A guidance for action
ABOUT VETAGRO SUP
A renowned higher education and research institution, VetAgro Sup is dedicated to training tomorrow’s professionals, performing high-quality research, and promoting innovation transfer. It is tackling health challenges head on with a multidisciplinary approach that is unparalleled in France. Its holistic perspective on health issues draws upon the biological sciences, biotechnical sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
VetAgro Sup trains professionals, veterinarians, agricultural engineers, and veterinary public health inspectors to confidently cope with diverse situations. Its trainees find jobs in a variety of domains. While some go into private practice or choose alternative forms of self-employment, others work for private companies, non-profit organisations, consular bodies, local governments, or the national government.
VetAgro Sup’s educational programmes are enhanced by the institution’s dynamic scientific research. Its holistic multidisciplinary work on major public health issues takes place within 12 defined units: it directly runs three research units and helps supervise nine joint research units; it has ties with another six units due to the affiliations of certain associate professors. All 12 units are the products of academic partnerships with a variety of educational institutions (UCBL, UCA, INPG, AgroParisTech, ENS Lyon, and ESC Clermont) and research institutes (INRAE, CNRS, INSERM, ANSES, and INRIA).
VetAgro Sup’s work fuels innovation, thanks to close collaborations with industry professionals and a wide range of socioeconomic stakeholders. It also has eight centres of expertise.
The excellence of VetAgro Sup’s three degree programmes—in veterinary medicine, agricultural engineering, and veterinary public health—is manifest in the institution’s list of national and international accreditations. A member of the prestigious French association Conférence des Grandes Ecoles, VetAgro Sup has been granted accreditations for its programmes in veterinary medicine (from AEEEV , AVMA) and agricultural engineering (from CTI and EUR-ACE). ENSV-FVI, which runs VetAgro Sup’s in-house training programmes, has been designated an OIE Collaborating Centre. Most of the institution’s technical facilities have received some form of certification or accreditation or are committed to quality assurance in their area of specialty.
The coexistence of these three degree programmes at VetAgro Sup fosters interdisciplinarity, uniquely positioning the institution to help solve complex global challenges, a task that includes grappling with tremendous uncertainty.
VetAgro Sup’s expertise is extremely broad and primarily focused on the following four priority areas:
By applying its interdisciplinary approach in its four priority areas, VetAgro Sup is helping expand the One Health concept. In 2017, it became the first French institution to join the Consortium of Universities for Global Health (CUGH), which has brought together more than 150 universities worldwide.
The institution is outward facing. Thanks to its dynamic partnerships, VetAgro Sup is part of a network that operates across local, regional, national, and international scales. It is firmly rooted within the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region because of its affiliations with the Universities of Lyon and Clermont-Ferrand. The institution is also a member of the Collège des Hautes Etudes Lyon Science(s) and has cultivated strong ties with both research institutes and competitive clusters. At the national level, VetAgro Sup is establishing collaborations within the 11 higher education institutions under the aegis of the French Ministry for Agriculture and Food. The institution has also signed an agreement of enhanced cooperation with the country’s other national veterinary schools. Lastly, VetAgro Sup has built an international academic network, which spurs numerous student and staff exchanges and boosts the sharing of knowledge and expertise.
VetAgro Sup’s diverse communities are an ever-expanding resource, thanks to management strategies that encourage collaboration and participation by staff and students.
Over the next 30 years, the world’s population is expected to reach 10 billion, increasing by one-third. In all its work, VetAgro Sup remains cognisant that solutions must be found for this challenge. Some researchers have indicated that food needs will continually grow, increasing by more than 50% compared to 2010. They have also stated that, even if we learn to do more with less, other major pressing concerns will emerge. For example, climate change is likely to erode biodiversity and trigger the appearance of emerging infectious diseases in humans and animals; indeed, in humans, 75% of such diseases come from animals. More broadly, we will witness the multiplication of environmental, dietary, and health issues related to food production, processing, and consumption. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored that we must take a global approach to health, such as the one embodied in the One Health concept, which addresses the philosophical, ethical, social, and political dimensions of public health concerns. Everyday citizens will increasingly seek to remain informed about the broader implications of burgeoning technological breakthroughs related to artificial intelligence, robotisation, nanotechnologies, and smart objects, which will revolutionise the professions for which VetAgro Sup provides training. Such developments have given rise to great uncertainty and multifarious concerns. Indeed, we are seeing major ecological, energetic, digital, economic, ethical, and social transitions. Such shifts will translate into a need for innovations and skill sets that can facilitate the range of transitions to come, such as the movement of production systems towards agroecology; radical changes in food systems; improved management of health risks; better quality of life and health; and novel perspectives on relationships between humans and animals. We must also develop systemic and interdisciplinary approaches for analysing complex situations and mastering new technologies. These are all challenges that VetAgro Sup is uniquely qualified to confront by virtue of its make-up, fields of expertise, and broad spectrum of skills.
