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16 March 2020

interview with Jacques Mercier, Vice President for Research, Montpellier University

A few weeks before the 27th Science Council of the Foundation, we invite you to get to know the members (past and present) of our Science Council. Interview with Jacques Mercier, Vice President for Research, Montpellier University.

Why did you become a researcher?

I’ve always been interested in biology. When the choice came up for me to go to graduate school, I hesitated between the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine. I chose medicine, as I felt the future prospects were better. Nevertheless, what interested me most, very quickly, in my medical studies, were the most fundamental aspects, research, method, etc., which I was interested in. And very early on, in my third year of medicine, I had the opportunity to join a research laboratory, in the field of respiratory physiopathology. So I carried out my medical studies in parallel with research and teaching work, being a teaching assistant from my third year.

What does the term "scientific community" mean to you?

For me, a scientific community is a group of individuals who have shared, and in some cases complementary, scientific interests. For example, in Agropolis Fondation’s Science Council I do not have technical skills in agronomy or in one of the foundation’s core business areas, but I can bring an outside perspective. A scientific community is above all characterized by exchanges. It is a place where one can think about future prospects, set up projects, etc.

What are your ambitions and expectations regarding Agropolis Fondation’s Science Council?

I am still, in a way, a newcomer to Agropolis Fondation’s Science Council, having attended only two or three meetings. And as mentioned earlier, I am not a specialist in the field. But as vice-president in charge of research at the University of Montpellier, and research referent of the I-site Muse, I have a broad vision of the research on the site of which Agropolis Fondation is part, in terms of expertise of research structures and potential for collaboration in setting up projects. I will also be able to bring the vision of a health researcher. On the other hand, participating in Agropolis Fondation’s Science Council allows me to be informed of what is being done in a community that is not my own and to exchange with colleagues that I do not meet regularly in the context of my research activities.