Updated 29/09/23

Since 2011, the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) and the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) have a joint office located in Pretoria, at the Innovation Hub. The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (Cirad) joined this office in 2015. The joint IRD-CNRS-CIRAD office is responsible for South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique (IRD), Southern Africa (CNRS) and South Africa (correspondence for CIRAD).

Mathematical sciences

© IRD/CNRS - Cécile Bégard

Mathematical sciences

In a nutshell

IRD in Southern Africa

Internationally recognised multidisciplinary organisation working primarily in partnership with Mediterranean and inter-tropical countries, IRD via its network and presence in fifty or so countries, takes an original approach to research, expertise, training and knowledge-sharing, to the benefit of countries and regions that make science and innovation key drivers in their development.

IRD has been established in South Africa since 1995 and since that date has been working with the country's leading universities and research institutions in oceanography, agro-ecology, health sciences and social sciences. IRD also conducts research and training activities in partnership with Mozambique and Zimbabwe.


CNRS in Southern Africa

CNRS is the largest French public research organization (over 32,000 employees including 11,000 researchers). CNRS focuses on and carries out all research with the possibility of advancing knowledge and bringing social, cultural, and economic benefits to society. With 17 Nobel laureates and 11 Fields medals, the CNRS has a long tradition of excellence. It remains the primary producer of scientific publications in Europe (SCImago ranking).

With active partnerships with many Southern African countries, including Madagascar, Namibia and Zimbabwe, the CNRS accounts for roughly half of French scientific cooperation in South Africa. More than 100 CNRS laboratories have co-published with South African scientists over the past 3 years in a wide range of scientific fields.

  • CNRS cooperation in Africa at a glance:

CNRS coop in Africa









CNRS around the world








CIRAD in Southern Africa

Cirad is the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions. Its activities encompass life sciences, social sciences and engineering sciences, applied to agriculture, the environment and territorial management.

In South Africa, CIRAD is working on governance, the dynamics of animal diseases and pests insects of crops. The University of Pretoria, the University of Western Cape and the University of Stellenbosch host scientists from Cirad.

Scientists excavating the Heuningneskrans site.

© IRD/CNRS - Cécile Bégard

Scientists excavating the Heuningneskrans site.

Areas of responsibility

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Areas of responsibility of the joint office based in Pretoria.

The IRD-CNRS-Cirad joint office covers several countries for each of the 3 scientific institutions :

  • IRD: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
  • CNRS: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
  • Cirad: South Africa

For IRD, our joint office is also part of the regional network Southern Africa, Eastern Africa and Indian Ocean, where IRD also has offices for sister representations in Kenya, La Réunion, Madagascar and the Seychelles.


© IRD - Jean-Yves Meunier


Our researchers

Researchers posted in Southern Africa (appointments)

  • Laurent Vidal - IRD

    Laurent Vidal is an anthropologist and director of research at IRD, a member of UMR SESSTIM. For almost 40 years, he has worked in Africa (Niger, Côte d'Ivoire, Cameroon, Senegal) on health issues (AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, maternal health) and on the epistemology of social sciences in development contexts. His work has been the subject of some twenty books, nearly 60 articles and several dozen book chapters. In the early 2000s, he headed IRD's social science center in Abidjan, then IRD's social science department in Marseille. He was also a member of IRD's "Human and Social Sciences" sectoral scientific commission, as well as Sidaction's scientific council. He was IRD's representative in Senegal from January 2015 to December 2018 (where he was made a Chevalier de l'ordre national du Lion), then the Institute's representative in Mali until 2023, and is currently Director of the joint IRD/CNRS/CIRAD office in Pretoria, South Africa.

  • Dr Florian Liégeois - IRD

    Harare, Zimbabwe

    Florian Liégeois is a researcher for the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development. He currently works at the research unit Infectious Diseases and Vectors: Ecology, Genetics, Evolution and Control (MIVEGEC). Before joining the MIGEVEC team in 2015, Florian worked for the TransVIHMI research unit (1994-2015) on genetic diversity of HIV and the emergence of resistance to antiretroviral on the one hand, and on the HIV origins and the diversity and history of simian immunodeficiency virus on the other hand.

    Florian conducts research in virology, more particularly on emerging viruses and on viral communities among wild animals. He focuses on micromammals, such as rodents and bats. He is currently leading the project PACMAN (after having led its first phase: CAZCOM), which is dedicated to capacity-building for a better control on zoonotic and animal diseases in Zimbabwe.

