INRA

As the leading agricultural research institute in Europe, and second worldwide for its scientific publications in the field...

... INRA’s activities are steered both by the dynamics of science and by the socioeconomic challenges on dietary, environmental and agricultural matters. As a public finalized research organization, INRA is involved in research and innovation and produces expert reviews to assist with public decision-making.


Through Aviesan, INRA looks into the generic processes of biology and, together with INSERM, manages the "Circulation, Metabolism and Nutrition" thematic multi-organization institute, because of its expertise in dietary matters.

The specific scientific angle INRA takes in its work with Aviesan focuses on nutrition in healthy people and its rapport with health, especially aspects concerning so-called non-transmissible diseases (degenerative or chronic diseases, for example).

INRA is also actively supporting the setup of a joint strategy involving the constitution of large national cohorts on general subjects (coordinated with European initiatives) taking account of the socioeconomic environment, dietary habits, nutritional status and state of health. The key objective is to understand the inter-relations between diet and health and their causality. This requires joint, concerted platforms to be set up: a major challenge that needs taking up within the Alliance.

Lastly, our close ties with the food processing industry should enable us to involve it more in research work on these major health issues. The relations between diet and health place these partners at the centre of important society questions with major economic and social impacts in terms of public health.

François Houllier
President of INRA

Nutrition in healthy people and its rapport with health: INRA’s research

  • dietary habits: sensory aspects, how they are perceived and related with health;
  • integrated intestinal physiology (absorption of nutrients - role of the intestine in metabolic and immune signposting with a key role for the microbiota and its metagenome);
  • relations between diet and the metabolic environment, particularly inflammation and insulin resistance which are common to most chronic diseases (cancer, cardiovascular, diabetes, obesity, neurological, liver, rheumatological, etc.)
  • links between food safety, food toxicology and human health.

In this context, INRA applies its scientific expertise in generic research and animal testing with potential applications or definite end goals for human health. INRA researchers studying these subjects mainly work within the “Human nutrition” (ALIMH) and “Microbiology and the food chain” (MICA) scientific departments.

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