Updated 10/08/22

In Thailand, the IRD focuses its research projects on three priorities that address the major challenges of sustainable development: environment, health and society.

With an interdisciplinary perspective, these research projects rely on joint research units and various partnership instruments offered by the IRD. They aim to strengthen South-North scientific cooperation and facilitate exchanges between teams working on sustainability science at the international level.

The IRD Representation in Thailand deploys scientific research around the following themes:

  • Environment : the study of ecosystems, natural resources and the impact of human activities
  • Health : the study of infectious, vector-borne and chronic diseases affecting the Thai population
  • Societies : the study of urban dynamics, governance and social aspects of environmental issues
Suivi de la floraison des caféiers, Montpellier

© Patrick Landmann

Main research projects

Health research projects

  • BioVectrol: Biology and control of mosquitoes, vectors of pathogenic agents in Thailand (2004-2024)

    Control of vector-borne diseases is a public health priority in Thailand, especially the control of malaria, dengue fever and Japanese Encephalitis (JE). These diseases have one thing in common, the transmission of their pathogens (parasites or viruses) necessarily passes through a mosquito vector. These mosquitoes belong to different genera, Anopheles, Aedes and Culex, respectively responsible for the transmission of the diseases cited above. Since there is either no vaccine available for these diseases or the vaccine has low efficacy (JE), vector control is the most effective approach for their control. However, before implementing appropriate vector control strategies, a good understanding of the entomo-epidemiological context is necessary.

     

    Professeur Theeraphap et Professeure Manguin en train de collecter des larves d'Anopheles © Dr Jinrapa Pothikasikorn (Mahidol Univ)
    Professor Theeraphap and Professor Manguin collecting Anopheles larvae © Dr Jinrapa Pothikasikorn (Mahidol Univ)

     

    Thus, the collaboration over the past 15 years with the Medical Entomology Team of Kasetsart University (KU) has allowed us to work on 6 lines of research ranging from molecular species identification to vector control, along with the study of their vectorial capacity, behaviour and geographic distribution (see diagram). This work is being developed more widely within an Asian network (Cambodia, China, Indonesia), whose epicentre is Thailand, which has provided relevant and useful data to local and national decision-makers for better management of vector-borne diseases.

     

    IRD research unit involved: UMR HSM - HydroSciences Montpellier (IRD/CNRS/University of Montpellier/Mines-Télécom School/The Carnot Network)

    Partners: Faculty of Agriculture, Kasetsart University (KU) & Faculty of Science, Mahidol University (MU)

    Funding: 

    • European & French: MALVECASIA European Project (2002-06), PHC Siam (2009-10 et 2015-16), Programme Bio-Asie (2013-15), JEAI BioVecThai (2012-15), Erasmus Mundus Scholarships (2012-14) et Panacea (2013-14), ARTS Biomérieux/IRD (2014-2017)
    • Thai: Thai Research Fund (TRF), Golden Royal Jubilee scholarships, International Research Network (IRN)

     

    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Contacts: Sylvie Manguin

    Theeraphap Chareonviriyaphap

     

    Published articles
    • Tainchum K, Dupont C, Chareonviriyaphap T, Jumas-Bilak E, Bangs MJ, Manguin S. 2020. Bacterial Microbiome in Wild-Caught Anopheles Mosquitoes in Western Thailand. Front Microbiol. 2020;11:965. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.00965
    • Nararak J, Giorgio CD, Sukkanon C, Mahiou-Leddet V, Ollivier E, Manguin S, Chareonviriyaphap T. 2020. Excito-repellency and biological safety of β-caryophyllene oxide against Aedes albopictus and Anopheles dirus (Diptera: Culicidae). Acta Trop. 2020;210:105556.   DOI: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2020.105556
    • Sumarnrote A, Overgaard H J,Vincent Corbel V, Thanispong K, Chareonviriyaphap T,  Manguin S. 2020. Species diversity and insecticide resistance within the Anopheles hyrcanus group in Ubon Ratchathani Province, Thailand. Parasites Vectors. (2020) 13:525.   DOI: 10.1186/s13071-020-04389-4
    • Udom C, Thanispong K, Manguin S, Chareonviriyaphap T, Fungfuang W. 2021. Trophic Behavior and Species Diversity of the Anopheles barbirostris Complex (Diptera: Culicidae) in Thailand. Journal of Medical Entomology. 58(6), 2021, 2376–2384.    DOI: 10.1093/jme/tjab067
  • DisCoVer: Disentangling the SARS-CoV2 Origins : Emergence & Reservoir (2020-2022)

