Updated 20/07/23

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
Anopheles mosquito (Anopheles sp.) mouth apparatus

© Argot

Anopheles mosquito (Anopheles sp.) mouth apparatus

Main research projects

Health research projects

  • Biology of Tembusu virus (2023-)

    Tembusu virus (TMUV) is an emerging zoological virus that was first isolated from the mosquito Culex tritaeniorhynchus in Malaysia in 1955. As of 2010, a new strain of TMUV, called Duck Tembusu virus (DTMUV), has been reported in China, Thailand and Malaysia. DTMUV causes severe neuropathological disorders in birds and death of embryos. Evidence of asymptomatic transmission in humans was reported in 2010 (in China) and 2018 (in Thailand). However, the biology of the virus remains poorly understood, particularly in hosts. Moreover, information on its regional circulation remains patchy. Its phylogenetic proximity to zoonotic flaviviruses of human health importance such as Japanese encephalitis virus or West Nile virus, as well as its rapid spread, highlight the possibility that this pathogen will emerge in humans in the future.
    In this project we propose to study :

    • the ecology of TMUV in Thailand
    • the biology of TMUV in the mosquito vector and in humans

    The objective of the research project is to highlight the mechanisms of infection of the virus and to be able to develop strategies to fight against this virus.


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



    Contact: Rodolphe Hamel

  • 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. 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)


    • 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
  • CaPThai: Implementation of a new Strategic TB Case-Finding, Treatment and Prevention Public Health Pack in Thailand (2023-2026)

    Logo CapThaiCaPThai aims to collect data essential for revising and updating guidelines on TB detection and prevention in Thailand through the implementation of a pragmatic Phase IV randomized cluster clinical trial taking place in 20 provincial hospitals across the country. If the intervention proves effective, it could serve as a model for TB control programs in the Asian sub-region and beyond.

    This research project is coordinated by Dr. Christian Lienhardt and in collaboration with Dr. Phalin Kamalwat, DTB, Dr. Jintana Ngamvithayapong-Yanai, THRF, and Professor Katherine Fielding, LSHTM.

    CapThai partners

    IRD research unit involved: UMI TransVIHMI (IRD/Inserm/University of Montpellier) ​​​​​​



    To find out more: CapThai presentation


    Christian Lienhardt, Project Coordinator

    Tamara Tovar Sanchez, Project Manager

  • Characterizing transmission of flaviviruses factors in mosquito saliva (2023-2025)

    Flaviviruses are mosquito-transmitted diseases that threaten human populations in tropical and sub-tropical regions. These diseases include dengue, Zika and Japanese Encephalitis, which are all endemic to South East Asia and Thailand. These mosquito-transmitted diseases cause significant morbidity and mortality, hampering economic development. Unfortunately, there is no effective control means. There are no therapeutics, the vector control strategy doesn’t prevent epidemics and there are safety issues with flavivirus-targeting vaccines.

    In this context, the project aims to better characterize factors that enable viral transmission by mosquitoes and to design new interventions. Flaviviruses are transmitted during a mosquito bite. We will study mosquito saliva factors that enable skin infection to identify targets to block transmission. Targeting bite-initiated skin infection is a promising avenue for multiple reasons:

    • It is potentially effective against multiple flaviviruses as this step is common to all flaviviruses
    • There is no safety risks like those associated with flavivirus-targeting vaccines
    • There is less pressure for virus evolution towards resistance as we target a mosquito factor
    • Viral transmission during biting is a bottleneck in the transmission cycle as only a few hundred viruses are injected
    • Skin infection is required for transmission and blocking this step prevents systemic infection

    The scientific objective of the project is to characterize mosquito saliva factors that enable skin infection upon infectious bite and to provide the foundations for a new intervention that target the transmission factors in mosquito saliva. The project is based on preliminary work conducted by both French and Thai teams. The two teams have identified a new salivary transmission factor that is common to all flaviviruses, providing an ideal target to block transmission of all flaviviruses. The salivary factor is a subgenomic fragment of flaviviruses secreted in salivary extracellular vesicles.