    Florian's research has led him to Senegal, Cameroon and Gabon, and today to Mozambique and Zimbabwe.

  • Dr Fanny Chabrol - IRD

    Cape Town, South Africa

    Fanny Chabrol is a sociologist and anthropologist at the IRD.

    Her research mainly focuses on infectious diseases and access to healthcare in public hospitals in Africa and the politics of health system reform.

    Her PhD was conducted on Botswana politics of access to antiretroviral medication for HIV/AIDS. She has then worked on the viral hepatitis epidemic in Cameroon. She has coordinated an ANR project on Africa-China health cooperation and a multi-country research program on Universal Health Coverage in the Sahelian region.

    Since September 2022 she is posted at HUMA (Institute for Humanities in Africa), at the University of Cape Town. Among other activities she will contribute to the development of the project #FutureHospitals : 4IR and the ethics of care in Africawhich aims at analyzing the ethical quandaries in relation to increasing digitalization and automation of healthcare in the continent. 

    More generally, she’s interested in the political economy of health, global health and health infrastructures in Africa and beyond, in the present and the future.

  • Dr Hervé Fritz – CNRS

    George, South Africa

    Senior CNRS researcher since 1998, Hervé is also the Director of the Hwange Long-Term Socio-Ecological Research site (Zimbabwe) and scientific co-coordinator of the Franco-Zimbabwean platform "Production and Conservation in Partnership". Currently in South Africa as Associate Researcher at the Sustainability Research Unit, at Nelson Mandela University (George Campus), he continues his activities in Zimbabwe and in the sub-region, and leads the CNRS-NMMU International Research Laboratory REHABS.

    Since his PhD in ecology, his research work has combined simultaneous approaches at the level of individuals and animal communities, in particular by an explicit coupling between the behavior and functioning of populations. More recently, he integrated trophic relationships and the direct and indirect effects of predation (natural and human), and finally developed a conceptual framework based on trophic networks including humans and their activities. This last stage of maturation of the research work led him to actively develop an interdisciplinary research within the framework of the analysis of the functioning of the socio-ecological systems.

    Over the past 10 years, he has developed numerous collaborations in South Africa, in particular with the University of Cape Town, Pretoria, Wits and KwaZulu-Natal, as well as with the SAEON for the observatory part and SANParks for the part conservation of his scientific activity.

  • Dr Virginie Rougeron - CNRS

    George, Afrique du Sud

    Virginie Rougeron is a research permanent staff of the CNRS since 2015. As an evolutionary ecologist and geneticist, she studied the evolutionary history and adaptation of organisms, with a principal focus on human and wildlife pathogens.

    She has been part of a research team that discovered several African great apes’ species and studied their origin, evolution and adaptation to different hosts (populations and species). In 2020, the CNRS awarded her the bronze medal for the research she led.

    In December 2021, she joined the IRL REHABS to develop research projects on the evolutionary genetic adaptation of wild animals to the urbanization process. Based on her experience, she will also co-implement a molecular genetic laboratory at Nelson Mandela University.

  • Dr Damien Jourdain - Cirad

    Pretoria, South Africa

    Damien Jourdain is a researcher at CIRAD at the UMR "Water Management, Uses, Actors" (G-EAU). He is an agricultural engineer and holds a PhD in Agricultural, Food and Rural Development Economics from the University of Montpellier. He is a senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn), University of Pretoria since September 2017. His research program focuses on:

    • the economic value of hydro-systems
    • the impacts of water allocation policies (efficiency, equity) and the potential implications for the food and energy sectors
    • the economic and institutional instruments leading to a reduction in water consumption by different sectors.

    He co-leads the Typoclim project, dedicated to farmers' adaptation strategies facing climate change.

    Previously, he was seconded to the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) in Thailand (2010-17), the Social Sciences Division of the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in Vietnam (2006-10), the International Center for the Improvement of (CIMMYT) in Mexico (1997-2002), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) in Thailand (1991-1995).

  • Dr Eve Miguel - IRD

    Hwange, Zimbabwe

    Eve Miguel is a researcher in ecology and epidemiology at IRD. Her research is mainly focused on pathogen spill over at the wild / domestic / human interface. She is particularly interested on animal / human behaviours which lead to disease epidemics. She is trying to depict spatial interactions among species and seasonal patterns to understand the epidemiology of the disease.