    Preliminary investigations on available samples collected in 2013 gave a mean nucleotide identity of 96% with the genome of a Sarbecovirus (genus Betacoronavirus) of a Rhinolophidae bat specimen. Despite these announcements, the most recent and direct ancestor of the virus responsible for the Covid-19 pandemic is yet to be discovered and the natural history of its emergence remains to be elucidated. This brings both the WHO and the French National Agency for Research (ANR) to list the quest for the reservoir and the natural history of the emergence as a top priority.

    DisCoVER aims at answering the question of the origin of SARS-CoV by bringing together an interdisciplinary team of experts in the field from the Caen University, IRD, CNRS, Kasetsart University, Mahidol University and Center of Infectiology Lao Christophe Mérieux. The main objective of the project is to track the origin of SARS-CoV2 in natural settings sharing biogeographical and socio-ecological features with South-Western China (northern regions of Thailand and Lao PDR). The aim is to characterize the SARS-CoV2 natural cycle and the modalities of its emergence in humans. The zoonotic/emergence risk of SARS-CoV2-related Sarbecovirus members infecting wild animals in northern Southeast Asia will be estimated using a model that will integrate phylodynamic data/analyses with socio-ecological factors to develop real strategies for anticipation and prevention of future emergence.

     

    IRD research unit involved: UMR MIVEGEC (IRD/CNRS/University of Montpellier)

    Partners : Caen Normandie University-Caen University Hospital Center, Faculty of Veterinary Technology, Kasertsart University & Mahidol University

    Thai researcher partners: Kasetsart university: Sathaporn Jittapalapong PhD and Dean of the Faculty of Veterinary Technology, Anamika Kritiyakan PhD, Chuanphot Thinphovong PhD

    IRD researchers involved in the project: Éric Deharo (IRD Representative in Laos), Sabrina Locatelli, Rodolphe Hamel, Emmanuel Paradis

    Funding: ANR Flash funding call COVID-19

     

    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Contact: 

  • INGENIOUS : Emerging avian virus screening in Southeast Asia (2020-2022)

    Located in the heart of South-East Asia, Thailand is largely covered with forests and rural areas interspersed with urbanized areas and thus offers a suitable study site to assess factors involved in mosquito-borne virus emergence and circulation. Dengue virus (DENV) and Japanese Encephalitis virus (JEV) are actively circulating in the country as well as less known mosquito-borne flaviviruses, such as the Tembusu virus (TMUV) which was recently described as a potential zoonotic emerging virus.

     

    Mise en place  d’un piège pour la capture des moustiques et la collecte de leurs excretas, le long d’un bâtiment d’élevage, en collaboration avec le Dr. Vargas de l'Université de Mahidol © Rodolphe Hamel
    Establishment of a trap for the capture of mosquitoes and the collection of their excreta, along a farm building, in collaboration with Dr. Vargas of the University of Mahidol © Rodolphe Hamel

     

    This research project aims to investigate the presence of potential emerging MBVs associated with birds, in and nearby domestic poultry farms in rural and urban areas, with a specific focus on TMUV. Paired with screenings of animal samples, we will use an innovative strategy, called molecular xenomonitorring, based on virus detection on trapped mosquito excreta using molecular techniques. 3D-printing will be used to modify commercial mosquito trap in order to screen the presence of MBVs at low cost on a large scale. All investigation will be conducted in close collaboration with Thai researcher partners located in different places in Thailand.

