In view of the magnitude, the mechanisms and the consequences of the major environmental issues, notably climate change, technological innovation appears to be an essential avenue to generate effective solutions.
The Foundation encourages the development of new technologies to help protect the environment. One particular case is the project organised jointly with the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP), the WCRP-FPA2 Polar Challenge. A prize will be awarded to the first team to complete the challenge of sailing for more than 2,000 km under sea ice, in the Arctic or Antarctic, in an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) such as an “underwater glider", following a given route and performing regular temperature and salinity observations between the surface and depths of up to 1,000 m.
Over time, this project will allow for a polar observation system to be developed based on a fleet of autonomous vehicles under the Artic Ocean, collecting crucial high-quality oceanographic data (such as temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, pH, etc.) at a lower cost compared to conventional observing systems. This will have countless benefits for the polar ocean regions, and range from climate research to environmental protection and also include weather forecasts, biodiversity knowledge, maritime safety, transport, energy, etc.
The Foundation helps support the Argo International network (involving 35 countries), which currently operates a global array of almost 4,000 free-drifting profiling floats, robots in all the oceans measuring the temperature and salinity of the upper 2,000 m of the oceans. These data are used in real time by operational centres that forecast sea conditions and make it possible to calculate the ocean's capacity for storing heat and to understand the climate.
By stimulating technological innovation and encouraging creative solutions, the Foundation acts to reinforce knowledge, develop new means of action and to create links between human development, technological progress and environmental protection.