Dr. Bernard Hubert is Senior Scientist at the National Institute for Agricultural Research (Institut National de Recherche Agronomique, INRA) and Professor at the Advanced School for the Social Sciences (Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, EHESS), trained as an ecologist (his thesis study concerned functional ecology in Western Africa), but his work has broadened as he has questioned the role of human activities in this setting, seeking to understand the contribution of the social sciences to issues in the life sciences.
This approach led him to reflect upon cross‐disciplinary studies and the conduct of interventional, mission‐oriented research with the actors concerned. He put this thinking into practice by heading a research unit on ecological development oriented towards the links between animal husbandry and forests, the aim being to prevent forest fires in Mediterranean regions, and directing three successive European projects. This wide‐ranging experience led him to become Director of the Agrarian Systems and Development Department at INRA (from 1994 to 2003), to which he gave new impetus on the interface between social sciences and biotechnical sciences after an international review he organized. Then he became the Scientific Director at INRA for Social sciences and applied mathematics and informatics (Scientific direction ‘Society, Economy, Decision’) from 2003 to 2007. From mid 2007 to mid 2010 he was in charge of a joint venture between INRA and CIRAD, the French Initiative for International Agricultural Research (FI4IAR), which will provide the two organizations, at the highest level, with real strategic study forums to work towards pertinent and open proposals of scientific programs aimed at both national and international decision‐makers, based on national, European and international partnerships. He worked as Lead author for the “natural resources use regimes” of the “global” report of the “International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development” (IAASTD). He has been elected as Chair of Agropolis International in Montpellier, where he is acting since April 1st 2009, and is chairing since 2010 the French CRAI (Commission de la Recherche Agronomique Internationale), which groups together IRSTEA, CIRAD, INRA and IRD with the three Ministries in charge of Foreign Affairs, Research, and Agriculture. In 2013, he has been elected national correspondent of the French Académie d’Agriculture.
As Professor at EHESS, he is leading a research seminar on the epistemological and social challenges of advances in the life sciences in the context of future sustainable development, at Paris and on “Environmental controversies and anthropology of nature” at Marseille. He was a founder member of the journal Natures Sciences Sociétés (EDP Sciences) which has launched in 1993, and remains one of its chief editors.