«Over its 60 years of existence, BRGM has consistently demonstrated its capacity for adaptation.»
In 2019, BRGM celebrated its 60th anniversary! A national geological survey reporting to three different Ministries, respectively of Higher Education, Research and Innovation - Ecological Transition - Economy, Finance and Recovery), it is responsible for undertaking research, and providing expertise and innovation for the sustainable management of resources and risks in the surface and subsurface. Its daily mission is to provide knowledge gleaned over the long, even very long, time-scale of the geologist to meet current needs.
BRGM’s challenge today is to contribute practical solutions for exploiting the subsurface in the 21st century. France’s surface and subsurface are both little known, despite being an essential part of our heritage. BRGM’s job involves harnessing different technologies to draw up a digital map of them, at various scales of space or time, to help meet a range of societal needs for renewable heat, energy or waste storage, a circular economy of land and mineral raw materials, traceability, groundwater resources, reclamation of industrial wasteland, management of natural risks (landslides, earthquakes, subsidence caused by cavities, marine flooding and coastline retreat, etc.).
BRGM has undergone many changes since its creation and has always adapted to the times. Today, it leads the way in applied research, producing knowledge of the sub-surface and providing technical and scientific expertise.
In 2019, BRGM contributed to an exceptional scientific discovery with its partners CNRS/INSU, Ifremer and IPGP, that of a new underwater volcano that emerged off the coast of Mayotte. BRGM experts were also heavily involved in on-site support for mitigating the consequences of the Teil earthquake, which occurred on 11 November 2019. BRGM’s reconstructions by interferometry from satellite images produced in near-real time, made it possible to identify the fault that slipped and to illustrate the displacements generated by the earthquake.
We also continued to renovate our scientific facilities, notably with the commissioning of the PRIME experimental platform, the only one of its kind in Europe, which will make it possible to validate all ground remediation techniques more efficiently than in the laboratory. At the Group level, we have taken a 40% stake in Soltracing, the first French company to offer the possibility of securing the flow of excavated earth from site to site in order to develop short circuits, much in demand by French citizens, with respect to public works.
2020 began with the unprecedented and exceptional crisis of the coronavirus pandemic. BRGM had to close its laboratories but also succeeded in switching to teleworking on a massive scale for almost 90% of its staff, once again demonstrating its ability to adapt. BRGM’s recognised experience in crisis management and regular exercises with the authorities and civil protection agencies enabled it to manage this epidemic crisis as well as possible with its fully mobilized staff. None of our staff have been hospitalised and no clients appear to have been lost as a result of the pandemic.
Subsurface potential and related topics are essential to our society. BRGM’s teams are fully mobilised to tackle this issue. They aim to work with academic researchers, but also with the local and regional authorities who manage our territory (including the subsurface), and with industry, which has an undeniable capacity for disseminating knowledge and innovative technology and techniques.
Everything is ready for the economic recovery!