[PhD’s corner] Margot Challand : Combining participatory approaches and constrained modelling to develop agroecological design devices

Margot is one of the #DigitAg cofunded PhDs


Combining participatory approaches and constrained modelling to develop agroecological design devices

  • Start Date: 1st December 2021
  • University: L’Institut Agro
  • PhD School: GAIA doctoral school (Biodiversity, Agriculture, Food, Environment, Land, Water)
  • Fields: Computer science, agronomy
  • Doctoral Thesis Advisors: Stéphane de Tourdonnet, UMR Innovation, Institut Agro
  • Co-supervisor: Stéphane de Tourdonnet (UMR Innovation, Institut Agro), Vismara Philippe (UMR Mistea, Institut Agro)
  • Funding: #DigitAg – Institut Agro
  • #DigitAg: Cofunded thesis – Axe 2 : Innovations en agriculture numérique, Challenge 1 : Le challenge agroécologique

Keywords: Agroecological transition, artificial intelligence, simulation, co-design, participatory evaluation, orchard, market gardening

Abstract: Responding to the challenges of agriculture in a context of global change, erosion of biodiversity and depletion of fossil resources requires a profound renewal of agricultural systems. Agroecology proposes to base the design of agricultural systems on the enhancement of ecological functions. This requires reintroducing biodiversity into agrosystems, adapting practices to the local context, and combining knowledge (scientific, expert, operational). Agroecology experiments around the world have shown that increasing the complexity of the agrosystem increases its resilience, reduces dependence on synthetic inputs, provides ecosystem services and thus improves its performance. However, these experiments have also shown the difficulty of designing these complex agrosystems: agro-ecological design remains a major obstacle for those involved in the agro-ecological transition, due to the lack of suitable tools and approaches. This challenge for agronomy researchers also calls for research in artificial intelligence for the design of such tools.

The objective of this thesis is to articulate concepts and methods from these two disciplinary fields in order to equip this stage of agroecological design with (i) constrained reasoning models to explore the combinatorial nature of the spatio-temporal arrangements of the elements of the agrosystem and to evaluate the associated performances, (ii) a participatory design device using the models as an intermediary object, making it possible to make the constraints explicit, to combine knowledge and to stimulate creativity in order to co-design the agroecological farms.

Contact:​ margot.challand [AT] outlook.fr– Tél : 06 66 31 66 19

Réseaux sociaux  : LinkedIn