional partners in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, a European centre of excellence for coastlines. Success 2: A Data Centre to pool resources and digital services for researchers and teachers One of the first Data Centres awarded the "regional data centre" label by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation Aims: Pool technical resources and expertise to store, save and process data from higher-education institutions and research. A "self-service" platform which offers autonomous access to all types of IT systems and applications A simple, effective tool for developing work and projects

Investigating physical-chemical phenomena, Orléans Investigating physical-chemical phenomena, Orléans

Governance and steering

In 2021, 4 major achievements boosted BRGM’s governance and management: the start of the construction of new laboratories, the redesign of the website, the renewal of certifications and the 30th anniversary of the Fête de la science, organised at BRGM in Orléans.

Launch of the construction of new laboratories on the BRGM site in Orléans

The construction of a high-performance energy research platform is one of BRGM's flagship projects. The BATLAB programme is being set up in Orléans, in almost 3,500 m2 divided between laboratories, a reception area and co-working spaces. It should be commissioned in April 2025.

Redesigning of the BRGM website

The redesigned website, www.brgm.fr, has been a great success with more than 1,000 fully bilingual pages receiving nearly 600,000 visits per year. This major change has enabled BRGM to improve its communication of issues, solutions, references and news.

Renewal of the BRGM’s ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications

BRGM's ISO 9001 (quality) and ISO 14001 (environment) certifications were renewed at the end of 2021. They recognized BRGM's professionalism and environmental responsibility.

BRGM hosts the 30th anniversary of the Fête de la Science

The event of the year in 2021 was the Fête de la science organised on BRGM premises in Orléans. With more than 7,000 visitors (a record attendance for these open-door events organised at BRGM every four years), 25 external exhibitors and 200 BRGM volunteers, this annual event made for a joyful, festive and educational weekend.

2021 achievement: governance and steering

Discover 4 major successes of 2021 that have boosted our governance and the management of our institution.

© BRGM

Focus 6: New approaches in governance and steering Success 1: New laboratory facilities New 3,500-m2 BATLAB facility in Orléans Construction of a research platform with state-of-the-art energy supply Orléans project 16.62 million euros Six years from planning stage to completed construction Facility opens 2025 3,500 m2: 500 m2 of reception and preparation areas 1,500 m2 of laboratory space 950 m2 of commercial and co-working space Front hall and additional gathering spaces Success 2: Redesigning www.brgm.fr. New website designed for a wide array of users Over 1,000 pages, 100% bilingual Almost 600,000 visitors per year Improved visualization of improvement, solutions, references and news from BRGM. More intuitive user experience Success 3: Renewing ISO 9001 and 14001 certifications for 3 years Third-party recognition of BRGM's efforts Sign of a robust commitment to: 1. Customer satisfaction and partner dedication 2. Putting our environmental impact first Outcome of November 2021 audit: 6 key strengths, 7 areas of improvement, 5 vulnerable points Success 4: BRGM hosts 30th Annual Fête de la Science Discovery and wonder over a weekend of fun and learning at BRGM headquarters BRGM hosting the Fête de la Science 9th and 10th October 2021 Record visitor numbers: over 7,000 coming on foot and by bike A remarkable event: 25 external exhibitors, 200 BRGM volunteers to guide visitors and help bring events to life These and many more successes... Congratulations to all!