     

    Élevage de canard dans la périphérie de Bangkok, province de Nakhon Pathom © Rodolphe Hamel
    Duck farm in the outskirts of Bangkok, Nakhon Pathom province © Rodolphe Hamel

     

    This project can bring a new perspective on bird-associated MBV ecology in Asia and identify factors responsible for the spillover of these viruses in the human population. We expect that results obtained in this exploratory project will provide new information on the bio-diversities and human activities impact on mosquito-borne viruses in Thailand and will also supplement ecological data obtained through the program ANR “FutureHealthSEA” led by Dr Morand.

     

    IRD research units involved: UMR MIVEGEC (IRD/CNRS/University of Montpellier), UMR ISEM (IRD/CNRS/CIRAD/University of Montpellier/PSL University/INRAP)

    Partners : 

    • Dr. Jiraporn Jaroenpool, Medical Technology Department, Walaïlak University
    • Dr. Ronald Vargas, Medical Entomology Department, Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University
    • Dr. Albin Fontaine, Parasitology & Entomology Unit, Armed Forces Biomedical Research Institute (IRBA)

    Funding: Labex CEMEB (University of Montpellier)


    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Contact: Rodolphe Hamel

  • iTAP program: Eliminating mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus (2012-2022)

    Hepatitis B virus infects the liver and causes liver damage with a risk of fibrosis, cirrhosis and liver cancer in adulthood. Perinatal transmission is the number one source of new infections worldwide. Stopping this transmission is needed to eliminate hepatitis B infections, and this is therefore a priority for the CMU-IRD collaboration. 

    In a first clinical trial, iTAP-1, women with HBV infection took tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) once a day from 28 weeks’ pregnancy until 2 months postpartum. None of their infants were infected. The tolerance of TDF was excellent for the mothers and for the infants. In this clinical trial, all infants received both hepatitis B vaccine and immune globulin. However, the price of immunoglobulin is high and it is very difficult to maintain stocks outside of important health centers.

    A second trial, iTAP-2, ongoing, aims at determining whether immune globulin is needed when mothers receive TDF as in iTAP-1. The results of this study are expected in Q2-2022.

    More details:

     

    IRD research unit involved: UMR MIVEGEC (IRD/CNRS/University of Montpellier)

    Partners: Chiang Mai University

    Funding: US National Institute of Child Health and Human Development - NIH 5R01HD092527

     

    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Contact: Gonzague Jourdain

  • NAPNEUNG: optimising HIV testing, 2015-2019 (first phase), 2019-2022 (second phase)

    The number of HIV-infected people who know their HIV status and of those uninfected but at high risk of infection using appropriate prevention methods is still far too low to defeat the epidemic. The number of HIV-infected people who know their HIV status and of those uninfected but at high risk of infection using appropriate prevention methods is still far too low to defeat the epidemic. Effective interventions do exist and are affordable. Insufficient use of testing and prevention services is, therefore, a major problem. Napneung is an interventional research programme developed by the CMU-IRD collaboration and aimed at evaluating strategies to optimise the use of these services.

    During Napneung's first phase, awareness-raising methods targeting people at risk were developed (social media, field interventions). More than 7,000 screening sessions were carried out. In addition, retention strategies in screening and prevention services for people at high risk of HIV infection were evaluated using clinical research methods such as randomised controlled trials. During Napneung's first phase, awareness-raising methods targeting people at risk were developed (social media, field interventions). More than 7,000 screening sessions were carried out. In addition, retention strategies in screening and prevention services for people at high risk of HIV infection were evaluated using clinical research methods such as randomised controlled trials. This showed that computer-assisted counselling is well received and reduces the time spent on counselling without reducing the proportion of users who subsequently come for re-testing, the educational value of the counselling, or the likelihood of risky sexual behaviour. Furthermore, interventions as simple, easy to implement and affordable as booking an appointment and sending a reminder one week in advance can significantly increase follow-up for people at high risk of infection.