    Our goal is to design a preventive strategy to block transmission of all flaviviruses. To reach this goal, the project aims at capacity building in Thailand, technology transfer, and student and young scientists training, both French and Thai.


    IRD research unit involved: UMR MIVEGEC (IRD/CNRS/Université de Montpellier)


    Molecular and Cell Biology Institute (IMCB), CNRS-University of Strasbourg - France

    Department of Human Genetics (DHG), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Belgium

    Department of Developmental and Cell Biology (DDCB), University of California Irvine - USA

    Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID), Duke-NUS Medical School - Singapore


    PHC SIAM - Hubert Curien Partnership France/Thailand

    ANR-20-CE15-006 - French National Research Agency

    Contact: Julien Pompon

  • DisCoVer: Disentangling the SARS-CoV2 Origins : Emergence & Reservoir (2020-2023)

    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


  • Impact of lipid metabolism on arbovirus transmission (2023-2025)

    In the absence of therapeutics and vaccines, the re-emergence and recent dissemination of arboviruses into new ecosystems are having a significant impact on human health. The fight against these diseases relies mainly on vector?organism capable of transmitting an infectious agent from one person to another control through the use of insecticides, with proven environmental and human impacts. The search for alternative ecological strategies with a broad spectrum of action to interrupt the transmission cycle and dissemination of these viruses is a priority.

    We hypothesize that manipulation of lipid metabolism is an effective strategy for interrupting the transmission cycle of these viruses between their arthropod vectors and humans, thereby limiting the pathogenic impact of these viruses. This hypothesis is supported by our collective observations indicating that:

    • arboviruses manipulate the lipidome of their human and vector hosts for proviral purposes (Diop et al., 2018; Vial et al., 2020)
    • targeting lipid metabolism disrupts various stages in the infectious cycle of these viruses in their hosts (Wichit et al., 2017)

    Our program therefore aims to evaluate the efficacy of bioactive lipids and lipid metabolism inhibitors on the infection of human cells and mosquito vectors.


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


    IRD Principal Investigator: Dorothée Missé

    Participants IRD MIVEGEC EDIFICE:


    Funding: IRD


    Publications : 

    • Diop F, Vial T, Ferraris P, Wichit S, Bengue M, Hamel R, Talignani L, Liegeois F, Pompon J, Yssel H, Marti G, Missé D. Zika virus infection modulates the metabolomic profile of microglial cells. PLoS One. 2018 Oct 25;13(10):e0206093. eCollection 2018. PMID: 30359409. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0206093
    • Vial T, Tan WL, Deharo E, Missé D, Marti G, Pompon J. Mosquito metabolomics reveal that dengue virus replication requires phospholipid reconfiguration via the remodeling cycle. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2020 Nov 3;117(44):27627-27636. Epub 2020 Oct 21. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2015095117
    • Wichit S, Hamel R, Bernard E, Talignani L, Diop F, Ferraris P, Liegeois F, Ekchariyawat P, Luplertlop N, Surasombatpattana P, Thomas F, Merits A, Choumet V, Roques P, Yssel H, Briant L, Missé D. Imipramine Inhibits Chikungunya Virus Replication in Human Skin Fibroblasts through Interference with Intracellular Cholesterol Trafficking. Sci Rep. 2017 Jun 9;7(1):3145. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-03316-5
  • iTAP program: Eliminating mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus (2012-2023)

    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

    Contact: Nicole Ngo-Giang-Huong

  • NEOCELL: In vitro study of mosquito-borne viruses (2023-)

    Among emerging pathogens, arboviruses are an important cause of animal and human disease worldwide and Mosquito-borne viruses (MBVs) a significant source of zoonotic emerging infectious diseases. In vitro interactions studies between vertebrate hosts, viruses and their mosquito vectors are essential to tackle MBVs threats. Particularly, knowledge of intima mechanisms in key organs of mosquito, such salivary glands and mid-gut are essential. However, there is a lack of relevant mosquito cellular models available for this purpose. In this context, we propose in an exploratory project to develop new mosquito organotypic cell lines derived from specific organs of mosquitoes involved in MBVs transmission. Implementation of these tools will facilitate in vitro investigation and enable to work as much on the replication mechanism of viruses, develop new anti-viral strategy as on the elaboration of new vaccines. 


