IRSTEA (Institut national de recherche en sciences et technologies pour l’environnement et l’agriculture – National Research Institute of Science and Technology for Environment and Agriculture; formerly Cemagref) is a national, public institute in France, focusing on scientific and technological research in the areas of environment, land management, water risks and natural disasters. IRSTEA boasts a dual culture of researchers and engineers, who tackle environmental matters from three angles: research, innovation and expertise. It was awarded the 5-year label ‘Institut Carnot’ in 2006, renewed in 2011, by the French Government, which recognizes IRSTEA’s ability and commitment to work with industry, notably SMEs (on average, IRSTEA participates to the creation of two companies per year). This label is awarded to only 34 institutes, organized as a network, committed to improving their business practices and economic impact through open innovation. IRSTEA has 1600 employees, working in 9 centers in France, within 25 research units.
The Research Unit involved in the OPTIMA Project is a joint research unit called UMR ITAP (Information Technologies for AgroProcesses), that deals amongst different research topics, to research and development in the field of spray application techniques. A research facility called ReducPol (Reduction of Pollutions) is used as a scale 1 laboratory for the evaluation of spray application equipments starting from the study of droplet size distribution, spray distribution to drift issues in a wind tunnel. Recently the collaboration of UMR ITAP with technical institutes of vines (Institut Français de la Vigne IFV) and fruits (Centre Technique Interprofessionnel des Fruits et Legumes CTIFL) was strengthen through collaborative projects on the assessment of performance of vine and fruit sprayers in terms of deposition in (artificial) canopy and the reduction of drift. These projects lead to the development of innovative test benches (artificial vineyard, artificial orchard, artificial wind, etc.).