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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

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Welcome to ECOSYS

UMR ECOSYS - Ecologie fonctionnelle et écotoxicologie des agroécosystèmes

Quality management

Quality management
The quality procedures within the unit are led by a “Quality group” composed of 4 facilitators, coordinated by Valérie Bergheaud and including the metrology manager, Amélie Trouvé.

The objectives of the quality procedures are as follows:

  • Maintain all quality records and documents, ensuring their wide dissemination within the unit and providing a strong incentive for their systematic use.
  • Ensure the awareness of quality approaches for newcomers by proposing specific actions regarding the use of quality documents and good practices to ensure traceability (use of laboratory notebooks, archiving of data and samples, providing information on equipment life records).
  • Continue the training of ECOSYS agents in metrology and methods validation (and encourage agents to participate in “Metrology and measurement days” organized by INRA).
  • Develop the integration of quality insurance in research projects as well as in the monitoring of experimental devices (especially in research observatories) and analytical equipment (maintenance, calibration, traceability of proper functioning) and computing tools (for calculation, backups, databases, model version tracking).

In 2013, the Quality group anticipated the changes brought about by the creation of ECOSYS. The coaching of a quality student, funded by the EA division, was a catalyst to begin work on harmonizing practices using the process description approach. A map of the activities of the unit has been established (Figure 22), and 19 working groups have described their activities (budget, human resources, documentation, communication, etc.). This collaborative work allowed real sharing of knowledge and useful documents for the operation of the new unit. ECOSYS has declined this operation according to a "process" approach (very largely inspired by ISO 9001 requirements). "Realization processes" are ensured by the scientific teams, with the transversal axes representing the concretization of the finalized objectives. The "support processes" are provided by technical groups and by the "management and common services" team. The "management process" is ensured by all the governance structures.

Version 2 of the INRA Quality Standard, containing 131 possible actions, was used in a pragmatic way. On the other hand, the INRA Quality Audit organized in 2014 was an opportunity to obtain advice from Quality Engineers. On these two bases, the Quality group has established many tools to achieve operational organization. These tools are frames or forms, including action plans, instructions, handling procedures, or reports, or instructions for giving advice on, for example, the naming of files, managing e-mails, or organizing meetings.

A special effort has been made to write down draft protocols because they are at the heart of our research activity. A framework has been proposed, disseminated and explained during team and general meetings. Colleagues using this tool shared their experiences in the form of SWOT analysis during the June 2017 General meeting.

The self-assessment of the unit’s quality system carried out in 2016-17 made it possible to conduct an assessment of the actions carried out within the framework of the reference quality of INRA by 25 subgroups of our unit. This approach showed how colleagues take care of their organization and the reliability of the produced results.

Applications for the co-financing of Quality projects submitted annually to the INRA EA division have allowed the realization of a series of projects, including the following: the purchase of a power station and probes for the monitoring of the temperature of sensitive installations, the implementation of a process approach through a student in quality management, the development of a system to calibrate NH3 gas measurements, and the obtaining of an ISO 9001 certification of the Biochem-Env platform in November 2017.

Finally, we share our experiences at the level of delegation to the Quality groups of INRA and EA division. For example, we described the actions implemented during unit reconfiguration in the quality seminar organized by the Quality delegation for the very large units of INRA, and we shared our feedback on the use of research protocols at the Quality Seminar organized by the EA division.