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



    Contact: Rodolphe Hamel

  • 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)


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


    To find out more: Detailed project description

    Website QualiDec

    Contacts: Alexandre Dumont, Myriam De Loenzien

  • VDOSAGE: dsRNA-based detection of viruses (2023-2027)

    Double-stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a characteristic of the vast majority of viral infections. It is produced by RNA viruses during replication and by DNA viruses during convergent transcription. Paradoxically, dsRNA-centric approaches to virus surveillance are largely underexplored.

    The aims of VDOSAGE are to develop dsRNA monitoring tools and validate their application as a easy, quantitative and specific means for virus surveillance in living organisms, including arthropods and plants. By exploiting the remarkable binding properties between dsRNA and the B2 protein from Flock House virus (FHV) but also Nanobodies (Nbs)?antibody fragments capable of selectively binding to a specific antigen with high affinity for dsRNA, we propose to build a state-of-the-art portable device for ultrasensitive quantification of dsRNA using surface plasmon resonance (dsSPR)?tool capable of characterizing molecular interactions in real time and without a label.

    In parallel, we aim to combine dsRNA capture with the Oxford Nanopore Technology (ONT)?tool capable of characterizing molecular interactions in real time and without a label to directly sequence dsRNA for real-time virus identification (dsNanoSeq). Once optimized under laboratory conditions, dsSPR and dsNanoSeq will be confirmed with field-grown plants, field-captured mosquitoes and human plasma cells.

    To achieve these goals, we will leverage the unique know-how and expertise of our partners. The project combines innovative and multidisciplinary approaches to address future eco-epidemiological risks. In addition, VDOSAGE will improve our understanding of viromes?the whole genomes of viruses of plant and animal as well as epitranscriptomic marks?all chemical modifications carried by an RNA. Focused on the One Health approach, VDOSAGE will improve virus surveillance in humans, animals and plants.


    IRD research unit involved: UMR MIVEGEC (IRD/CNRS/Université de Montpellier)


    Institute of Plant Molecular Biology, CNRS-University of Strasbourg - France

    Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology, University of Lille - France

    Walailak University - Thailand


    ANR - French National Research Agency

    For more information: VDOSAGE Presentation

    Contact: Julien Pompon



    Yeh S.C., Strilets T., Tan W.L., Castillo D., Medkour H., Rey-Cadilhac F., Serrato-Pomar I. M., et al. “The Anti-Immune Dengue Subgenomic Flaviviral RNA is present in Vesicles in Mosquito Saliva and is associated with Increased Infectivity.” PLOS Pathogens 19, no. 3 (March 30, 2023): e1011224. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1011224.

    Hitakarun A., Williamson M. K., Yimpring N., Sornjai W., Wikan N., Arthur C. J., Pompon J., Davidson A. D., and Smith D. R. “Cell Type Variability in the Incorporation of Lipids in the Dengue Virus Virion” Viruses 14, no. 11 (November 2022): 2566. https://doi.org/10.3390/v14112566.

    Yeh S. C., Diosa-Toro M., Tan W. L., Rachenne F., Hain A., Xuan Yeo C. P., Bribes I., et al. “Characterization of Dengue Virus 3’UTR RNA Binding Proteins in Mosquitoes Reveals That AeStaufen Reduces Subgenomic Flaviviral RNA in Saliva.” PLOS Pathogens 18, no. 9 (September 19, 2022): e1010427. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.ppat.1010427.

  • ZIKAHOST: The host factors of ZIKA virus neuro-pathogenesis (2018-2023)

    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)


    • 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)


    • 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 related to the environment and natural resources

  • Biodiversity loss and dynamics in Southeast Asia (2022-)

    This project is a co-partnership aimed at better understanding the erosion and dynamics of biodiversity patterns in Southeast Asia. It focuses on vertebrates, but is open to other wildlife groups.


