CIRAD: 40 years of shared research to grow the world of tomorrow

Event 5 June 2024
It is CIRAD's 40th anniversary this year. The celebrations will begin on 25 June in Montpellier, with a large-format photographic exhibition, open to the general public, at the Jardin des plantes (botanical garden) and an event to bring together partners and staff members, at the Corum centre. This event, which can also be followed on line, will give CIRAD a chance to report on the impact of its research in partnership with countries in the global South, in the fields of agriculture, environment and health.

© D.Guard-Lavastre, Cirad

CIRAD was founded by decree, on 5 June 1984. The decree announced the merger of nine tropical agricultural research institutes, each working on specific value chains: rubber (IRCA); oils and oilseed crops (IRHO); fruit and citrus (IRFA); cotton and exotic textiles (IRCT); coffee, cocoa and other stimulant crops (IFCC); livestock production and veterinary medicine in tropical countries (IEMVT); tropical forestry (CTFT); tropical agronomy and food crops (IRAT); and tropical agricultural machine technology (CEEMAT).

Its initial mandate was to: "contribute to rural development in warm regions, through research and skill-building activities, primarily in the agricultural, forestry and agrifood sectors".

40 years of research and innovation in partnership for impact

Over 40 years, the scope of its work has expanded considerably: from genes to agricultural plots, territories, regions, countries and continents. The range of scientific disciplines covered is broader, having grown from three main scientific fields - agronomy, forestry, and livestock and veterinary science - to more than 40 currently, from life and environmental sciences to human and social sciences, through science and technology.

"CIRAD has succeeded in combining its expertise in value chains, drawn from its founding organizations, with a wealth of scientific disciplines such as ecology, economics, sociology of innovation, etc", CIRAD CEO Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin explains. "This has made it a global scientific leader in terms of tropical forests and several tropical crops such as coffee, cocoa, sugarcane, rice, sorghum, rubber, palms, etc."

In 40 years, the targeted, contextualized and participatory research practised by CIRAD and its many partners in the global South has served to build more sustainable resilient farming and food systems, improve plant and animal health while preserving biodiversity, and train thousands of young people and strengthen the links between science and policy making.

Elisabeth Claverie de Saint Martin goes on: "As the slogan that will accompany all of CIRAD's operations in this anniversary year says, our research must continue to be shared, to grow the world of tomorrow, particularly in a world facing many crises linked to climate, biodiversity and food security; a world we need to transform.

An event by invitation only

CIRAD will be welcoming its partners and staff members to the Corum Centre in Montpellier on the afternoon of 25 June (the event will also be livestreamed), with a packed programme of three sequences: the first on value chains, from yesterday until now, followed by two roundtables on the impact of research for development, and multi-stakeholder cooperation on issues at the Health/Environment interface.

A press conference and a photographic exhibition

There will be a press conference ahead of the event, from 11:45 to 12:30 on 25 June, following the opening of a photographic exhibition, "Preserving and feeding the planet: a large-format look at the living world", at the Jardin des plantes (botanical garden) in Montpellier.

The press conference will include contributions from the following:

Registration for the press conference and compulsory accreditation for the event on 25 June for journalists:

Further celebrations up to the end of the year

The celebrations will continue at CIRAD's regional offices during the second half of the year, ending with a major public conference in Paris on 25 November in the Le Monde newspaper auditorium, and an event in Brussels on 28 November.

See details of the events planned



CIRAD is the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions. It works with its partners to build knowledge and solutions for resilient farming systems in a more sustainable, inclusive world. It mobilizes science, innovation and training in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Its expertise supports the entire range of stakeholders, from producers to public policymakers, to foster biodiversity protection, agroecological transitions, food system sustainability, health (of plants, animals and ecosystems), sustainable development of rural territories, and their resilience to climate change. CIRAD works in some fifty countries on every continent, thanks to the expertise of its 1800 staff members, including 1240 scientists, backed by a global network of some 200 partners. It also supports French scientific diplomacy operations.