Promoting IRD’s activities and values


IRD’s communication strategy must respond to two major issues present in the 2016-2030 strategic direction plan (POS) and in the 2016-2020 objectives and performance contract (COP): recognition and awareness of the Institute and its work as a key and original player in science and development, and consolidation of a collective dimension to our work by facilitating cultural and institutional connections within Planet IRD. IRD’s communication activities are structured around three strong development lines: facilitating dialogue and constructing communities, establishing IRD’s identity, and improving understanding of IRD’s work.

Key figures

In 2018, the activities of the communication and information sharing department (DCPI) focused on the Institute’s major, priority thematic or cross-cutting fields: climate change, biodiversity, glaciers and, more generally, sustainability science, the impact of IRD research on development and innovation. At national and international level, IRD’s institutional communication tools (leaflets, stands, newsletters, digital presence, events, etc.) were also deployed throughout the year, to cover these priorities.

One of the key projects was the continuation of a vast Internet initiative for a more interactive digital presence, integrating more social networks, better aligned with the priorities of the POS, more ergonomic and intuitive for both contributors and Internet users.

Raising the profile of IRD’s activities

The Institute’s scientific editorial strategy draws on the extraordinarily rich array of subjects, angles and results from its researchers’ work to position itself as a benchmark in the world of science devoted to development. The strategy is implemented via the production of multimedia content, and benefits from all of the diffusion channels used by the Communication and Information Sharing department (DCPI).

Reporting on and promoting research results

In 2018, one of the major objectives of the editorial projects department was to design an up-to-date news platform. IRD le Mag’ was therefore conceived to enable browsing by themes and sub-themes, geographical areas, research topics, etc. Several sections (feature, report, short account, focus, opinion piece, etc.) shine a light on the plethora of research projects conducted at IRD. More importantly, this new magazine includes and combines various media: print, video, audio, data visualisation.

This multimedia approach resulted in the making of a number of videos over the year, relating to science news.

In conjunction with the scientific output of researchers from the IRD and its partners, the sixty-odd science news items produced are reflective of the diversity of research topics.

The editorial projects department also supported projects run by other departments, such as the launch of IRD Métiers (networks and communities department).

Positioning IRD as a key point of contact for the major development issues

Strengthening of press relations was also a major issue for IRD communication in 2017, making them more systematic, and better connected to current affairs and the Institute’s priority themes of intervention.

Nearly fifty press releases and press packs were issued in 2018, to promote IRD’s research results in the fields of health (control of infectious, emerging and neglected diseases), climate change (4 per thousand programme, mobilisation at COP24), oceans (research on Sargassum seaweed in the French Antilles, International Year of the Reef) and societies (migrants, vulnerable populations).

Other media releases focused on research conducted in partnership as part of observatories in the Global South: Niakhar (population, environment and health observatory in Africa), AMMA-Catch (African monsoon) and PIRATA (ocean-atmosphere interactions in the tropical Atlantic).

In 2018, the Institute had 2,530 press mentions, including 32 articles in Le Monde, 18 in Le Figaro, 13 in La Croix, 5 in Sciences et Avenir, 16 AFP dispatches, 21 interviews or programmes on France Inter, 53 on France O, 15 on France Culture and 56 on RFI.

The editorial partnership with The Conversation, an information website which gives researchers a voice, was extended for the third consecutive year: 35 articles were published by IRD researchers in 2018. This partnership also made it possible to organise a reporting trip to Guinea, to exploit the results of research on the monitoring of Ebola survivors, with the support of the European Journalism Centre.

Facilitating dialogue with the entire “Planet IRD”

The improved support for IRD professional communities and scientific communities is a strong line of development for IRD communication, with the deployment in 2017 of specific formats for social networks and support in managing network texts. The consolidation of HR and IS (information system) communication around core projects (SIFAC, RIFSEEP etc.) is part of the same drive, for better targeted information that meets the needs of users.

To forge links around its research work, innovation and the training provided in the Global South, as well as the major projects relating to the Institute’s governance and day-to-day life, IRD relies on more targeted communication on social media in an effort to engage its audiences, and helps inform and coordinate the various communities making up “Planet IRD”, using collaborative tools and exchange areas.

Today, planet IRD federates over 8000 French higher education and research staff, and aims to become more open from 2019, particularly towards communities in the Global South.

In 2018, IRD’s audience continued to grow on social networks, the Institute’s LinkedIn page taking the lead with nearly 18,000 followers, ahead of its Facebook page which reaches almost 17,000 fans, and its Twitter account with nearly 13,000 followers. The Institute maintains its position in the French research landscape in terms of audience.

The engagement rate of its LinkedIn and Facebook followers increased from 2017, and a 70% increase in the Institute’s awareness on Twitter (number of citations) was recorded).

Building IRD’s image and reputation

The deployment of IRD’s new visual identity continued in 2018, particularly in the IRD regional delegations and its representations around the world.

Several resources were created to present the new IRD organisation (deployment of regional delegations, new network of representatives), but also to support scientists in their communication projects.

IRD was keen to attend several national and international events in 2018, pursuing two lines of action:

And in the future?

In 2019, the digital evolution of communication materials will continue, consistent with IRD’s strategic directions, most notably with the set-up of a science news platform, a new institutional website and a corporate social network. This work will go hand-in-hand with greater social media presence and a series of initiatives involving the various communities that make up Planet IRD.

IRD will also celebrate its 75th anniversary with a series of events in France and its partner countries. The common theme of the programme is a principle which underpins IRD’s assignments: scientific knowledge comes from inclusive construction and, to effectively contribute to development, it must be planned for the common good. Under the patronage of the President of the French Republic, the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie and UNESCO; the international symposium on “Research, development and common good: science to support a sustainable world” will kick off this anniversary year on 22 February 2019.