    The project has four objectives:


    1. Obtain data on local biodiversity dynamics

    Retrospective data can establish medium- and short-term dynamics, from a few years to several centuries. Few wildlife populations benefit from multi-year monitoring, and it is difficult to establish reliable indices. With this co-partnership, we are stimulating new studies and exploring the very recent fossil record to produce these new indicators. We are also producing dynamics based on spatial gradients of anthropization.


    2. Identify organisms and their adaptive characteristics

    The characteristics of organisms are identified from their phenotype, using multivariate techniques such as geometric morphometry. In this part, we co-train future students via an integrative approach in evolution or systematics.


    3. Produce an inventory and monitor biodiversity

    The use of participatory cyber-taxonomy enables low-cost, real-time surveying and monitoring of local biodiversity. New cyber-taxonomy applications using artificial intelligence (AI) can produce taxonomic identifications by all and for all, and some applications can feed open, validated and international biodiversity datasets (GBIF). This part of the project aims to :

    • raise awareness of these developments among academic and non-academic audiences (schools and the general public)
    • evaluate and validate the quality of the identifications produced by AI
    • produce para-taxonomies (if biased) and finer keys using simple methods
    • use these data to build recent dynamics

    This part of the project also aims to train scientists in the FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable) approach to data management.


    4. Raising awareness of wildlife extinction

    Raising awareness for biodiversity preservation and continuing the twenty-year-long collaboration with our Thai partners will involve training specialists in the history of biodiversity, setting up actions aimed at the general public and raising awareness of wildlife in museums, as well as local studies in the deep past (several hundred to several million years).


    IRD research unit involved: UMR ISEM (IRD/Cirad/CNRS/EPHE/INRAP/University of Montpellier)



    Contact: Julien Claude

  • Machine learning and improvement of biodiversity measurements via remote sensing (2021-2023)

    Tree species diversity and composition are important factors for assessing the ecological status of a forest. Assessing species diversity and composition at large scale from the ground is, however, very expensive and would require many skillful personnel and equipment, especially in inaccessible terrain. Remote sensing technology is a promising tool for monitoring forests in vast and often inaccessible terrains, such as dense tropical forests. Although monitoring the extent of forest areas is today routinely done with freely available passive satellite data, such as Landsat, monitoring the structure and composition within forest areas is more challenging and require more research works.


    Figure LiDAR d'une jeune forêt du Parc national de Khao Yai avec un gradient de couleur qui dépend de la hauteur des arbres (plus la couleur est rouge, plus la cime de l'arbre est élevée).


    With the advent of advanced remote sensing sensors, namely LiDAR and Hyperspectral sensors, researchers are offered with more discernable 3D forest diversity information, spectral information in several narrow bands and therefore provide key information for monitoring forest structure and composition and to study keystone species. However, due to the high acquisition cost of airborne LiDAR and hyperspectral data, acquisitions are most often limited to relatively small spatial areas of less than 100 km2. These highly accurate data can be however used to develop algorithms based on low cost like Theos or freely available remote sensing data like Sentinel 2. Note that these large-scale products can be hardly related directly to field data due to several mismatch issues and because developing accurate algorithms require a very important number of observations.

    Photo Maxime project

    This proposal seeks funding for development of Machine learning (ML) model using a highly accurate data as reference data (64 km2) with free remote sensing data, such as Sentinel 2 data (10-m resolution) for the extrapolation of forest diversity metrics at large scale. The complete process will follow a two-step strategy. In the first step, the information from LIDAR (individual tree heights) and Hyperspectral (spectral diversity with canopy tree classification) will be fused to obtain the accurate prediction of the tree diversity using the existing field data (0.36 km2) at 64 km2 area. The second step will use the high-quality predicted data of tree diversity at 64 km2 area as a reference data for calibrating the variables of the freely available remote sensing data like Sentinel 2 using Machine Learning algorithm in step 2. The algorithm thus obtained will be used to upscale the diversity metric to a large scale.

    Added benefits include fostering innovation, generating new research directions in both forestry disciplines and the new developed remote sensing products can be used for other projects like wildlife habitat predictions, biomass estimation, detecting stressed and rare species etc.