At the national level, the institution must recruit greater numbers of students, as there is a lack of qualified professionals capable of dealing with the above issues. Additionally, the institution must navigate shifts in student demographics. VetAgro Sup needs to adapt to current circumstances while also continuing to provide high-quality training.
Building on its 2016–2020 Institutional Action Plan, VetAgro Sup will continue its mission to address the world’s most pressing challenges. Drawing upon its technical facilities, centres of expertise, research teams, and scientific collaborators, it will utilise its inherent strengths, large student body, and expert staff to position itself as
a major facilitator of global transitions, making maximum use of its expertise in holistic approaches1 to human and animal health
VetAgro Sup has thus defined four strategic axes that prioritise both the pursuit of excellence in teaching and research as well as the well-being of staff and students. These axes, and their accompanying actions, will be carried out locally, nationally, and internationally.
1A more detailed description of the global health approach is provided in the 2016–2020 Institutional Action Plan:
In the years to come, we will face the major challenge of improving human health. To be successful, our approaches will need to become increasingly transdisciplinary and consider a multitude of variables related to animal biology and health, plants, the environment, and societal practices. By combining the life sciences, earth sciences, and social sciences, we can boost the development of innovative technologies. Global health represents an entirely new way of addressing health issues.
For CUGH, global health has three facets:
In its 2016–2020 Institutional Action Plan, VetAgro Sup embraced its responsibilities as a major player in public health and adopted the One Health approach. Over the next five years, the institution intends to further invest itself in this role.
VetAgro Sup’s broader objective is to become a leading contributor in the field, thanks to its transdisciplinary exploration of the interactions between human health, animal health, and environmental health. In all its training, research, and consultancy work, the institution will continue to boost interdisciplinarity by combining diverse perspectives, and it will pass along the benefits to students, the scientific community, socioeconomic stakeholders, and society in general. Notably, it will create an amalgamation of approaches from the biological, biotechnical, clinical, and social sciences as well as the humanities. Against this backdrop, VetAgro Sup will continue to advance in its areas of excellence, maintain its accreditations, build international influence, and establish a global reputation.
Enhance the multi- and interdisciplinary expertise of the two campuses and the three degree programmes to better serve students and professionals
Maintain the institution’s national and international accreditations as enrolment increases
Cement VetAgro Sup’s leadership role in Global Health/One Health work in France and abroad [Coordinator: Nathalie Guerson]
Enhance the multi- and interdisciplinary expertise of the two campuses and the three degree programmes to better serve students and professionals [Coordinator: Luc Mounier]
Maintain the institution’s national and international accreditations as enrolment increases [Coordinator: Vanessa Neto]
Innovation—the institution’s driving force
Transform infrastructure on the two campuses to reflect the institution’s strategic priorities
Implement innovative pedagogical approaches and adapt curricula to meet student and employer expectations
Action 5 - Transform infrastructure on the two campuses to reflect the institution’s strategic priorities [Coordinator: VetAgro Sup’s chief administrative officer]
Infrastructure on the two campuses must be redesigned to align with the transformations taking place at VetAgro Sup. Innovation and quality of life at work must be key considerations in the institution’s training, research, and consultancy activities. Increases in enrolment are a challenge that can be met by optimising how surfaces are currently being exploited; there is no need to expand the amount of area in use. Simultaneously, the institution must fully subscribe to a sustainable development approach. It is essential to embrace flexible workspaces with smart technologies, which will promote exchange and creativity within the student body and the entire VetAgro Sup community. The following steps will thus be taken:
This action will help improve quality of life for staff and students. It will be designed with a participatory approach so that the entire community can contribute.