    The second phase - currently ongoing - aims at studying the requirements for implementing and integrating widespread access to quality HIV prevention and testing services into the existing health system in medium-sized cities in Thailand. The project is evaluating the use of supervised self-tests, a computer-based counselling programme and an online appointment system. All users are also tested for syphilis and viral hepatitis B and C, and for those at risk for other STIs. Sub-studies are dedicated to these three infections.

     

    IRD research unit involved: UMR MIVEGEC (IRD/CNRS/University of Montpellier)

    Partners: Chiang Mai University, Phayao University, Ministry of Public Health in Thailand, public hospitals in the provinces of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phayao and Lampang, support associations for people affected by HIV or viral hepatitis.

    Funding:

    • First phase: Initiative 5%, Expertise France (14SANIN204). Amount: 632,705.09 €.
    • Second phase: Initiative 5%, Expertise France (18SANIN210). Amount : 1,384,938.03 €.

     

    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Contacts: Gonzague JourdainNicolas Salvadori

    Links: 
    Website Napneung
    Facebook Napneung
    ClinicalTrials.gov : First phase, Second phase

     

    Last published articles:

  • QUALI-DEC: QUALIty DECision-making by women and providers for appropriate use of caesarean section (2020-2025)

    Overuse of caesarean section (C-section) has adverse consequences on maternal and child health. It also deviates essential resources worldwide and hinders universal access to healthcare services. QUALI-DEC project aims at developing and evaluating a strategy to implement non-clinical interventions and reduce unnecessary C-sections in Argentina, Burkina Faso, Thailand and Vietnam.

    This strategy combines four active ingredients:

    • Opinion leaders to implement evidence-based clinical guidelines
    • Caesarean audits and feedback to help providersidentify potentially avoidable C-sections
    • A decision-analysis tool to empower women for better decision-making on mode of delivery
    • The implementation of WHO recommendations on companionship during labour to support women during vaginal birth

    The project promotes the engagement of stakeholders at all levels (policymakers, health providers and end-users i.e. women) from the very start of the project to implement intervention components, which take into account the local context and to ensure a maximisation of the expected impacts. To improve the quality of implementation and use of evidence, knowledge transfer activities will be implemented.The evaluation will examine physical and psycho-social effects of the strategy and will highlight the interdependent relationship between maternal and child outcomes related to overuse of C-section. Particular attention will be given to equity issues and gender considerations in the interpretation of results.

    Overall, our project will improve appropriate use of C-sections and will address several SDG targets including
    improving maternal and neonatal health and reducing inequalities within and between countries.

     

    IRD research unit involved: UMR CEPED (IRD/University of Paris)

    Partners: 

    Funding: European Commission (H2020 program), WHO : 3 997 295 €

     

    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Website QualiDec

    Contacts: Alexandre Dumont, Myriam De Loenzien

  • ZIKAHOST: The host factors of ZIKA virus neuro-pathogenesis (2018-2022)

    Zika virus (ZIKV) is a mosquito-borne Flavivirus that causes Zika disease characterized by fever, rash, arthralgia and conjunctivitis which, given the rapid worldwide spread of the virus, is now considered an emerging infectious disease. Of particular concern are recent reports of neurological complications, such as Guillain-Barré Syndrome and congenital microcephaly associated with Zika disease. To date no strategies for ZIKV control are available, hence the urgency to initiate the development of antiviral strategies.The partners of the ZIKAHOST proposal consortium were the first to explore and to report on the biology of ZIKV.


    ZIKAHOST first findings show that ZIKV modulates gene expression in hNPC involved in neurogenesis dependent on the nature of the viral strain. At present, the precise molecular mechanisms permitting ZIKV to escape the host antiviral response in human brain cells remain to be determined. In addition, many questions remain unanswered regarding the complications caused by different primary isolates of ZIKV. The specific aims
    of the ZIKAHOST consortium are:

    • To identify key entry factors involved in ZIKV infection and to determine their involvement in ZIKV neurotropism
    • To determine the cellular responses of the human brain cells to ZIKV infection
    • To characterize the different steps of ZIKV-induced brain injury in the developing human brain cells and tissue

    This project will be crucial for a better understanding of how ZIKV hijacks cellular functions and is able to avoid antiviral mechanisms in human brain cells and tissue. Future findings should provide significant insights into ZIKV pathogenesis and will uncover host factors that might serve as therapeutic targets to block ZIKV infection.