    IRD research unit involved: UMR AMAP (IRD/Cirad/CNRS/INRAE/University of Montpellier)


    Funding: National Biobank of Thailand (NBT)

    Contact: Maxime Réjou-Méchain

  • Natural Forestore (2023-2025)

    Natural Forestore aims to study the biological, ecological and socio-economic mechanisms of tropical forest restoration and their impact on carbon sequestration and storage, and consequently on climate change. The field work will be accomplished in 5 sites characterized by very different ecological and climatic conditions. Research activities include quantitative measurements of soil microbes that have an important role in carbon recycling in forests, quantification of plant biomass using advanced remote sensing technologies, and modeling of land use changes. An expectation of this project is the more accurate quantification of the capture capacities of different forest types in Thailand.


    IRD research unit involved: UMR ISEMUMR AMAP




    Funding: BNP Paribas Foundation


    Contact: Emmanuel Paradis

  • SIMPLE (2023-2027)

    SIMPLE (Sustainability Issues Multiverse for building Participatory Learning Environments) is a project aimed to raise awareness among young people of the difficulty to identify sustainable solutions to current environmental challenges. To achieve this, it develops, tests and proposes a "sustainability metaverse", i.e. an infrastructure and a set of teaching methods developed from virtual reality environments, serious games and scientific simulations. The project works in cooperation with the authorities, civil society organizations and educational players in the Mekong Basin countries, to verify the validity of these approaches, to guarantee greater participation by young citizens and a better understanding of the impact of these policies on local case studies, selected for their importance and universality. 

    The project is part of the EU-ASEAN partnership for dialogue and cooperation in the field of climate action and environmental protection, involving a consortium of partners from the European Union (IRD, France) and several ASEAN countries (Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, Thailand). 

    Through the development of digital environments, which will take the form of multiverses, some of the main socio-environmental challenges facing ASEAN and, to some extent, the European Union, will be addressed: water management in deltas and coastal areas, fragile ecosystems, biodiversity, plastic pollution, air pollution, land use and land change, etc. This innovative project aims to use modeling and simulation approaches to develop metaverses, combined with serious games and virtual and augmented reality tools, to raise awareness among young people in ASEAN of current sustainability issues. These tools are both educational and entertaining, and involve Civil Society Organizations and local authorities in their construction and dissemination.


    IRD research unit involved: UMMISCO & UMR ISEM 




    Funding: European Commission


    Contact: Alexis Drogoul

  • Sustainability science for agroecology (2023-)

    The objective of the project is to harness the potential of agroecology to transform agrarian and food systems in ways that are consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


    1. Agroecology and the Sustainable Development Goals

    In Thailand, several agricultural models have coexisted for many years: intensive monoculture systems based on the use of chemical inputs on the one hand, and agroecological systems, such as agroforestry, agroforestry-pastoral integration, organic agriculture, conservation agriculture, etc., on the other hand. Agroecological practices help regenerate the fertility of degraded soils, avoid biodiversity erosion, water scarcity or biotic constraints for crop and livestock production; they facilitate climate change adaptation and mitigation. A transdisciplinary approach for agroecology includes action research, capacity development through training, and networking of stakeholders. Through the analysis of agroecology contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we aim to raise the awareness of government, civil society and private sector actors to the challenges of the agroecological transition. Indeed, translating the intentions behind the SDGs into concrete actions is much more complex than the original idea of the SDGs. There are trade-offs between SDGs. There is no win-win option; each intervention must be negotiated and compromises made between groups of actors with divergent interests. Multi-scale and multi-actor negotiation platforms mobilize the knowledge co-produced in supporting innovation processes.


