Project Hotel

The creation of a welcome center/hotel for projects dedicated to research and training activities in underground and karst environments is one of the main thrusts of the IFREEMIS project.

  1. The Concept

    The hotels with projects, according to the usual acceptations, are interdisciplinary structures, registered in the local fabric, and which are intended to :

    • attract nationally and internationally renowned researchers and/or teams
    • participate in training in interdisciplinarity and the emergence of young talents. To do this, they ensure an interdisciplinary research called “contact” allowing the confrontation of different cultures, the presence of project teams recruited on tender and maintaining a regular flow of visitors, a high level and open technological platform, led by qualified staff,
    • launch calls for projects in partnership with research and higher education centers, local authorities, economic players, ensuring a regular flow of visitors, researchers or teams, carrying out new projects.

    These systems are part of the evolution of the French research and higher education landscape as well as territorial initiatives aimed at strengthening competitiveness based on the innovation economy. The common denominators of the various project hotels are interdisciplinarity, the organization of workshops or summer schools, the hosting of resident teams, the presence of a technological platform.

    Although it is neither a research structure nor a higher initial training organization, IFREEMIS, as an “outside-the-walls” structure, “outside of academic constraints”, has a role to play as :

    • place of exchange and sharing of experiences, pitfalls, obstacles encountered by researchers within the framework of their respective research programs,
    • place of legibility of the specificities of the underground environment : the underground environment must come to light and be visible by research organizations, relevant ministries and training places,
    • place of exchange with other managers and actors of underground sites (conservation, preservation, AEP, …) in the formalization of research projects, allowing to collectively respond to the challenges and difficulties currently encountered,
    • place of training in an interdisciplinary approach, via modules and training materials complementary to pre-existing university training offers,
    • place of reception for training and research activities which would require proximity to study areas of high scientific or educational interest or even access to school or laboratory sites.
  2. The identification of the needs and the work in progress about the economy of the project

    A first meeting of around twenty research laboratories concerned with the study of underground environments was organized in March 2018. The research structures present very widely expressed their expectations regarding the creation in the Ardèche, of a structure to shelter their research activities or for field training modules, requiring proximity to areas for experimentation or study (cavities, sites & karst landscapes).

    A market study was subsequently carried out as part of a field mission by student engineers from the school of mining & telecoms in Alès. Targeting training organizations and research structures in underground environments and karst environments, it has made it possible to better understand the market for hosting their field training activities.

    The survey thus made it possible to identify the needs of the targeted organizations, to establish a state of supply, to specify the selection criteria governing the location of field activities, to identify the potential of the territory, thus drawing the scope of the reception offer to be built, outlining the economic conditions of its operation, drawing out some guidelines in terms of preprogramming.

    A feasibility study was therefore launched in June 2019, in order to bring the project to maturation. It was entrusted to Office Katalyse. Its objectives are to consolidate the preliminary market study and the pre-program equipment according to the needs expressed, analyze the different localization hypotheses and build the management model and the equipment business plan.

    The conclusions of the study are expected for the first half of 2020 in order to bring the project into operational phase.