     

    IRD research unit involved: UMR MIVEGEC (IRD/CNRS/University of Montpellier)

    Partners: 

    • Dr. Sineewanlaya Wichit, Department of Clinical Microbiology and Applied Technology, Faculty of Medical Technology, Mahidol University
    • Dr Ali Amara, UMR NEURODIDEROT (INSERM/Université de Paris)
    • Dr Pierre Gressens, UMR 944 - 7212 Pathologie et virologie moléculaire (INSERM/Université de Paris)

    Funding:

    • ANR Générique
    • Thailand Research Fund (TRF) (grant no. MRG6280009) PI: Dr. Wichit Sineewanlaya
    • PHC-SIAM: 2021-2022 The Host factors of Zika virus neuro-pathogenesis (PI France: Dorothée Missé, PI Thailand: Sineewanlaya Wichit)

     

    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Contacts: Dorothée Missé, Sineewanlaya Wichit, Ali AmaraPierre Gressens

     

    Latest published articles:

    • Wichit S, Hamel R, Zanzoni A, Diop F, Cribier A, Talignani L, Diack A, Ferraris P, Liegeois F, Urbach S, Ekchariyawat P, Merits A, Yssel H, Benkirane M, Missé D. SAMHD1 Enhances Chikungunya and Zika Virus Replication in Human Skin Fibroblasts. Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Apr 5;20(7):1695. DOI: 10.3390/ijms20071695.
    • Wichit, S., Hamel, R., Yainoy, S., Gumpangseth, N., Panich, S., Phuadraksa, T., Saetear, P., Monteil, A., Morales Vargas, R., & Missé, D. (2019). Interferon-inducible protein (IFI) 16 regulates Chikungunya and Zika virus infection in human skin fibroblasts. EXCLI journal, 18, 467–476. DOI: 10.17179/excli2019-1271

Projects in Humanities and Social Sciences

  • BufFarm One Health SEA: Exploring the relationships between livestock, local knowledge and the environment (2020-2023)

    The BufFarm OneHealth Sea project seeks to explore the relationships between farm animals, local knowledge, and wider systems of agriculture and environment. On a global scale evidence has been made on the role of expanding livestock farming both as a threat to biodiversity and as increasingly putting human and animal health at risk. However, little distinction is generally made between the different production systems ranging from smallholders to industrial farms, and between the diversity and species distribution on the planet. This last aspect being particularly complex as it depends both on variations of specific socio-economic contexts and on the cultural values associated with animals in different cultures. In to better understand the complex links between farm production system, biodiversity, animal and human health, the project focuses on extensive buffalos farming in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam.

    Grounded in Anthropology the project has a strong participatory dimension. The herders knowledge will be the starting point of investigation. Once documented the local knowledge will be putted into dialogue with various scientific perspectives (anthropology, botany and ecology). This will help to encourage and promote virtuous practices for livestock farming guaranteeing the good health of humans, animals and the environment.

     

    Photographie de trois buffles pris dans un village rural de Thaïlande

    The seasonality of extensive buffalo farming implies a multiscale perspective at the village and the forest level:

    At the village level, the objective is to take an interest on the daily animal care practices and local medicine, by carrying out in situ plant collection with identification and taxonomic survey of fauna and flora. The associated uses and techniques, as well as the interpretation of animal behavior will also be documented. The medical pluralism including ethnoveterinary medicine and contemporary veterinary biomedicine will be fully considered, notably the use of antibiotics. At the village level, the ecological impact of the presence of buffalo will also be studied.