    2. Motivations for engaging into agroecology

    How do agroecological practices manage to survive alongside agribusiness logics? What motivates farmers to engage or remain in agroecology? The development of an experiential approach to the 'agroecological territory', lived by a group of actors, makes it possible to explore the cognitive processes that precede and explain the engagement into action. This engagement is not necessarily based on an identified interest or a rational calculation, but rather on deeply rooted values and beliefs. They underlie farmers' motivation to engage in more environmentally friendly practices and to get involved in collaborative processes. They play a key role in the coordination of farmers among themselves and with other actors in a territory in the name of the environment or sustainable development, in a political and economic context that nevertheless largely favors individualism. The values of engagement in agroecology will be analyzed at different levels:

    • the spiritual practices of connection to nature
    • the engagement of high school students in environmental awareness activities
    • the monitoring of actors networks engaged in agroecological movements

    The analysis of the actors' interactions within and between actor networks reveals the cognitive and affective drivers underlying the construction of shared knowledge.


    3. The sentinels of the agroecological transition

    Local communities have an in-depth knowledge of their agroecosystems and are in the front line of observing and reporting on the changes affecting the landscapes they have shaped over generations. The Faculty of Science at Chulalongkorn University is engaged in participatory monitoring of the agroecosystems, e.g. biodiversity (bird watching, plant and fungi inventories, etc.), surface and groundwater quality, agricultural soils, forest biomass at different stages of a restoration process. The ‘sentinels of the environment’ scheme is based on a network of high schools in Nan province in northern Thailand, and will then gradually expand to other ‘learning landscapes’. The idea is that through a participatory monitoring and evaluation system of environmental health and quality of life of the populations, local actors will be able to report on the impact of their ecofriendly practices or, on the contrary, on the degradation linked to intensive monoculture. On the basis of indicators co-constructed with different groups of actors, they will be able to provide empirical evidence of the degradation of their environment or to testify aggradation linked to the agroecological transition.


    Scientific publications:

    • Castella J-C, Lestrelin G, Phimmasone S, Tran Quoc H, Lienhard P. 2022. The Role of Actor Networks in Enabling Agroecological Innovation. Sustainability 14(6):3550. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063550
    • Castella J.-C., Lu J., Friis C., Bech Bruun T., Cole R., Junquera V., Kenney-Lazar M., Mahanty S., Ornetsmüller C., Pin Pravalprukskul, Vagneron I., 2023. Beyond the boom-bust cycle: An interdisciplinary framework for analysing crop booms. Global Environmental Changes 80, 102651. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102651


    Partner: Dr. Pongchai Dumrongrojwatthana, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University

    Contact: Jean-Christophe Castella

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)


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


    Contact: Nicolas Lainé



    • Lainé N., Prasongmaneerut T., Janyasuthiwong S., Foyoontpanich K. 2023. Beyond Data Source: Engaging Herders’ Knowledge and Perspectives within the BufFarm Research Process. One Health Cases. 2023.0023 DOI: 10.1079/onehealthcases.2023.0023
  • 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)


    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

  • HAZE : Socio-ecological drivers and consequences of air pollution in Northern Thailand (2018-2023)

    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
Rainforest of Khao Sok National Park in Thailand

© DigiHand

Rainforest of Khao Sok National Park in Thailand

Young teams 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


Contact: Emmanuel Paradis

Photo Delta

© Curioso

International Joint Laboratories (IJL)

An IJL 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 IJL 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, two regional IJL are currently operating:

  • IJL LOTUS: Study center of the land-ocean-atmosphere regional coupled system

    The overall scientific objective of LOTUS is to understand, monitor and predict the functioning, variability and evolution of the transport and fate of water and associated materials in the coupled atmosphere-continent-ocean system in the coastal regions of Southeast Asia.

    Deltas are key regions in this system: they are at the interface between the continent and the ocean, and are subject to a wide range of natural and anthropogenic influences. It is therefore vital to identify and understand the processes that control the flow of water and matter in these regions, and their interactions with oceanic and continental zones. This is not only a scientific challenge, but also a methodological one: the sharing of tools and knowledge between scientific communities focusing on oceanic and continental regions respectively is still in its infancy.

    The aim of LOTUS is to focus on the river-estuary-coastal ocean continuum, addressing three main questions:

    • What physical and biogeochemical processes control the transport and fate of water and matter across this continuum? How do they interact?
    • What natural and anthropogenic factors are involved in the different scales of variability of this transport and fate?
    • How can these processes and scales of variability be observed by in situ and remote sensing observations and represented by modeling?