    Since October 2017, she is a permanent researcher at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development in the MIVEGEC laboratory and in the SHAPE team (Hosts Jumping, Pathogen Adaptation and Emergence). She is currently coordinating the project HUM-ANI in the District of Hwange.

    Diseases of particular interest for her include: Foot and Mouth Disease, bovine Tuberculosis, MERS- Coronavirus, Tick diseases (Theileriosis), Malaria, Rift Valley fever. Eve is also interested in human well-being and animal conservation in southern countries and in scientific mediation in particularly to young people.

  • Dr Isabelle Robene - Cirad

    Stellenbosch, South Africa

    Isabelle Robene obtained a PhD in plant pathology in 1993. She is a researcher at Cirad in Reunion Island since 2000. Her work is devoted to the development of molecular tools for the diagnosis of bacterial and viral plant diseases.

    In South Africa she will join the team of Prof. Altus Viljoen, Department of Plant Pathology at Stellenbosch University for two years, as part of a Marie Skłodowska-Curie individual fellowship.

    The INDICANTS project (INnovative DIagnostiCs for BANana paThogens Surveillance) aims to develop innovative point-of-care diagnostics to detect four major vascular diseases of banana.

  • Dr Franck Prugnolle - CNRS

    George, South Africa

    Franck Prugnolle is a Senior Researcher at the CNRS. He is an evolutionary biologist, geneticist and wildlife disease ecologist, mostly interested in understanding the evolution of host / parasite interactions.

    He has joined the IRL REHABS based in George (Nelson Mandela University) to develop a research on pathogens transfer occurring at the interface of humans/domestic and wild animals and the consequences of these transfers on the conservation of wild ecosystems.

    He is particularly interested in developing non-invasive techniques to obtain information regarding infections from wild animals that often constitute a black box in the understanding of the circulation of pathogens within these interfaces. He will participate to the development of a genetic laboratory for the IRL REHABS at Nelson Mandela University. 

  • Dr Maria Darias - IRD


    Cape Town, South Africa

    Maria Darias is a researcher at IRD since 2011. She works in the Joint Research Unit Marine Biodiversity, Exploitation and Conservation (MARBEC), where she conducts research on sustainable aquaculture, with a focus on nutrition-sensitive aquaculture.

    Maria conducts research on aquatic animal physiology and nutrition, especially during early life stages, and the nutritional value of aquatic foods. Since August 2021, she is based at the Marine Research Aquarium of the South-African Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment in Cape Town.

    She is currently co-leading the African Interdisciplinary Laboratory in Sustainable and Nutrition-Sensitive Marine Aquaculture (LIMAQUA), which aims to develop an interdisciplinary research and training programme based on the principles of sustainability science to address the nutritional and sustainability challenges of marine aquaculture in the region.

    She is also the coordinator of the Research Network for Sustainable Marine Aquaculture in Africa (AfriMAQUA), which brings together researchers from South Africa, Namibia, Mauritius, Tanzania, Kenya, Senegal, Côte d'Ivoire and France.

  • Arlène Alpha - CIRAD

    Arlène Alpha is a CIRAD researcher working on the analysis of public policies for food and nutritional security, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa. After completing her PhD in political economy, she worked for 12 years in NGOs as an expert in agriculture and food security. Since 2012 at CIRAD, she has specialized in analyzing policy-making processes related to food security, nutrition, organic farming and agroecology. From 2014 to 2019, she was involved in research projects in Burkina Faso focusing on issues such as cross-sectoral coordination between agriculture and health to improve dietary diversity, and putting agroecology on the political agenda. She has been based in South Africa since October 2022, hosted by the Centre of Excellence on Food Security at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), and is interested in policies to support transformations in food systems that address multiple forms of malnutrition.

  • Annael Le Pouellenec - IFAS Recherche


Researchers with frequent missions in Southern Africa

  • Dr Matthieu Rey - CNRS / IFAS

    Mattheu Rey

    Matthieu Rey is a Senior Researcher at IREMAM and a CNRS researcher specialized in Middle-Eastern contemporary history, with a special focus on Syria’s and Iraq’s political systems. He is also an Associate Researcher at the Collège de France and Wits History Workshop. After carrying out a thesis about Syrian and Iraqi parliamentary systems in the 1950s, and conducting a long fieldwork in Syria and the Middle East from 2009 to 2013, he extended his research to other topics within the Middle East Institute in Singapore, and then as an Associate Professor at the Collège de France. His research mostly focused on the state-building and policy-making in the contemporary Middle East.

