Strengthening higher education and research systems through training


Capacity-building is a cross-cutting task, involving all of the Institute’s scientific activities, based on the belief that development entails recognised scientific communities, open to social challenges.

The Capacity-Building Department (SRC) contributes to this by focusing on training support for higher education and research systems in the Global South, with two goals: to meet the requirements of partners in the South and to integrate its actions into French university site policies.

Key figures

Support for Masters degrees in key domains of sustainable development

Launched in 2015, the Masters support programme supports IRD teams in their cooperation with universities and research centres in the Global South, to set up or strengthen initial training courses..

The aim is to improve the quality of training offers which lead to degrees, are strongly supported by research and are connected to the socio-professional sector, in order to boost relevance and appropriateness between training, employment and development, working closely with French and European universities.

By mobilising expertise and funding, IRD plays a central role in several initiatives. This strategy helps to increase IRD’s presence in funding programmes to support cooperation in higher education and more generally among development backers.

Regional Masters in water resources and environmental risks in major African cities (MAREMA)

2018 marked the launch of the MAREMA Masters, which benefits from €757,000 of funding from Erasmus + (co-ordinated by the University of Montpellier). It welcomes around 80 students across 5 higher education establishments, in 3 different countries (Benin, Côte d’Ivoire and Cameroon).

Support for PhD courses in the Global South

In addition to its role in supporting doctoral students in the South, IRD supports partner universities in the creation or consolidation of doctoral schools, generally in connection with partner research arrangements (IJLs, JEAIs, observatories). It therefore helps to shape the doctoral ecosystem in Global South countries.

Geresh Cam (Governance and emergence of research into human sciences in Cambodia)

IRD has been a partner of the “GEReSH-CAM” Erasmus + capacity building project since 2016.

Coordinated by INALCO, it aims to create an inter-university research centre in the human sciences, and to support and structure higher education and research in Cambodia. 8 training programmes were set up in 2018.

Support for research training schools

The key objective of these short training cycles is to develop the research skills of students, researchers, research lecturers and engineers/technicians in the Global South. They focus on scientific and/or technical skills (software use, research methodologies, instrumentation, etc.).

Often supported by research arrangements, they are a tool for structuring a project team, generally as part of a multidisciplinary approach.

Spring school on urban violence in Latin America and France

The first edition of this school was held on the IRD campus in Bondy, from 23 to 29 May 2018.

School on the Nagoya Protocol

The Nagoya Protocol seeks to respond to the global challenge of protecting biodiversity, by promoting the sustainable and responsible use of genetic resources.

A training workshop was held on 28 and 29 November 2018 in Vientiane, organised by the IRD representative in Laos, CIRAD and the Lao Ministry of Sciences and Technologies.

Organisation of cross-disciplinary workshops

Complementing the research training schools, the cross-disciplinary workshops aim to support the improvement of skills among researchers and research lecturers in the Global South, in the area of cross-disciplinary skills for the research profession, such as seeking funding, team management or communication.

Moreover, these initiatives are a chance to build connections with partner researchers, to promote their profiles and work, and to involve them in different activities organised by IRD or in response to calls for tender from international organisations (World Bank, UN agencies, foundations, etc.).

And in the future?

In 2019, support for training schemes will continue, with a particular emphasis on supporting African centres of excellence (World Bank). IRD is involved in these via the “training and education” component and participation in the structuring initiatives that are transnational campuses and training (Franco-Senegalese campus, Franco-Ivorian hub, Franco Tunisian University, etc.).

IRD will also structure its actions for the production of digital resources (MOOCs, remote training, etc.) within the framework of several strategic partnerships.