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Interdisciplinary scientific meetings

1st IFREEMIS’ interdisciplinary scientific Residence 

Natural underground environments : scientific challenges and barriers


En raison de la situation sanitaire, l’organisation de la résidence scientifique est reportée à l’automne (une nouvelle date sera fixée prochainement)


The underground world is studied by numerous fields of research to answer a broad spectrum of problems, most often of a disciplinary nature (archeology, biospeleology, tourism geography, geomorphology, geosciences, hydrogeology, heritage sciences, etc.).

For a decade, there has been a significant renewal of research on the underground environment in connection with more integrated approaches. By bringing new knowledge, the methodological and analytical developments of the last decades have contributed to the renewal of interest in this environment relatively little invested by the scientific community. This comes out as more assertive challenges than in the past on (i) the high-resolution study of underground archives (global change, paleogeography, human/ environmental relationships, past and recent), (ii) the definition of sustainable management methods of water resources, (iii) the biotic dimension of the cavities and the role of microorganisms in the wall states and (iv) the heritage values of the underground environment (natural and cultural) and the redefinition of conservation policies in a context of activation of these values as territorial resources. All of these scientific questions and challenges require the mobilization of numerous research fields and a resolutely interdisciplinary dynamic.

Although essential in the assessment of resources, heritage values and in the definition of methods of preservation and enhancement, current research on the underground world is little known by the general public and spreads little in the media and among actors and underground managers.

  • The 1st interdisciplinary scientific residence of IFREEMIS aims to bring together the scientific community working on the underground world so that they know each other in all their diversity, that they present their research problems and the barriers they face and that they work together on the interdisciplinary tracks likely to be taken in order to be able to raise them and respond to current scientific and societal issues.

    One of the objectives of this annual residence is to initiate the development of a WHITE PAPER presenting the current state of research and knowledge and / or analytical barriers. This WHITE PAPER is intended as a “bring to knowledge” of the work and methodological developments that are currently taking place in the underground environment. It is also meant to be a working base for future IFREEMIS residences which will be dedicated to the necessary development of interdisciplinarity to meet the challenges of knowledge and responses to issues related to the underground environment.

    IFREEMIS does not have the function of funding research on the underground world, it does however aim to promote exchanges and links between the various fields of research and expertise in order to be able to better respond to the current challenges of knowledge, characterization and management of underground resources and heritage.
    By its function as a Project Hotel, IFREEMIS aims to be a place for exchanges and discussions of communities working on the underground world.

    Four themes were pre-selected for this 1st meeting

    In order to define together as precise a picture as possible of the research currently being carried out on the underground world, in the fields of geosciences, environmental sciences as well as human and social sciences.

  1. Natural endokarstic archives, challenges of current research and obstacles encountered.
  2. The resources and heritage of underground environments, current research challenges and obstacles for their rational management.
  3. Underground ecosystems, paradigm shift in underground environments, current knowledge barriers.
  4. Mediation and spreading the work carried out on underground environments and heritage (natural and cultural) : current challenges and obstacles.

    The content of these topics is deliberately underdeveloped in order to bring together the widest scientific and expert community and thus encourages exchanges between the various disciplines involved.

    This call for participation is addressed :

    • to all academic structures (laboratories, universities, etc.), public institutions and institutions working in research on the underground world,
    • as well as to the various researchers interested in such a meeting.

    We invite you to spread this call widely within your respective institutions and networks.

    Accommodation and catering costs as well as on-site travel planned as part of the residence will be taken care by IFREEMIS. Travel costs to get to the place of residence will be taken care by the participants. Additional information on access methods and reception conditions will be sent to participants at a later date.

Organization :

The first day of the Scientific Residence will be dedicated to field visits related to the 4 work themes.

After presenting the spirit of the Scientific Residences and the objectives of the White Paper on underground research, the second day and the morning of the third day will be devoted to indoor discussions around the 4 themes. Led by one or two coordinators, these exchanges will be devoted to the presentation by the participants of the current trajectories of their research, the challenges of knowledge acquisition, the obstacles encountered and their reflections on the interdisciplinary work to be undertaken likely to help them move forward.

The last half-day will be dedicated to a joint restitution of the challenges and obstacles defined in each of the themes. This collective time will also be that of defining the contents of the White Paper.

Attention will be paid to the development of interdisciplinary dynamics and exchanges to be implemented within the framework of the IFREEMIS interdisciplinary scientific residences to come.


For logistical and financial reasons, the number of places at this scientific residence is limited.

Proposals to participate must be sent to IFREEMIS before March 1, 2020, using the attached request for participation form. Registration confirmation will take place no later than March 31, 2020.