Platforms in partnership for research and training (dP)
CIRAD has drawn up a geographical partnership strategy centring on platforms in partnership for research and training.
Targeted research calls for long experience of working on the ground, but also sound partnerships with institutions in operating countries, since development is intrinsically linked to context. At CIRAD, co-construction means working together to resolve research issues, from pinpointing them through to completing the planning, knowledge generation and skill-building process. Our ability to assign researchers to partner organizations is one of our strengths, and our regional offices are generally based at those organizations.
We have recognized expertise in building and leading networks, and work to ensure that our partners in tropical and Meditearranean countries can access international scientific and institutional networks, and funding from European donors.
While the Europe-Africa-Mediterranean axis has traditionally been our priority, CIRAD is working to consolidate its partnerships in Southeast Asia, Latin and Central America and the French overseas regions.
National agricultural research systems (NARS) are our preferred partners on the ground. We also work with a wide range of other players: ministries, local authorities, the private sector (economic players in value chains), training establishments and universities, NGOs, foundations, producer federations and other professional organizations, etc.
The "platforms in partnership for research and training" (dPs), launched in 2008, are CIRAD's preferred form of partnership. They pool our human, technological and financial resources with those of our partners over a long period – ten years or more –, around strategic priorities. This approach guarantees a critical size, coverage of a range of disciplines, and regional prominence, and thus boosts our impact, visibility and capacity to fund projects.
CIRAD is currently a partner in 22 dPs. The dPs make up a community of 180 institutions represented on the ground by a permanent staff of almost 800 researchers and technicians, including 150 from CIRAD. CIRAD has also signed agreements for the creation (or renewal) of two international joint laboratories (created by IRD) and two international associated laboratories (created by INRAE).
CIRAD uses its position as a leading European agricultural research for development (AR4D) institution to federate efforts and raise awareness of the issues at the highest decision-making level in France. In close partnership with INRAE and IRD, it plays an active part in institutional coordination bodies (Agreenium, Montpellier University of Excellence – MUSE, French Foundation for Biodiversity Research) and in national research planning (AllEnvi).
In Montpellier, CIRAD is a member of Agropolis International, an alliance federating 17 research and higher education establishments, and it has an international reputation in the field of Mediterranean and tropical agricultural research. Along with INRAE, IRD and l'institut Agro, it was also behind Agropolis Fondation, which supports and promotes top-level agricultural research and teaching. CIRAD is joint holder of the UNESCO Chair in World Food Systems, which hosted by l'institut Agro and is a broad community of teaching and research staff working for more sustainable food systems.
CIRAD also works effectively with EU initiatives and instruments (such as H2020 and DeSIRA), and contributes actively to EU cooperation policy. It supports European Union – African Union dialogue and is involved in the construction of the European Research Area, notably via the Agrinatura network, of which it was a founding member.
CIRAD is also a member of various European exchange and consultation groups, such as Euragri. It is stepping up collaboration, notably through flagship projects, with other European AR4D players: Wageningen University and Research (WUR) in the Netherlands, the Swedish University and Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) and the University of Hohenheim in Germany.
The DeSIRA initiative (Development-Smart Innovation through Research in Agriculture) was launched at the Paris One Planet Summit in December 2017. It is headed by the European Commission Directorate General for International Partnerships (DG INTPA) and is working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The aim is to boost innovation in agriculture and changes in food systems in partner countries, to make them more resilient to the effects of climate change. It intends to strengthen research partnerships (Europe and the global South) and promote research in partnership with development players and impact-oriented research.
While remaining rooted in concrete, contextualized issues, CIRAD is keen to build on its wide range of scientific partnerships to construct comparative approaches, generate knowledge that can be rolled out to different situations and help develop innovations in the global public interest. It is this ambition that prompts its membership of international and global bodies. CIRAD is working to strengthen its partnerships with FAO, IFAD and development banks (World Bank and regional banks). It also has close links with CGIAR, through its involvement in its research programmes, the fact that certain CGIAR centres are members of platforms in partnership to which it also belongs, and the joint construction of far-reaching new initiatives.
We work with more than 200 financial partners, who provide 40% of our annual budget. Those donors – which may be public or private, research or development players – define the programmes on which they wish to work with us and help us monitor and assess them.
For the first time, CIRAD invited 40 of its partners to Montpellier on 27 and 28 June. Those partners came from 23 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The aim of the meetings was to take a fresh look at how to work together on research and training in the fields of agriculture, food and the environment, to better anticipate and cope with health, food, energy, social, security, economic and environmental (climate change and biodiversity erosion) crises.