Action 6 - Renovate the University Veterinary Hospital and rethink its activities [Coordinator: Luc Chabanne]
The University Veterinary Hospital is a flagship for VetAgro Sup. It is where the institution welcomes the public (i.e., individuals seeking high-quality animal care) and trains all levels of students and veterinary health professionals. It is also a site of professional interactions (e.g., referred cases, collaborations, and international exchanges). As described in the upcoming state-region planning contract, the infrastructure programme’s objective is to transform this facility to incorporate new technologies and meet environmental standards with a view to better training veterinary students and health personnel, providing excellent animal care, and hosting the public. The programme must accomplish the following:
To deal with these concerns, the programme will include off-site teaching, such as at a permanent urban facility that is accessible to people in the greatest need. This type of solidarity must become a key value for veterinarians.
Societal changes, expansions in knowledge, and burgeoning digital technologies—these factors are profoundly affecting teaching methods, skill acquisition, and learning styles. The future graduates of VetAgro Sup must possess a core set of competencies: an openness to other cultures across the globe, an ability to adapt to novel conditions, an aptitude for teamwork, and a holistic approach to diverse situations. Even on these shifting sands, the institution must continue to customise its coursework and pedagogical perspectives. Thus, the seventh action will be implemented in the following ways:
To this end, VetAgro Sup must interact more frequently with its public and private partners. It will need to incorporate the perspectives of those affected by the above factors and seek feedback from employers and researchers on the changes to be made.
Action 8 - Transform management regimes [Coordinator: VetAgro Sup’s general secretary]
One major current challenge is the need to transform policymaking. From a managerial standpoint, this transformation must be accompanied by furnishing better support to administrators, encouraging more reflexive practices, emphasising the benefits of contrasting viewpoints, and using targeted training and communication. In these ways, administrators will gradually adopt new methods for directing and managing organisations. VetAgro Sup has a responsibility to foster a management culture that values community, innovation, and performance. This eighth action will be implemented in the following ways:
Subaction 9.1—Introduce students of veterinary medicine and agricultural engineering to research and boost their participation in research culture
To improve its research-based training methods, VetAgro Sup has been working with its scientific advisory board to plan effective research and scientific outreach activities for its students; events like the Science Festival or the Science Café will be expanded to encourage exchanges around research (dedicated project managers have been chosen).
Some potential activities have already been identified:
Encouraging greater student involvement in organising scientific outreach activities
Supporting student research, such as via theses involving experimental veterinary practices, engineering internship reports, or research-based training associated with institutional grant programmes; reflecting on ways to generate value from the results
Beginning to identify and develop ways to incorporate research-based coursework into each degree programme
Fostering the institution’s culture of research so as to encourage certain students to pursue research careers, work that involves communicating more extensively about opportunities for master’s degrees, especially those that are jointly accredited, and about the added value of a master’s degree or a PhD for one’s career; providing greater support for the theses and careers of VetAgro Sup veterinarians and agricultural engineers; and taking action to streamline the process for earning a Master 2 degree (e.g., recognition of M1- and M2-level work, structuring of dual-curriculum programmes)
Subaction 9.2—Add to the institution’s training opportunities by creating a PhD programme
VetAgro Sup has three main degree programmes—in veterinary medicine, agricultural engineering, and veterinary public health—but also offers master’s degrees and professional bachelor’s degrees. More specifically, the institution is accredited to grant 10 different types of master’s degrees and 2 professional bachelor’s degrees, as part of partnerships with the Universities of Lyon, Clermont-Ferrand, Angers, and Grenoble.
During its next HCERES evaluation period, VetAgro Sup will focus on adding to its educational opportunities by creating a PhD programme, with course modules to be run by the institution’s experienced assistant professors. The goal is to obtain authorisation to grant PhDs and to receive joint accreditations with doctoral programmes at other sites. Under this regime, students would officially enrol at VetAgro Sup and be supervised or co-supervised by the institution’s associate professors.
VetAgro Sup’s research and innovation policy seeks to generate innovations and other forms of value from its research, primarily by transferring its results to socioeconomic stakeholders. The institution must thus strike the right balance between training and research. It must also find a way to create products with economic value while simultaneously protecting the intellectual property of VetAgro Sup’s staff (e.g., research scientists, doctoral students, registered students, unregistered students, and institution personnel). This process involves controlling innovation transfer from research units to industrial partners.
