Talk ITTECOP: an Institutional framework for integrated research on infrastructures landscapes and biodiversity

Policy makers, researchers and practitioners alike seek substantive scientific responses to professional questions, as well as methods to transfer research from lab to land. ITTECOP is a multi-disciplinary research programme on infrastructures, landscapes and biodiversity which seeks to attain this goal. The French Ministry for Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (MEDDE) created ITTECOP in 2008. ITTECOP is a multi-disciplinary research programme that explores infrastructure issues (affecting river, rail, energy and road transport, as well as regional interfaces such as train stations, ports and airports) with respect to landscapes in the regions concerned. This may include spatial and temporal dimensions, regional governance issues or ecological factors. ITTECOP hopes to help develop a lasting research community that evaluates the impacts of land-transport infrastructure (LTI). ITTECOP anticipates public decision-making needs in the fields of infrastructure, landscapes and biodiversity. A community of practice (made up of researchers, professionals and members of NGOs) can contribute to original thinking and support public decision-makers when evaluating LTI impacts. This is being explored in cases involving landscapes and biodiversity. For example, a project named GRAPHAB has developed landscape graphs to evaluate and mitigate the impacts of major transport infrastructure on species. As a decision-making tool, GRAPHAB can be used for decisions involving train lines or the optimization of wildlife localisation. Another project, developed in partnership with a local council, helps adapt a road project to local constraints (landscape, biodiversity and traffic issues). The research answers questions on developing bypasses and motorways in city fringe areas, identifying the requirements for bringing about changes in road manufacturing for fast point-to-point connections, and acquiring knowledge on ecosystems and corridors allowing the movement of plants and animals. ITTECOP is producing a unique research framework focused on founding infrastructures, landscapes and biodiversity projects and building a research community. The ITTECOP programme is managed by two authorities: a scientific board and a steering committee. The multidisciplinary scientific board sets scientific guidelines, prepares calls for research proposals, evaluates reports, and carries out programme facilitation and promotion actions. The steering committee is in charge of defining the programme’s directions and identifying priority research proposals, in addition to taking part in programme facilitation, evaluation and optimization actions. It is made up of representatives of the Ministry’s decentralised departments and services, and representatives of public and private agencies. Special attention is paid to the scientific facilitation of the programme and to optimising research projects in order to ensure knowledge is transferred to public-policy actors, researchers and practitioners. For this purpose, ITTECOP’s first scientific results were published in 2013 and a web documentary released. The programme’s challenge is to develop a research production framework in the field of infrastructures, biodiversity and landscape from initial studies to the transfer of knowledge. To better test this experimental structure and develop an international network of researchers and practitioners, the ITTECOP programme seeks to amplify international research connectivity.

framework, landscape, ecosystems, interdisciplinarity