    At the forest level, the project will first aim at completing the buffalo plant database and seek to explore self-medication practices. The idea is to follow the animal along with their owner to observe the plants specimen, roots, flowers, etc. consumed in situ and seek for potential self-medication practices. In order to assess the environmental and sanitarian risks an innovative methodology of tracing will be developed. Some individual buffalos will be equipped with collar GPS to track their presence and satellite images will be used to counting interaction with wild animals and define specific area that buffalos spread on the grazing area. Camera traps will also be positioned in strategical point of contacts and interactions with wild animals.

     

    IRD research unit involved: UMR PALOC (IRD/MNHN)

    Partners:

    Funding: IRD, TICA ‘Innovative Animal Health’, FSPI One Health SEA 

     

    Contact: Nicolas Lainé

  • HAZE : Socio-ecological drivers and consequences of air pollution in Northern Thailand (2018-2022)

    During the dry season, between February and April, a thick cloud of pollution covers Chiang Mai (as well as much of South and Southeast Asia but with variations in timing and intensity), causing many health (respiratory diseases) and economic problems (reduced tourist numbers, disruption of air traffic). Contrary to the physicochemical and biophysical aspects (absence of rainfall in the dry season, temperature inversion, biomass combustion in particular), the social and economic factors at the origin of this phenomenon have not (or little) been studied for the moment.

    Within the framework of a collaborative project, we show that this cloud of pollution is also a social production: customary uses of fire for the management of forests and fields, rapid transitions to market agriculture, rural exodus, second homes in the countryside and development of the tourist economy etc. All these elements contribute to the constitution of “narratives” (knowledge, stories and representations) about the environment which are an integral part of the problem of air pollution: they question its antiquity, reality and extent; they frequently point the finger at those responsible, with the consequence of reinforcing divisions, real or imagined, between ethnic groups, social classes or between urban and rural areas; finally, they are taken up, in whole or in part, by local decision-makers and directly influence environmental policies.

     

    IRD research unit involved: UMR PALOC (IRD/MNHN)

    Partners: University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Chiang Mai University

    Funding: NSF Fund

     

    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Contacts: Olivier ÉvrardMary Mostafanezhad

     

    Published articles:

    • Mostafanezhad M, Evrard, O. 2020. Chronopolitics of crisis: A historical political ecology of seasonal air pollution in northern Thailand. Geoforum. ISSN 0016-7185.   DOI: 10.1016/j.geoforum.2020.05.011.
    • Olivier Evrard et Mary Mostafanezhad, « La pollution de l’air en Thaïlande du Nord : d’un phénomène saisonnier à une crise écologique », Moussons, 34 | 2019, 49-69.   DOI: 10.4000/moussons.5310
  • Global Smog : Research on air pollution in cities of the South (2022 - 2025)

    Project countries: Thailand, India, Vietnam, Benin, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Senegal

    Air pollution is a global environmental and health problem. Although it has become a major concern in large cities of the South, few of them are able to effectively combat this pollution. The Global Smog research project proposes to better understand what causes such an impediment by analyzing the perceptions of this public health problem, the orientations of public action and the obstacles to its implementation in five African and five Asian cities.

    This interdisciplinary project is an international project involving Dr. Olivier Évrard, an anthropologist at IRD in Thailand. The project aims to identify and explain the technical, social and political processes that influence the management of air pollution in cities in the South. The objective of this study is to improve theoretical and practical knowledge of urban public policy processes at different scales in developing countries.

    Working with the tools of sociology of science, urban geography, political anthropology and sociology of policy making, the project explores the social construction of ambient air pollution as both a global and local problem, and how it is embedded in socio-technical representations of health, environment and economy.

    Research unit involve in Thailand: UMR PALOC (IRD, MNHN)

    Partner:

    Learn more about the project: https://en.ird.fr/project-globalsmog-researching-air-pollution-cities-global-south

    Global Smog website: https://www.globalsmog.org/

    Funding: Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR)

    Contact: Olivier Évrard

Projects related to the environment and natural resources

Trouée dans la canopée

© Geneviève Michon

Young team associated with IRD (JEAI)

A JEAI allows a group of researchers from the South (at least three) to form a team through the implementation of a research and research training project. In close collaboration with an IRD research unit, the project should serve as a catalyst for the supported JEAI to become a solid and recognised team in its field. This partnership aims to facilitate the insertion of the young team in national and international scientific networks.