The tenth action will be implemented in the following ways:
VetAgro Sup as a catalyst of transitions
VetAgro Sup performs work that grapples with profound societal changes, parlaying its findings into support for public policies. We are witnessing major ecological, energetic, digital, economic, ethical, and social transitions. Such shifts will translate into a need for innovations and skill sets that can facilitate the range of transitions to come, such as the movement of production systems towards agroecology; radical changes in food systems; improved management of health risks; better quality of life and health; and novel perspectives on relationships between humans and animals. It is the institution’s responsibility to train future professionals as effectively as possible. To this end, VetAgro Sup will first identify the major issues related to ongoing transitions and then ensure that they are addressed in course content. In this way, students will enter their careers prepared to act. VetAgro Sup is dedicated to providing lifelong training in its areas of specialty, with the objective of helping professionals navigate the major transitions we are observing. Finally, the institution must show a clear and abiding commitment to sustainable development. In particular, VetAgro Sup must participate in energetic and agroecological transitions—integrating them not only into its course content but also into its campuses, in line with the Prime Minister’s guidelines in the Memorandum of February 2020 that described how to make public institutions more environmentally responsible.
Identify the expectations of socioeconomic stakeholders via a job observatory and detect new professional needs/career paths
Action 11 -Identify the expectations of socioeconomic stakeholders via a job observatory and detect new professional needs/career paths [Coordinator: Luc Mounier]
Professions are ever changing, and we can expect that new career paths will appear in the coming years. It is essential for the skills of VetAgro Sup graduates to evolve in tandem.
The eleventh action will be implemented in the following ways:
Action 12 - Embrace the digital transition [Coordinator: David Chavernac]
The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored that VetAgro Sup’s digital strategies must be overhauled. To keep pace with a constantly changing world, institutions must adapt their use of digital technologies to better fit each new generation of staff and students. The institution’s digital transformation must respond to the needs and expectations of professionals, the general public, and society itself. The twelfth action will be implemented in the following ways:
Action 13 - Emphasise alternative approaches to production and consumption in VetAgro Sup coursework [Coordinator: Damien Trémeau]
The French Ministry for Agriculture and Food has implemented an action plan to promote the agroecological transition. Its central tenet is that we must alter our approaches to production and consumption. Future directions need to be decided in a more participative manner and by employing a bottom-up strategy. A key part of this work will be exchanges within educational settings and the broader dissemination of knowledge.
The thirteenth action will be implemented in the following ways:
The Transitions Collective is composed of VetAgro Sup staff and students. Its goal is to help the institution adopt more environmentally responsible decisions related to work travel, catering services, and campus life. VetAgro Sup has already demonstrated its large-scale commitment to sustainability by adopting a One Health approach. Now, it must also show that this commitment extends to the smaller scale. The institution needs to implement changes in its daily operations, such as in its use of plastics and water, its management of waste, and its policies on public transport or ridesharing. Furthermore, when international work travel is necessary, support should be provided for more ecological means of transport, particularly when mobility occurs within Europe. In addition, tools are needed to help monitor the environmental impacts of travel choices. The Transitions Collective has taken a participatory approach to this process, which it wishes to help shape. It is working with the institution’s top management board to develop *ad hoc*methods of operation.
This innovative governance model seeks to revisit all VetAgro Sup’s objectives and responses in light of the ecological, economic, and social transitions the world is facing.
Subaction 14.1—Commit to supporting the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development [Coordinator: Stéphane Vaxelaire]
Opening the door to excellence
VetAgro Sup must embrace an outward-facing vision to foster excellence, drive innovation, and facilitate global transitions. This perspective will be espoused at all institutional levels and by all VetAgro Sup stakeholders. It will also promote greater diversity in student recruitment. The desired result is stronger interactions with various networks at the local level (university campuses, CHEL[S]), the national level (ties between educational institutions specialising in veterinary vs. agricultural sciences, Agreenium), and the international level. Such an approach will also open the door to partnerships with socioeconomic stakeholders at various spatial scales (e.g., chairs, hosting of start-ups). These mutual exchanges will help the institution thrive. Our aim is also to seed our global approach to health in the sectors where it could have the greatest impact. To this end, three types of actions will be pursued. The institution will (i) strengthen the international dimension of its training and research programmes; (ii) develop collaborations with a view to informing policymaking; and (iii) enhance its visibility, improve its attractiveness, and participate more fully in networks of excellence.
