Photo du Codir.©-Franck DUNOUAU

Organization and governance

CIRAD has a staff of 1650, including 800 researchers. It comprises three scientific departments and 29 research units.

Chief Executive Officer

Élisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin

Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin © Arnaud Calais

© Arnaud Calais

Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin studied at France’s prestigious Ecole Normale Supérieure and Ecole Nationale d’Administration, and began her career as a researcher in microeconomics. She joined the Civil Service in 1993, and quickly began work under the direct authority of three French ministers (Finance, Research and Foreign Affairs), and for the Spanish government.
In 2013, she was appointed Senior Advisor to the Executive Director for France at the World Bank and the IMF in Washington DC, where she worked to build and steer public development aid policy.
In 2016, she returned to France and was appointed Deputy Director for sustainable development at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Directorate General for Globalization, Culture, Education and International Development. This varied career has made her acutely sensitive to biodiversity and climate issues within the European and multilateral framework.
Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin joined CIRAD in 2018, as Director General in charge of Research and Strategy, before being appointed CEO on 16 June 2021. 

Board positions within other organizations:

  • Member of the Board of Directors, INRAE (French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment)
  • Member of the Board of Directors, IRD (Institut de recherche pour le développement)
  • Member of the Executive Board, Agropolis Fondation
  • Member of the Scientific Committee, AFD (Agence française de développement)
  • Member of the Strategic Committee, DigitAg

Office of the Director General in charge of Research and Strategy

The Office of the Director General in charge of Research and Strategy (DGD-RS) works alongside CIRAD's President Managing Director to implement the strategy adopted by its Board of Trustees. In particular, its sets its research, partnership and skill building priorities; it guarantees the quality of their implementation; and it identifies the changes required in terms of scientific and technical skills.

Office of the Director General in charge of Resources and Organization

The Office of the Director General in charge of Resources and Organization (DGD-RD) establishes and oversees guidelines for the implementation of the establishment's strategy and its contract of agreed objectives, by seeking out, identifying and mobilizing the financial, human and material resources its research units require for their scientific operations.

Scientific departments

Biological Systems (BIOS)

The Biological Systems Department conducts research on the living world, its characterization and its exploitation. It covers the diversity, biology and functioning of organisms and populations and the relations between them and with their environment, both under and free from anthropic pressure.

It works on a genome, cell, organism and population level. Its work draws in particular upon concepts and tools from the fields of genomics, physiology, genetics, microbiology, epidemiology, entomology and ecology. It associates analysis, statistics and modelling, for a clearer understanding of biological systems.

The topics covered by the department's research units include plant diversity/breeding and plant and animal health, using increasingly integrated, multidisciplinary approaches.

Thierry Lefrançois, Director

Thierry Lefrançois. © Franck DUNOUAU

© F. Dunouau

Thierry Lefrançois is a veterinary surgeon with a PhD and an HDR in physiopathology from INSERM, and has been working at CIRAD for some twenty years, on the immunology, diagnosis and epidemiology of tropical infectious animal diseases. In recent years, his research activities have centred on the emergence of infectious, notably vector-borne diseases, with particular emphasis on the development of interactions between research and surveillance within regional health networks in the global South. After working as a researcher in these topics in Burkina Faso, Kenya and Guadeloupe, he was Head of the Emerging and Exotic Animal Disease Control Joint Research Unit (CMAEE) and then of the CIRAD-INRA Animals, Health, Territories, Risks and Ecosystems Joint Research Unit (ASTRE), which is working to develop an integrated, interdisciplinary health approach in line with the One Health concept.

Performance of Tropical Production and Processing Systems (PERSYST)

The Performance of Tropical Production and Processing Systems Department studies tropical production operations (family farming and cash crops) on a plot, farm and small-scale processing firm scale.Its work is conducted in partnership with local research players in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the French overseas regions.

Its research covers the following thematic fields: agroecology and ecological intensification, soil and environmental ecology, and the sustainability of food and non-food processing systems.

More precisely, its units study biological regulation processes within production systems, resource use efficiency (energy, eau, nutrients, etc) and the performance of production and processing systems, taking multi-criteria approaches. Based on the resulting knowledge, they work with producers and development players to develop innovative, sustainable food and non-food production and processing systems.

Jean-Paul Laclau, Director

Jean-Paul Laclau.  © Franck DUNOUAU

© F. Dunouau

Jean-Paul Laclau has been working for almost thirty years on sustainable tropical plantation management. After working with CIRAD as an engineer, responsible for forest inventories in New Caledonia and subsequently for the development of industrial eucalyptus plantations in Republic of Congo, he resumed his education, with a PhD in agricultural sciences and an accreditation to supervise research (HDR). His research activities in Congo and Brazil initially centred on studies of nutrient cycles within fast-growing planted forests. He went on to look into the interactions between mineral nutrition and carbon and water cycles within plantations. In recent years, his research activities have focused on the effects of mixing species on resource sharing, and the role of very deep roots in tree functioning. After more then twenty years overseas, he was appointed Deputy Head of the Functional Ecology & Bio-geochemistry of Soils and Agrosystems Joint Research Unit (UMR Eco&Sols). He is a member of several national and international scientific bodies.

Environments and Societies (ES)

The Environments and Societies Department centres its research on the relations between agriculture, natural resource management and social dynamics, and the links with public policy.

It works on every scale of rural development, from family farms to the global level, studying the processes of innovation and coordination between players and social groups, and territories as the best places for implementing regulation.

Its researchers conduct surveys, polls and inventories and use specific techniques to represent and model complex systems. They develop concepts and tools from various disciplines within the agricultural and human sciences. They address the ways in which renewable resources—water, forests, rangelands and wildlife—are managed collectively, with a view to sustainable production of goods and services. They also work on the establishment and impact of public policy, particularly as regards management of commons and market organization, and the establishment of norms and provision of support for talks between players.

Sylvain Perret, Director

Sylvain Perret. © Franck DUNOUAU

© F. Dunouau

Sylvain Perret holds a PhD and is qualified to supervise research (HDR) in agricultural sciences.

During his 30-year experience of research and higher education in least developed countries, he has addressed issues relating to renewable resource management, especially agricultural land and water, farming and cropping systems assessment, and sustainable rural development. Dr Perret has explored many disciplines within the technical sciences (agricultural sciences, hydrology, environmental and climate sciences), and social sciences socioeconomics, financial analysis, management and decision sciences), and published extensively. He has more recently worked on the environmental impacts of cropping systems (life cycle assessment methodologies), multi-criteria sustainability assessment of farming systems (eco-efficiency and dynamic modelling approaches).

Dr Perret has successfully directed 11 PhD students, nine of them from least developed countries. He has published more than 50 papers in international journals, and two international books, on machinery and soil management in agriculture, and water governance.