In Thailand, a JEAI was created in 2022: 

  • JEAI BIMOMS - BIodiversity MOdelling at Multiple Scales: from wild ecosystems to regional processes

The JEAI BIMOMS project aims to model ecosystem processes from the ecological dynamics of local biodiversity in Khao Yai National Park to regional scale dynamics (forest transition and socio-economic processes).

This team will be led by Dr. Sissades Tongsima, Director of the National Biobank of Thailand and will be supported until the end of 2024.

IRD research unit involved: ISEM et AMAP

Partners:

Contact: Emmanuel Paradis
 

Recherches en laboratoire sur le Paludisme

© Justine Montmarche

International Joint Laboratory (LMI)

An LMI is a research program co-constructed and co-directed by IRD and its local partners (universities and research institutes) around a scientific theme and a common platform. The purpose of an LMI project is to develop and consolidate multidisciplinary research by eventually becoming (or being integrated into) a sustainable operational research structure under the responsibility of the partner country. It can be bilateral or regional.

In Thailand, a regional LMI is currently operating:

Rizière irriguée, Thaïlande

© François Molle

International Scientific Coordination Network (GDRI)

A GDRI is a network of French and foreign laboratories formed between several countries, including at least one developing country, around a strategic theme for research on and for sustainable development in an intertropical area. A GDRI has a scientific coordination committee.

Thai partner scientists participate in two GDRIs:

  • GDRI COMPACSOL - Identifying and alleviating soil physical degradations to optimize sustainable food production

    Soil is an ecosystem that is essential to terrestrial and human life, as it directly or indirectly allows the production of 98% of our food. Soils not only contain the minerals that are essential for plant life, but they also store 80% of the water from rainfall, thanks to an infinite number of millimetre and micrometre pores. This water storage allows plants (cultivated and natural) to be fed and also limits the risk of flooding (by slowing down the flow of water towards rivers).

    However, over the last few decades, modern agricultural development techniques (mechanised cultivation, chemical inputs) have led to widespread soil degradation. A recent FAO report on the state of soils was subtitled: "systems on the verge of collapse". Soil compaction has important consequences for agricultural production, but it is almost invisible. It is, in fact, a reduction in pore volume that takes place in the millimetre to micrometre range, which requires laboratory equipment to be demonstrated, but which considerably reduces the soil's capacity to store water (even in the case of irrigation) and which results in a reduction in agricultural production.

    In this context, IRD and its partners in the region have launched the GDRI COMPACSOL in 2022 to organise a network of laboratories and research teams working on soil compaction. The first objective will be to set up standardised procedures in order to obtain quality and reliable analytical results that will enable an inventory to be made of the situation at the Mekong Basin level and to measure the evolution (geographical extension and intensity) of soil compaction over the next four years. The second objective will be to involve farmers in the development of cultivation techniques for soil prevention and rehabilitation through a participatory approach that will make the most of local knowledge and at the same time disseminate validated scientific knowledge on soils and water management.

     

    Partners:

    Institute of Ecology and Environmental Sciences of Paris (IRD - UMR IEES), France

    Institute of Technology of Cambodia (ITC), Cambodia

    Department of Agricultural Land Management (DALaM), Laos

    Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University (KKU), Thailand

    Soil and Fertilizers Research Institute (SFRI), Vietnam

    Water/Soil/Plant Exchange team - University of Liège, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, Belgium

    NGO ECLOSIO – University of Liège, Belgium & Cambodia

  • GDRI SOOT-SEA: Impact of Black Carbon in South East Asia

    Black Carbon (BC), or soot, is the product of incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels and biomass, and is co-emitted with other aerosols. BC and co-emitted aerosols make up the majority of fine particle air pollution, and is the leading environmental cause of poor health and premature death. BC also impacts climate by :

