In a changing, complex, unclear and threatened world, science must help not only to analyse problems, but also and above all to devise solutions, inspire change, and imagine sustainable development paths. Without the appropriate solutions, technologically relevant methods, frugal (low-tech) or societal innovations anchored in contexts, it will be impossible to achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs).
By nature, IRD is a scientific organisation that works close to the ground, listening to sustainable development issues and the needs of research communities in the South. However, its sometimes participative research is not sufficiently integrated into co-creation and collective intelligence initiatives. The more science works with partners all along the research-innovation chain to collectively construct research issues and research-innovation processes, the more it will contribute to the solutions. This openness ensures alignment with priority needs and allows a faster and more relevant response to issues.
As stipulated by the COP (objectives and performance contract), it is essential today to make research more useful to society, and to do this, we need to support this process of opening science to society in both the North and the South. We must support research communities in the Global South, by stimulating creativity, supporting the construction of higher education and research systems connected with societal needs, and strengthening the connections between education, research and innovation.