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IRD: Institute of Research for Development, France

IRD is a French public science and technology research institute under the joint authority of the French ministries in charge of research and overseas development. Through three main missions (research, consultancy and training), the Institute conducts scientific programs contributing to the sustainable development of Mediterranean and tropical regions, with an emphasis on the relationship between man and the environment.

This comes under six main headings:

  1. Environmental hazards and the safety of Southern communities
  2. Sustainable ecosystems management in the South
  3. Southern continental and coastal water resources and their use
  4. Food security in the South
  5. Health in the South: epidemics, endemic and emerging diseases, healthcare systems
  6. Economic, social, identity and spatial dynamics issues in the South

IRD research is conducted in liaison with French higher education and research institutions and with partners in the South. The IRD is an active participant in numerous operations supported by the European Union and takes part in many international scientific programs. The IRD total budget was 180 millions € in 2004, with about 2172 employees of whom 1588 are tenured staff (789 researchers, 799 engineers, technicians and administrative staff). Forty-three percent of permanent staff are posted overseas, with permanent establishments in the French overseas territories (5) and in other tropical countries (25).

Involvement in research

Access to water is a serious problem in many Southern countries. Identifying water reserves and understanding how best to access and manage them are among the key requirements for development. Water quality is an important factor for human health and for fishery resources. As human populations in Southern countries grow, there are major migration movements into areas near rivers, lakes and the sea. The human impact on these environments, including pressure from fishing and aquaculture, is increasing dramatically.

To protect these ecosystems and their resources, we need to catalogue the resources and forecast their ability to withstand increasing human use. IRD conducts scientific programs contributing to these objectives in the South with an emphasis on the relationship between man and the environment.

In partnership with laboratories and universities in the tropical and Mediterranean areas, IRD leads programs studying:

  1. Sustainable management of water resources
  2. Water hazards as floods or droughts
  3. Impact of climate variability and global change on water resources and on water quality
  4. Aquatic ecosystems and their biological resources




Name: Eric Servat