    • Exerting a direct net positive radiative forcing at the top-of-the atmosphere equivalent to ~40% of the current radiative forcing due to the CO2 greenhouse effect
    • Influencing cloud formation/properties and rainfall patterns
    • Reducing the albedo of the cryosphere when deposited on ice and snow, hence increasing melting rate

    Owing to its impacts on health and climate, BC is receiving growing attention. Another impact of BC, much less known than its direct impacts on health and climate, is related to its introduction in the ocean. The atmospheric lifetime of BC ranges from a few days to one month, and BC eventually deposits on the surface of lands and oceans. In addition to the direct deposition on the surface of the ocean, large amounts of BC deposited on land are washed out by rainfall and transported by rivers, hence ultimately ending up in the ocean. The estimated total flux of BC to the ocean via atmospheric deposition and fluvial transport is equivalent to the estimated emission rate.

    Considering that most BC ends up in the ocean, it is important to understand how this material impacts marine systems. Because BC particles are highly porous and surface-active, with a high density, they can sorb dissolved compounds, increase aggregation processes and ballast sinking particulate organic matter. Because they bring nutrients and contaminants to the surface ocean, and modify the structuring of the environment at the microscale, BC may alter phyto- and bacterio-plankton composition and activity. As a result, BC may alter the efficiency of the biological carbon pump, and lead to either a positive or a negative feedback on the atmospheric concentration of CO2. In addition, BC can sorb contaminants in seawater and either introduce them into the food chain, hence alter food security, or export them to the seafloor, hence cleanse the water column. In order to determine the actual impacts of BC, it is necessary to obtain accurate emission and deposition rates.

    At present, there are still large uncertainties related to the magnitude of the impact of atmospheric BC due to difficulties in obtaining accurate emission inventories, and in particular in South East Asia (SEA). For example, current climate models systematically underrate aerosol absorption by 3-fold when compared to observations, which is attributed to the underestimation of BC emissions. Since estimates of the atmospheric flux of BC to the ocean are derived from emission estimates, they may be underestimated as well. In order to determine the effects of BC on marine resources and biogeochemistry, it is also necessary to understand how BC interacts with biological/chemical/physical marine processes. Owing to its short residence time in the atmosphere, atmospheric BC is currently considered a short-lived climate/health forcer. In contrast, because BC in the ocean will last for millennia, and its impacts on carbon cycling in the ocean can have long-lasting feedbacks on climate and marine biogeochemistry, marine BC may act as a long-lived climate/ecosystem forcer.

    SOOT-SEA seeks to stimulate research, innovation, observation and capacity-building activities related to the impacts of BC on climate, health and ecosystem, taking into account for the first time its marine dimension, by increasing interactions between scientists from the South and the North.

    The objectives of this multidisciplinary GDRI-Sud, which addresses a major societal, health and environmental issue, are :

    • to promote and structure the development of research on BC, considering both atmospheric and marine dimensions in SEA (Figure below)
    • to create the conditions for the establishment of a monitoring network of the concentrations and characteristics of atmospheric, fluvial and marine BC at the regional scale
    • to inform the general public and assist decision makers with regard to the intricate health, climate and ecosystem BC-issues

    SOOT-SEA is organized around a targeted theme (following a common thread), calling for interdisciplinarity between atmospheric and marine sciences, and bridging intertwined climate, ecosystems and health issues.

     

    Partners:

    AirParif, France

    Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand

    Centre national de la recherche scientifique, France

    Consiglio nazionale delle ricerche, Italy

    Environment Quality Management, Myanmar

    Institute of Marine Environment and Ressources, Vietnam

    International Atomic Energy Agency, Monaco

    Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Germany

    Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Laos

    Royal University of Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    Sorbonne Université, France

    Swansea University, United Kingdom

    Technical University of Denmark

    Universität Oldenburg, Germany

    Universität Wien, Austria

    Université de La Réunion, France

    Université de Liège, Belgium

    Université de Pau et des pays de l'Adour, France

    Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier, France

    University of Science and Technology of Hanoï, Vietnam

    Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology