Kévin Candelier

The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD)

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I was surprised and much honored to be asked by Alan to write a few words about myself for the IRG Bio page. Have a nice reading and please, don’t hesitate to contact me if you want any other info about work or anything else. I hope and I am crossing my fingers to meet IRG colleagues as soon as possible.

I was born in November 1986 in the small town of Arras in northern France. It is a region very rich in history, because a very wealthy area in the past due to the big coal-mining industry in 1850’s and it was in the front line during the First World War. Nowadays, it is a beautiful place that where I invite you all to come and discover, between sea, sand dunes, marshes and forests. When I was a kid, I spent my summer holydays in the coastal dune (by the seaside) and the rest of the year with my family in the countryside in the middle of the oak, beech, ash and poplar trees. Then had to leave this area for my studies and work. But I am still very attached to it, for my family, but also for good beers (even if I sometimes brew it myself) and delicious cheeses.

Growing up in a very small village does not give you many opportunities to continue your education. At the age of 14, I went to a residential high school specialized in construction and building, for three years. Then, after two years of preparatory classes for high scientific school, I joined the School of Wood Science and Timber Engineering (ENSTIB) in Epinal (France), where I graduated in 2010. Throughout my engineering degree, I graduated a Master degree in "Forest, Agronomy and Environment" at the University of Lorraine, in order to be able to start my PhD thesis. During my second year of engineering school, I spent 4 months in an NGO in Ghana as a volunteer to raise local communities' awareness about deforestation. That’s when I realized I wanted to work with/in tropical countries in the future. From 2010 to 2013, I carried out my PhD thesis, through a research grant from the French government, at the LERMaB laboratory (Nancy, France) on the thermal modification of local wood species using various semi-industrial processes, under the supervision of Mathieu Pétrissans, Stéphane Dumarçay and Philippe Gérardin.

After my phD thesis, that I defended in December 2013, I worked one year as a lecturer at the LaBoMaP at the ENSAM - Campus of Cluny (France), on the Valorization of local wood species with rapid growing and secondary quality (first transformation processes, elaboration and characterization of new engineering materials).

In 2014, I was hired for a researcher position at the The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), in the research unit BioWooEB (Biomass, Wood, energy and Bioproduits) and moved south to the sunny city Montpellier. My researches are now involving in physical and chemical characterizations of lignocellulosic biomasses, in protection and preservation of wood, wood-based materials and lignocellulosic fibers against wood-destroying fungi and termites attacks, and in process engineering by thermochemical modifications of wood and other biomasses towards materials and energy uses. Even if I carried out some R&D projects with European partners (CIRAD, University of Montpellier, LERMaB and LaBoMaP in France, InnoRenew in Slovenia, NIBIO In Norway), I mainly conducted my activities in North (INRGEF in Tunisia, University of Biskra in Algeria, University Cadi Ayyad in Marrocco), Ouest and Central Africa (University of Yaounde 1 in Cameroun), and South America (Ecofog in French Guyana, University of Brasilia and University of Viçosa in Brazil). I am also an associated researcher at the National research Institute of rural engineering, Water and Forests (INRGREF) in Tunis (Tunisia), since 2020.

Since 2019, I have the chance to be involved in the scientific journal of “Bois et Forêts des Tropiques” as scientific editor. And I work as management comittee member and teacher in the new Master degree  in Wood Sciences at the University of Monpellier. Finally, I am very interested in young people-oriented scientific mediation. In this sense, I am collaborating with the team “Savanturiers – Ecole de la Recherche”, that mainly promotes research-based education at the national and international levels, by proposing pedagogic and scientific projects in schools.

IRG meetings and family
I am a regular member of the IRG since 2012… Wahoo, it's already my 10th IRG birthday!!!

Firstly, I would like to thank Philippe Gérardin for introducing me in this very beautiful, fruitful and active scientific network, and Marie-France Thévenon and Donatien Pascal Kamdem for their support in my RCA application in 2012, allowing me to attend my first IRG meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. It was the first time I got to meet all the interesting people of the IRG family. Since then, it is always a real pleasure to attend the annual conferences. The first thing I do on January 1st each year is to mark the dates of the next IRG meeting in my new calendar.

For several years now, I am regularly convener during the scientific sessions on “thermal modification” and/or “Natural durability”. Besides the scientific side and meeting colleagues and friends, IRG is always a good opportunity to spend nice time and take a few days off to discover new places around the world (most of the time with my awesome wife, Cécile).

IRG also took me to Norway for 2 months in 2012, through a Scientific Short Term Session supported by an IRG Travel Award, where Erik Larnøy, Andreas Treu, and their NIBIO’s team took good care of me. I’m really grateful that IRG offers young researchers the opportunity to make connections with scientists all over the world.

Hobbies and others
I have lived in Montpellier since 2014 with my wife Cécile who I met in Nancy during my PhD, and we got married in 2016.

I love walking, running, trekking and cycling (mostly in the mountains), during my life I have dedicate a lot of free time to these activities and most of the places that I visit only for pleasure during vacations are linked to it, with some exceptions. Once a year, I devote a week with some friends to go hiking several mountain peaks, in favor of the association "Des étoiles dans les yeux", which conducts sports activities to bring pleasure and well-being to young people in hospital, and in which I take great pleasure to invest myself. And for the last ten years, I spend several days every year skiing with my brother, my sister-in-law and my two nephews in the Alps Mountains. Finally, I love all the good times in everyday life like concerts, shows, good pubs and restaurants, being able to share this with family and friends


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This bio was written for the February 2022 IRG newsletter.