    His focus ranged from the Cold War in the Arab world to the Syrian crisis, including various transverse subjects such as development policies. In 2018, Matthieu Rey published a monography on contemporary Syria (19th-21th century).

    He then became Associated Researcher at IFAS-Research and the Wits History Workshop (University of the Witwatersrand). In South Africa, Matthieu Rey is looking to deepen his study of State construction, through a comparative approach between the Middle-East and Africa. His research is supported by IFAS-Research through an International Mobility grant (CNRS). Ultimately, Matthieu Rey aims to develop a network of researchers interested in the notion of the polity, as well as to create bridges between the North and the South of Africa around a common research on this topic.

  • Dr Eric Etter - Cirad

    Eric Etter

    Veterinary epidemiologist at CIRAD since 2003, he was assigned to Senegal for 4 years and to Zimbabwe for 4 years before arriving in South Africa in 2014. Within the team ASTRE, he works in the Epidemiology team of the Department of Production Animals Studies of the Faculty of Veterinary Sciences of the University of Pretoria in connection with other departments of the faculty. He also collaborates with the ARC-OVI and the Veterinary Services (DAFF) in South Africa.

    In epidemiology he developed his expertise in the field of modeling and analysis of health risks. His work is divided into three areas: research with funding through international projects, setting up and monitoring of research protocols and the exploitation of results through publications and conferences. The second part concerns teaching and supervision of postgraduate students. Finally, he carries out expert missions for international organizations such as FAO and EU.

    His research interests are animal disease dynamics, targeting zoonoses (bovine tuberculosis, brucellosis, Rift Valley fever, avian influenza), as well as several vector-borne diseases (bluetongue, West Nile, African horse sickness ... ) and also certain diseases with high economic impact, such as foot-and-mouth disease or African swine fever.

  • Dr Robin Bourgeois - Cirad

    Robin Bourgeois

    Engineer-agronomist, doctor in economics and sociology, agricultural economist and futurist, Robin Bourgeois is researcher at CIRAD with the team "Actors, Resources and Territories in Development" - ART-Dev. Currently senior researcher at the Center for the Study of Governance Innovation, University of Pretoria, his current research focuses on:

    • Transforming thinking and behavior through long-term integration, based on a trans-disciplinary exploration of the future (futures) associated with co-elaboration processes starting from the local scale (focus on the territory)
    • Research on the governance of the future and the future of governance based on a re-reading of the notion of public policy by the introduction of anticipatory governance (as an innovative form of governance) and of its role in rural reconstructions (reconstruction of territories, reconstruction of the very notion of rural).
  • Dr Serena Illig - IRD

    Serena Illig

    Serena is an IRD researcher at the Laboratoire d’Études en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiale (LEGOS UMR - IRD, CNRS, CNES and Université Paul Sabatier) in Toulouse (France). She has been assigned to the Department of Oceanography at the University of Cape Town (UCT) within the LMI ICEMASA.

    Her research focuses on the phenology of southern hemisphere upwellings, along the coasts of Peru and Chile and along the coasts of Angola and Namibia in northern Benguela in the present Humboldt system.

    She is a specialist in oceanographic dynamics in the equatorial region and in atmosphere-ocean interactions at regional and ocean basin scales. Her methodology is based on inter-comparative analysis of observations (in situ and satellite) and a combination of simple (linear) and complex (high resolution regional coupled models) models.

  • Dr Francis Marsac - IRD

    Francis Marsac

    Director of the IRD representation in the Seychelles and senior researcher at IRD (UMR MARBEC), Francis Marsac is also Director of the LMI ICEMASA, whose aim is to promote research and training activities on themes related to global change and its impact on climate and marine ecosystems in southern Africa (from Angola to the Mozambique Channel), the tropical Indian Ocean and the sub-Antarctic zone.