Action 15 - Promote a more diverse student body [Coordinator: Damien Trémeau]
It is important to recruit a broader range of students, both because of the inherent value of diversity (e.g., in gender, background, and socioeconomic status) and to offer equal opportunities to all. At present, the way in which individuals gain access to VetAgro Sup degree programmes in veterinary medicine and agricultural engineering acts as a significant filter on the student body. To obtain a more diverse applicant pool, it is crucial to expand the population from which future students are drawn and to render it less homogeneous. The fifteenth action will be implemented in the following ways:
Action 16 - Build formal partnerships with socioeconomic stakeholders [Coordinator: Stéphane Vaxelaire]
To advance, VetAgro Sup must openly seek out well-structured partnerships with socioeconomic stakeholders. These efforts will be based on new partnership models already being used at France’s universities and grandes écoles. The result will be novel, structured, and long-lasting exchanges that bolster the work of our partnership chairs. The following are some examples of steps in this direction:
Developing networks composed of VetAgro Sup’s partners, official representatives, and alumni
Hosting start-ups on the institution’s campuses
Developing entrepreneurial opportunities for all levels of students
Creating a foundation
Expanding the range of continuing education programmes at France’s veterinary schools
Subaction 16.1—Create continuous training programmes specifically focused on meeting the expectations of socioeconomic and institutional stakeholders [Coordinator: Cécile Chuzeville]
VetAgro Sup provides high-quality continuing education in the sciences to a range of professionals whose work requires lifelong learning. The need for this type of training is growing, and the expectations that professionals have for these programmes are constantly changing. Thanks to its continuing education programmes, the institution has built a reputation around the expertise of its staff. This reputation means that staff can easily reach out to practicing professionals, thus enriching educational and scientific work at VetAgro Sup.
Given this context, it is important for VetAgro Sup to build adaptability into its continuing education programmes and to seek out contributions from all its personnel. In this way, it will be easier to navigate the shifting expectations of socioeconomic and institutional stakeholders, respond to the regulatory changes affecting continuing education programmes, and meet the evolving needs of diverse audiences. Ultimately, accomplishing this goal may require creating a specialised body dedicated to continuing education that involves all of France’s veterinary schools.
The institution’s technical facilities and centres of expertise boast state-of-the-art scientific and technological equipment. Their expert staff provide a range of training, research, and professional services—from directly producing results, with or without scientific support, to successfully launching partnerships. However, having all of these resources means little if their existence is not known to those who could benefit from them, a group that includes academic partners, policymakers, socioeconomic stakeholders, and the informed or uninformed public. The seventeenth action will be implemented in the following ways:
As a publicly funded institution, VetAgro Sup is committed to making science as open as possible to all of civil society and the general public. In 2020, the institution created a portal to HAL, France’s online open archive, through which its scientific work can be freely and openly accessed. The aim of the eighteenth action is to promote the proper training of researchers as well as to make research more accessible to society. To this end, it is important to normalise the idea that scientific discoveries should be explained and popularised so that they can be understood by non-specialists (e.g., everyday citizens, students, journalists, and politicians). Another goal is to more strongly encourage members of civil society to help produce scientific knowledge. At a broader scale, VetAgro Sup will adopt a new communications strategy to better disseminate the results of its work: it will invest more heavily in its relationships with the press, to ensure that its research comes up more frequently in mass media. It will also organise conference series and other events that will be open to all and relayed via social media.
The nineteenth action will help cement the three pillars of VetAgro Sup’s official international strategy in the following ways:
These steps will expand the breadth of the strategy’s three pillars, providing structural strength. It will be important to nurture this international vision within the VetAgro Sup community of staff and students, keeping it in mind when new curricula and research projects are being developed. Finally, success will be contingent on making available a range of tools (e.g., press kits, VetAgro Sup website pages translated into three or four languages, course modules taught in English, dedicated educational platforms, and partnership networks).
METHODOLOGY USED TO DEVELOP THE 2021–2025 INSTITUTIONAL ACTION PLAN
The strategic priorities described in the 2021–2025 Institutional Action Plan were identified in preparation for VetAgro Sup’s HCERES evaluation. The executive committee and the direct’s strategic priorities committee developed an outline of its content for the staff. Starting from this foundation and after incorporating the recommendations made by HCERES and CTI, the entire VetAgro Sup community—administrative staff, teaching staff, and students—participated in several rounds of internal discussion that helped jointly construct the plan. The outcome of these exchanges was the set of concrete and measurable actions upon which the plan is based. Each action has a designated coordinator, who will identify budgetary and human resource needs.
Next Step : presentation to CA
The 2021 march 15st
Lauching meeting for action's coordinators
The 2020 December 7st
Action Plan Validation
The 2020 December 4st
Last concertation during General Assembly
The 2020 November 4th and 5th
Brainstorming workshops by axis
The 2020 June 4, 11, 17 , 22
Students and staffs surveys
From 2020 may 17 to 2020 June 3
Project plan meeting COS+CODIR
The 2020 October 4st
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