Equipement remarquable

TERRA : new international research centre in Gembloux focused on the agriculture of tomorrow


In Research Press releases

The University of Liège has just inaugurated the TERRA, a unique new research centre in Belgium dedicated to tomorrow's agriculture, innovations and their resulting products. Integrated into the Faculty of Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, TERRA is a research and teaching unit that studies and develops biological engineering in the fields of agri-food, agriculture, biotechnology, environment and forestry.

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or a total investment of 21 million euros (15 million euros from own funds, 5 million from Wallonia, 1 million from frs-FNRS), TERRA brings together 200 researchers on 7,400 m2 spread over its 4 Research and Education Support Units: Environment is life, Food is life, Agriculture is life, Forest is life.

TERRA is home to exceptional equipment, including an Ecotron, the only one of its kind in Europe, consisting of 6 loudspeakers, which, thanks to its complete control of temperature, humidity and light parameters, will enable it to simulate and anticipate the impact of climate change on crops over the next 20 to 30 years.

TERRA aims to develop an international research of excellence from Gembloux and is also THE scientific partner for professionals in the agricultural, agri-food and industrial sectors. The centre is open to collaborations with companies and the sharing of its equipment within the framework of innovation and technology transfer projects. In the long term, it will host partner companies and startups or spin-offs from university laboratories in its infrastructures.

Following the model of the GIGA created by ULiège in the field of genomics applied to human medicine, TERRA is developing an interdisciplinary and interfaculty research approach. 20 of the 28 research projects currently being pursued are carried out with 5 other faculties of ULiège: the Faculty of Medicine, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, the Faculty of Sciences, the Faculty of Applied Sciences and HEC Liège.

Building on the reputation of excellence of the Faculty of Gembloux, TERRA develops long-term partnerships internationally (INRA, University of Lille, Jülich...) and in the rest of the world (Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University of Ben Guérir in Morocco, Vietnam National University of Agriculture...). A Joint International Research Unit is being developed with some of these partners.

For Albert Corhay, Rector of the University of Liège: "Here at Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, researchers have a front row seat for the agricultural challenges of the future. They help us to innovate and enlighten society's choices. With the promise of the TERRA, they open the fields of possibilities where man and nature are reconciled."

First Vice-Rector Eric Haubruge emphasizes the unique character of the Ecotron: "The Ecotron is unique because we have personally imagined and designed the 6 speakers to allow us access to a completely controlled environment: temperature, humidity but above all light, as close as possible to the various natural sunlight conditions. This is what makes it unique and will allow us to conduct research anticipating the evolution of crops in the next 20 to 30 years depending on changes in climate and the environment.

Eric Haubruge also stresses the openness to companies: "Companies ask us a lot. They want to be part of our environment. They want to be with us, on our premises, in our laboratories to work with us, with our researchers. To innovate together, in a win-win philosophy. It's a trend we're seeing more and more: start-ups and companies don't just want to work with us, they want to be with us, physically and intellectually."

Professor Philippe Jacques, President of TERRA, highlights the international dimension of the new Centre: "TERRA's opening is also marked by a strong international positioning in research. This positioning will be achieved through strengthened, structural and long-term cooperation with other universities and research centres in Europe and the rest of the world. This is the objective of the Joint International Research Unit that we are developing with some of our partners."

Press contacts

Didier Moreau, Communication / Presse, ULiège - +32 494 57 25 30 - dmoreau@uliege.be

Coraline Laurent, Relations extérieures, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, ULiège - +32 474 74 52 94 - coraline.laurent@uliege.be

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