Karst waterfall in the Kakuetta Gorge, Pyrénées-Atlantiques. © Philippe Crochet
“In 2021, BRGM defied Covid-19, refined its organisation, improved its financial health and strengthened its scientific engagement with partners and clients.”
Like all businesses, BRGM has learned to live with the virus. We were able to regularly stay one step ahead of government health measures and to further upgrade the IT resources available to employees. Naturally, we need to remain vigilant.
Internally, we continued to fine-tune our organisation, setting up a Digital Geosciences division, transferring functional IT to the General Secretariat, and adjusting the governance of the Financial division. We had the dual satisfaction of seeing our 2021 business forecasts confirmed while also generating significant profits. With these profits, and the proceeds from the sale of shares, we have been able to give the go-ahead for rebuilding BRGM's laboratories, which date back to the early 1960s.
Our clients in both the public and private sectors have also found a balance compatible with the pandemic. As a result, orders recovered significantly, making 2021 the best year yet in our current Objectives and Performance Contract (COP). The international market is still feeling an impact, but to a lesser extent than last year.
On the scientific front, BRGM seized the opportunity to take part in calls for tenders to participate in exploratory research programmes (PEPRs) commissioned by the ANR, with the purpose of significantly strengthening relations with the academic world. Following a highly selective process, BRGM has already been selected as co-leader of the “One Water” PEPR, with CNRS-INSU and INRAE.
Decisions are pending for two other PEPRs: “Subsurface as a common asset” concerning the uses of subsurface and the associated conflicts, and “IRIMA”, a programme on natural and industrial risks. BRGM was involved in securing France’s supplies of strategic metals by actively contributing to a report on this subject, submitted to the government at the end of the year.
This report has already paved the way for positive policy decisions, which will hopefully be implemented in 2022. The time is ripe for this, with the fresh interest now being taken in issues relating to European reindustrialisation and national sovereignty.
For BRGM, 2022 is the year in which it will begin negotiations on its goals and performance contract (COP) for the period 2023-2027. It has started to make active preparations by taking a determined stance in its approach to the future.