    Francis Marsac works more particularly on:

    • Tuna fisheries in the Indian Ocean, their impact on deep sea ecosystems and how fisheries interact with the physical and biogeochemical environment and its variations
    • Oceanic eddies and their consequences on the distribution of phytoplankton and large marine predators
  • Dr Vincent Chaplot - IRD

    Vincent Chaplot

    Vincent Chaplot is an IRD senior researcher at Laboratoire d’océanographie et du climat (LOCEAN). He is specialized in soil water erosion. His project in South Africa, CW-FARM, aims to grow carbon-storing and water-efficient varieties for climate change mitigation and food security.

  • Dr Steven Herbette - IRD

    Steven Herbette

    Steven Herbette is a lecturer at the Université de Bretagne Occidentale, specialized in physical oceanography (observation and modeling). He carries out his research in the Physical and Space Oceanography Laboratory (LOPS). After a PhD in physical oceanography in 2003, he was posted to Cape Town, South Africa, by IRD, between 2011 and 2014.

    His research is devoted to current-topography interactions, ocean turbulence, the Benguela system, and to the Needle Current in the South West Indian Ocean, via regional ocean modelling and in situ observations.

    He is now a research associate at the University of Cape Town and coordinator of a student exchange program between UCT, NMU and UBO.

    In South Africa, Steven is part of the LMI ICEMASA, which works on marine and atmospheric sciences through a research program based on a scientific plan and on a program encouraging student mobility. 

  • Dr Stéphanie Duvail - IRD

    Stéphanie Duvail

    Stéphanie Duvail is a geographer, research fellow at IRD, member of the UMR PALOC "Local heritage, environment and globalization".

    Her research focuses on water management in Africa with a particular interest in floodplains and deltas. She has been interested in the effects of dams on ecosystems and rural economies located downstream of the structures, the possibilities of producing artificial floods to minimize the impacts of changes in hydrodynamics and, more generally, the sharing of water and resources in the catchment and the associated land tenure and governance aspects. Her research has been conducted in multidisciplinary teams and uses participatory mechanisms.

    Her thesis focused on a wetland restoration project in Mauritania (Diawling National Park). From 2003 to 2008, she worked in Tanzania in the lower Rufiji valley (notably on the implementation of a participatory environmental observatory). From 2008 to 2011, she coordinated a "Water and Territories" project in the Tana delta in Kenya and in the Rufiji delta in Tanzania, on the links between floods and resource use, extended in a second phase to a study of land grabbing in these same deltas. She co-coordinates the program DiDEM "Dialogue between science and decision-makers for an integrated management of marine and coastal environments" and since 2018, the GDRI-Sud DELTAS "Environmental and social dynamics of Indian Ocean deltas".

    Since September 2018, she is assigned at Eduardo Mondlane University in Mozambique, where she develops with her academic partners research on the lower Limpopo, Incomati valleys on transformations in water governance, plastic pollution, and biodiversity conservation policies. She is also a correspondent of the JEAI ITANGO-MOZ.

  • Dr Bruno Losch - Cirad

    Bruno Losch

    Bruno Losch is a researcher in political economy and senior scientist at CIRAD, in the ArtDev team.

    He holds a master's degree in geography and a Ph.D. in economics. He has published numerous books and articles in rural studies, family agriculture, public policy and the political economy of development.

    He served at the World Bank between 2005 and 2011, where he led the RuralStruc program on structural change and rural transformation - a joint initiative of the World Bank, IFAD and French aid. Previously he joined the University of California in Berkeley as a visiting researcher and was in charge of CIRAD's Agricultural Family Program (1998-2002).

    Until his assignment in South Africa, he was a member of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM). In South Africa, until August 2022, he was co-director of the Center for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn), based at the University of the Western Cape.

Pretoria, administrative capital of South Africa.

© IRD/CNRS - Cécile Bégard

Pretoria, administrative capital of South Africa.


Office team: Candice Anderes - Jean-Pascal Torreton - Dominique Vinckenbosch


Head of the IRD-CNRS-Cirad joint office in Southern Africa

Laurent Vidal, Director


Candice Anderes, Assistant to the representative and Office Administrator



Contact us

Email: afrique-du-sud@ird.fr

  • Tel: + 27 (0) 12 844 0117 / 0118
  • Cell: + 27 (0) 82 600 5682
Physical address

Enterprise Building,
Mark Shuttleworth Street,

The Innovation Hub
087 Pretoria
South Africa

Postal address

CNRS-IRD Joint Office for Southern Africa
Postnet Glenfair Suite 485
Private Bag X025
Lynnwood Ridge
0040 Pretoria - South Africa

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