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Portrait of Xavier Lemonde

Human Resources Management is the responsibility of companies, how does the territory enrich this approach?

The UESS is a 1901 Law Association, founded in 2002, administered by business leaders from the Territory. Its founder Jacques BARDOUIN comes from a family of Distillers, the Distilleries and Domaines de Provence in Forcalquier. The university has given itself 3 missions:

  > Support the development of businesses and skills,

  > Promote scientific, technical and industrial culture,

  > Promote the territories and local traditional know-how.

Thus, the UESS develops several activities:

  > A training center, known for its training as a cold soap maker;

  > Awareness workshops on scents and flavors for the general public;

  > A Museum that traces the history of the Territory from the gathering of aromatic and medicinal plants on the Montagne de Lure, to the development of industrial SMEs today, including the cultivation of plants, in the forefront of which Lavender and Lavandin;

  > A store, showroom for products from SMEs in the Territory,

  > The coordination of research projects on the themes of scents and flavors.

What territorial anchoring of the UESS in the territory of Forcalquier?

The anchoring of the UESS is multiple:

  > By occupying a historic site, for which the University has piloted the rehabilitation,

  > Through its governance: local business leaders,

  > By its Museum, not relocatable !!!

  > And tomorrow, by reinforcing the activities that provoke the Meeting:

   - Between the leaders of SMEs and the world of Research, the world of Ideas,

   - Between companies, citizens around shared scents and flavors,

   - At the articulation of culture, economy, contemporary ecological, energy, health issues ...

By this I mean that the European University of Scents and Flavors cannot be unknown to the inhabitants of the Territory. Everyone must be able to live an experience there.

What skills does the UESS deploy to support the ecosystem of Aromatic and Medicinal Plants in the area?

We speak of an ecosystem because, downstream from the production of aromatic and perfume plants, several industrial sectors have been structured: in the food industry, Distillery, in cosmetics, in room fragrances. It is therefore not a sector in the strict sense. The ecosystem makes the link between all its companies and the actors of the territory. We support this ecosystem by responding to the needs of its businesses: today, under market pressure, we can sense a renewed interest in local sourcing; UESS is called upon to support the structuring of a short, local sector. It is about putting in relation the producer, the extractor, the formulator. On paper, this seems easy, but along the way, technical brakes on production appear, regulatory brakes to be able to sell, qualitative issues on active ingredients or aromatic compounds, and finally economic questions when the structural costs of producers have difficult to be amortized on small surfaces or small orders.

After 4 months of management, I propose to the Board of Directors some avenues to strengthen this ecosystem:

  - First, a partnership position: the UESS is too small to meet specialized needs. And so through partnerships we are looking for answers. First, we will seek a partnership with the Pole Innovalliance, a competitiveness cluster based in Avignon so that their services are made available to businesses in the Haut Provençal Territory,

  - We offer the construction of tailor-made training, to meet the needs of companies as closely as possible in a training / action pedagogy,

  - The development of a network by offering events, conferences bringing together audiences in this majestic place (example: October 9: post-COVID sensory rehabilitation processes, with a CNRS researcher.

Contrary to the image we have of the University, it is not the holder of knowledge, of academic knowledge; it is a meeting place where you have to know how to listen in order to put the actors in touch with each other. I believe that the Learning Territory Program challenged me on the word “Encounter”, and gives meaning to my commitment to the direction of this Association.

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