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).
In a nutshell
The 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.
The 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.
CIRAD in South Africa
Cirad is the French agricultural research and international cooperation organization working for the sustainable development of tropical and Mediterranean regions. Its activities concern the 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.
Areas of responsibility
The joint IRD-CNRS-Cirad office covers different zones:
- IRD: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique
- CNRS: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, eSwatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
- Cirad: South Africa
Learn more about Cirad regional office for Southern Africa.
Scientists posted in Southern Africa
Dr Jean-Pascal Torréton – IRD
Pretoria, South Africa
Jean-Pascal TORRETON is senior scientist at the French Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD). His major qualifications include a PhD in biochemistry and microbiology from Aix-Marseille University in 1991, and an accreditation to supervise research (HDR in French) in integrative biology from Montpellier University in 1999. He heads the IRD-CNRS-Cirad joint office in South Africa since August 2017.
Specialized in marine microbial ecology, his research focused on the role of heterotrophic bacterioplankton on the fate of marine ecosystems under anthropogenic pressures such as nutrient enrichments, metal contaminations and black carbon release. This research was performed within multidisciplinary projects led in a wide range of marine ecosystems such as coastal lagoons of West Africa, Equatorial Atlantic Ocean, South West Pacific Ocean, Tuamotu atoll lagoons, New Caledonian lagoon, northern coastal waters of Vietnam and has been presented in more than 50 publications and 70 communications in symposia.
He has taught marine microbial ecology and marine biogeochemical cycles of carbon and nitrogen at the University of French Polynesia, the University of the South Pacific in Suva (Fiji), and the University of Science and Technology of Hanoi (Vietnam).
Member of various scientific commissions and scientific councils, he has participated in numerous international juries for the recruitment of scientists, the evaluation of research projects and oceanographic campaigns, as much as in peer reviews for more than 15 international journals.
Dr Stéphanie Duvail - IRD
Dr. Stéphanie Duvail is a Geographer with the IRD, member of the UMR PALOC "Local Heritage, Environment and Globalization". Her research deals primarily with water and wetland management in Africa, with a focus on floodplains and deltas. She developed research on the impact of large dams on the ecosystems and livelihoods of coastal wetlands and their potential restoration through managed flood releases. She analyses the impact of the changing hydrodynamics on the African deltas and floodplains, with a specific interest on the natural resource access and sharing, on the associated land tenure and public policy issues. She has experience with multi-disciplinary and participatory research.
The focus of her PhD was on a wetland restoration project in Mauritania (Diawling National Park). From 2003 to 2008, she worked in Tanzania in the Lower Rufiji floodplain for the implementation of a participatory observatory of the environment. From 2008 to 2011, she coordinated a “Land and Water” project, in the Tana delta (Kenya) and Rufiji delta (Tanzania) on the link between floods and livelihoods, extended into a second phase (2011-2014) on the impacts of large scale agro-fuel projects. She coordinates the DiDEM project (Dialogue between science and decision-makers for an integrated management of marine and coastal environments, and since 2018, the GDRI-Sud DELTAS (Deltas Environmental Long-Term Dynamics and Associated Scenarios. Since September 2018, she is based at the University Eduardo Mondlane in Mozambique, where she develops, with her colleagues, research on the Limpopo and Incomati floodplains (on the water governance transformations and on the plastic pollution) and in the North of the country (Quirimbas region) studies on the link watershed / coastal zone.
Dr Florian Liégeois - IRD
Florian Liegeois 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). Florian does 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 co-leads the CAZCOM project dedicated to capacity-building for a better control on zoonotic and animal diseases in Zimbabwe.
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 research led him in Senegal, Cameroon and Gabon, and today in Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
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 Sophie Dulucq – CNRS / IFAS
Johannesburg, South Africa
Professor of contemporary history at Toulouse University - Jean Jaurès within the FRAMESPA research unit (France, Americas, Spain - Societies, powers, actors), Sophie Dulucq is a specialist in sub-Saharan Africa during the colonial era. After work initially oriented towards urban history, her research has focused in recent years on cultural history in colonial situations (production of Africanist knowledge and historiography, cultural policies, birth of tourism ...). She is currently working on anthropophagy in colonial Africa.
Sophie is the current director of IFAS-Research.
Dr Matthieu Rey - CNRS / IFAS
Johannesburg, South Africa
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 Chloé Buire – CNRS / IFAS
CNRS Geographer in the “Les Afriques dans le Monde” (LAM) laboratory since 2016, Chloé Buire is interested in urban issues in South Africa and Angola. She advocates for collaborative research with local actors.
Chloé Buire is assigned for 2 years at IFAS-Research in Luanda (Angola) since September 2019.
Her research project aims to document the construction of new political subjectivities in Angola and South Africa in contexts where yesterday's miracle (post-war economic boom in one case, Mandela era in the other) hangs over the political aspirations of tomorrow (political flammability of the so-called “born frees” generation in South Africa). This project is a continuation of ethnographic work started seven years ago in Luanda and twelve years ago in Cape Town. It will be a question of understanding from the inside how different citizen collectives (NGOs, local associations, but also more informal groups and individual initiatives of the social entrepreneurship type) position themselves in the socio-political transformations underway.
Dr Eric Etter – Cirad
Pretoria, South Africa
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
Pretoria, South Africa
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 Bruno Losch – Cirad
Cape Town, South Africa
Bruno Losch is a researcher in political economy, currently co-director of the Center for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn), based at the University of the Western Cape (South Africa), and senior scientist at CIRAD, in the ArtDev team.
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).
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.
Until his assignment in South Africa, he was a member of the Scientific and Technical Committee of the French Global Environment Facility (FFEM).
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).
Representative of the IRD-CNRS-Cirad office for Southern Africa
Jean-Pascal Torréton, director
Candice Anderes, Assistant to the representative and office administrator
Cécile Bégard, Communication officer
- Tel: + 27 (0) 12 844 0117 / 0118
- Cell: + 27 (0) 82 600 5682
Mark Shuttleworth Street,
The Innovation Hub
CNRS-IRD Joint Office for Southern Africa
Postnet Glenfair Suite 485
Private Bag X025
0040 Pretoria - South Africa