In 2016, IRD introduced a new European strategy aimed at promoting the importance of research for development in helping formulate responses to the shared, global challenges confronting the European Union and developing countries and in encouraging dedicated alliances and theme-based networks.
Advocacy work was conducted with the European institutions to promote cooperation with developing countries as part of the H2020 programme on the one hand, and to emphasise the importance of research in the EuropeAid programme on the other. Participation in numerous European events, including the European Development Days in June and organising the conference held at the European Parliament on ‘Security and Development in the Sahel’ in October helped strengthen the lobbying work promoting research for development. Several IRD research projects were presented to the Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) for input for the Research Facility on the Trust Fund for Migration. Representatives maintained close relationships with the EU delegations to report on research in the field to be promoted in DEVCO planning.
IRD also mobilised its teams to increase the submission of projects promoting its partnerships with the Global South and strengthening support for researchers. In this respect, several information sessions and training workshops were organised in France and Africa. An array of projects was selected, including Marie Curie mobility grants1 and projects for the study of pandemics in response to the H2020 health challenge. On EuropeAid, two projects on biodiversity in the Indian Ocean coordinated by IRD were funded from the European Development Fund (EDF). A consortium in which IRD is a partner won the LEAP-AGRI call issued by ERA-NET Cofund. The success rate for European projects thus rose from 9% in 2015 to 21% in 2016. An ERC (European Research Council) strategy incentive was also introduced, to identify young researchers with high potential and ensure awareness-raising work ahead of the ERC Grants application calendar, including peer reviews and offering researchers coaching sessions run in conjunction with other scientific and technical research establishments. A Consolidator Grant2 project submitted has already passed the first assessment stage.
1 Marie Pierre Ballarin, an IRD-URMIS researcher, has been awarded a European RISE grant for her research on « Slavery in Africa: a dialogue between Europe and Africa ». The RISE (Research and Innovation Staff Exchange - RISE) action that is part of the H2020 programme is designed to strengthen international and inter-sector collaboration between organisations in the academic and non-academic sectors in Member States and EU associate countries or in third countries.
2 The Consolidator Grant call is for researchers with a promising scientific career and looking to consolidate their research team.