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Café des Idées - Science in Conversation

In 2020, the Alliance Française “Café Scientifique” became “Café des Idées - Science in Conversation” jointly organised with FAST!* and the Embassy of France to offer a convivial meeting platform for the exchange of ideas, information  and discussion for all those who are interested in French-related science and its broader implications for society and the natural environment.


The new format will include the possibility to connect on line or to come at the premices of Alliance Française in Wellington (free admission). 


* France Aotearoa Science Technology and !nnovation



Next Event:  Friday 2 July 2021 - When biomass replaces fossil fuel... Is New Zealand ready?

If you want to know more about bioenergy, biomaterials and bioeconomy, join the conversation with Claire Mayer-Laigle (INRAe), Marie-Joo Le Guen (Scion) and Peter Edwards (Landcare Research) on 2 July at 5.30 pm.


You can either come to Alliance Française Wellington or connect with Zoom from the comfort of your own home. You will receive the link 48 hrs before the talk. Please register (free):


Book your ticket on EventBrite

About the topic


Aotearoa is rich in renewable and diverse biological resources from which bioenergy and biomaterials can be created to replace fossil-based products in a climate friendly future. Our three speakers will show examples of current New Zealand research & innovation in bio-based products, including the processing of ultrafine biomass powder to run combustion engines, or manufacturing of smart biomaterials using 3D and 4D printing technologies, and will discuss the concept of circular bioeconomy and how New Zealand can transition to it.

Our speakers

Claire Mayer-Laigle


Claire Mayer-Laigle is a research engineer and she has worked at the French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment (INRAe). She is currently working on secondment to SCION research institute in Rotorua in the framework of an European grant : The SMARTPOP Project (H2020 - MFSA- IF , grant Number  893040 ) with the aim to develop new sustainable materials from lignocellulosic powder using additive manufacturing technique. During the last 8 years, she managed an INRAe facility for the plant materials processing in Montpellier and she was involved in many research projects aiming to replace fossil fuel by lignocellulosic biomass.

Marie-Joo Le Guen


Marie-Joo is a Research Group Leader at Scion. Her background is in materials science and additive manufacturing (AM). Scion is a Crown Research Institute that specialises in research, science and technology development for the forestry, wood product, wood-derived materials, and other biomaterial sectors. Looking to the future, our vision for AM includes cross-disciplinary opportunities with other advanced related technologies such as smart materials, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, and artificial intelligence. Coupling this highly adaptive technology with the innovative kiwi-mindset, a small but young manufacturing sector, and easy production near supplies of biomass is a recipe for success.

Peter Edwards


Peter is a social scientist (Sociology and Political Science) with a background in Forest Ecology. He started working at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research 2.5 years ago after spending several years at Scion. Peter completed a BSc in Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia (Vancouver, Canada) and a PhD in Sociology and Political Science at Griffith University (Brisbane, Australia). He has worked across a variety of natural resource issues – agriculture, forestry, fisheries, water, in a number of countries – Canada, the USA, Sweden, Belgium, Australia and New Zealand. His research broadly covers perceptions and attitudes towards trees, forests and other land uses, forest governance and policy, biosecurity, trust and the bioeconomy.


Alliance Française

Old Dominion Building Level 3

78 Victoria Street, Wellington