Centre de recherche de Jouy-en-Josas, bâtiment 211. © INRA, NICOLAS Bertrand

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The INRA Jouy-en-Josas Research Center: Historical Footprints

Upon its creation in April 1946, the National Institute of Agricultural Research included five research centers: the National Center of Versailles (housing five of the seven central stations) and four provincial centers named after the regions where they were located: southwest, Massif Central, Provence and Alsace. A few years later, agricultural research began supporting breeding and in 1949, INRA bought the Domaine de Vilvert. This is how the National Zootechnical Research Center of Jouy-en-Josas (centre national de recherches Zootechniques de Jouy-en-Josas (CNRZ)) was born.

Updated on 09/08/2015
Published on 12/05/2013
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Upon its creation, engineers specialized in agronomy focused their research on animal physiology, poultry, pig and cattle farming, and on biochemistry and genetics of livestock: cattle, sheep, goats, poultry, pigs, fish….

Zone Sud du centre de recherche de Jouy-en-Josas dans les années 60. © INRA
© INRA

In 1951, the first buildings were built on the domain of the Château de Vilvert, notably housing the microbiology and dairy research laboratories along with a sheepfold, goat house, stable for cows, brooder and pig house. In 1961, Animal Genetics began to be studied at Jouy. But many changes were made at the CNRZ from 1965-1970, notably the transfer of the ruminant farm, metabolism laboratory, poultry research and pig research to provincial research centers. In 1986, a development plan led to the construction of a set of laboratories to accommodate advanced technology research.

Batiment Xavier Leverve et batiment des biotechnologies, zone sud du centre de recherche Inra de Jouy-en-Josas. © INRA, Bertrand Nicolas
© INRA, Bertrand Nicolas

Today, the Vilvert campus occupies 70 000m2 of laboratories and farm buildings. An experimental farm housing ruminant herds is also administratively part of the CRJ. In the Paris region, the Versailles-Grignon Research Center is its equivalent for plant sciences and environmental studies. Together, more than 20% of INRA’s working forces can be found on these two research centers.

A Timeline for the INRA Jouy-en-Josas Research Center

1946 – Creation of the INRA

1950 – Inauguration of the Jouy-en-Josas Research Center specialized in animal production whereas its neighbor, the Versailles Research Center, is focused on plant production research.

1970 – INRA is decentralized. At Jouy-en-Josas, research is focused on animal genetics, food and reproduction of livestock, biometry, informatics and milk fermentation.

1980 - Biotechnologies. A new building “Jouy 2000” is built to house molecular biologists working in virology, microbiology and animal biology. Simultaneously, the nutrition division of INRA begins working on human nutrition and its role in health – a movement that food physiologists participate in.

2008 – Integrative Biology and Interdisciplinarity. The Jouy-en-Josas research center offers a multidisciplinary and even interdisciplinary approach to biology and the relationship between man, animals and microorganisms.

2009 – Creation of the joint research unit belonging to both INRA and AgroParisTech “Animal Genetics and Integrative Biology” (GABI), which resulted from the merger of six former research units belonging to the Animal Genetics Division.

2010 – Creation of the joint research unit belonging to both INRA and AgroParisTech “the Micalis Institute” (Food and Gut Microbiology for human health) grouping together all those implicated in research and teaching in microbiology.

2015 – Creation of the Sciences Animales Paris-Saclay Institute, a network for research, training and innovation in animal biology serving agriculture and health.