    Coupled high-resolution physical, biogeochemical and sediment modeling, multi-sensor satellite observations and in situ measurements are used in a complementary way to answer these questions. Following the study of the region from the Red River to the Gulf of Tonkin, the IJL's study area has been extended to include other regions, such as the Chao Phraya estuary in Thailand.


    IRD research units involved:

    • UMR LOG (IRD/CNRS/Université de Lille/Université Littoral Côte d'Opale)
    • UMR MIO (IRD/CNRS/Université Aix-Marseille/Université de Toulon)
    • UMR CESSMA (IRD/INALCO/Université de Paris)
    • UMR LAERO (IRD, CNRS, Université Toulouse III)
    • UMR G-EAU (IRD/CIRAD/INRAE/Institut Agro/AgroParisTech)


    Other research units involved:

    • UMR LCA (INP Ensiacet/INRAE)
    • UMR LCE (CNRS/Université Aix-Marseille)
    • UMR LEFE (CNRS/Université Toulouse III/INP ENSAT)
    • UMR LIENSs (CNRS/Université de La Rochelle)


    Partners form Global South :





    Contact: Marine Herrmann

  • IJL PRESTO - Understanding and mitigating zoonotic spillover events in declining biodiversity hot-spots in Southeast Asia

    The IJL PRESTO (PRotect-dEtect-STOp) is a joint research and training program at the regional level, supported by the IRD, universities and research institutes in the Southeast Asian region.

    This IJL is a multidisciplinary collaboration bringing together experts and researchers from France, Laos and Thailand sharing the common objective of preventing and combating emerging infectious diseases in the Greater Mekong Region. It is based on the existence of several long-standing partnerships and the pooling of complementary knowledge, experience and expertise in biodiversity, bioinformatics, disease ecology, epidemiology, molecular biology, public health, social sciences and virology. This will facilitate the development of an intervention platform for the early recognition and control of infectious diseases of zoonotic origin in this region, a recognized hot-spot for disease emergence risks.


    The objectives of the IJL PRESTO are to

    • Establish a sustainable research platform on emerging diseases at the human/animal/environment interface that will help regional partners to develop and thrive, while decreasing dependence on international financial support
    • Establish a local alert system with a bottom-up/mixed approach to better prepare for future outbreaks
    • Develop a sustainable surveillance toolkit with good practice guidance, to improve knowledge sharing and assist in the design and implementation of biodiversity conservation and public health strategies and policies in the Greater Mekong Subregion


    IRD research unit involved: UMR MIVEGEC (IRD/CNRS/Université de Montpellier)

    Academic institutions in the South involved in the project:


    University of Health Sciences

    National University of Laos (NUoL)


    Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Chiang Mai University

    Faculty of Sciences et Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Chiang Mai University

    Faculty of Veterinary Technology, Kasertsart University

    Faculty of Tropical Medicine, Mahidol University

    Other institutions involved in the project:


    National Animal Health Laboratory (NAHL)

    ANOULAK (French NGO based in Laos)

    NAM THEUN 2 POWER COMPANY LIMITED (NTPC) - Laotian, Thai and French shareholders

    Lao-Christophe Mérieux Infectiology Centre (CILM)



    LOCATELLI Sabrina


    KHAMDUANG Woottichai

Rice field soil

© Athanop

International Research Networks - South (IRN)

A IRN 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 IRN has a scientific coordination committee.

Thai partner scientists participate in four IRN:

  • IRN 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 IRN 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.



    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

  • IRN Sentinel-VIPs: Sentinel Vulnerable Indigenous Peoples
    As part of its commitment to the science of sustainability, IRD is setting up a group of experts to reflect on the design of new federative research frameworks and platforms that bring together experts from different scientific disciplines, as a means of creating collective knowledge, in close collaboration with political decision-makers and civil society. An important category of actors in this co-construction process are the indigenous peoples of the intertropical regions, whose integrity is under threat from the profound changes affecting their ecosystems.


    Indigenous peoples have in-depth knowledge of their ecosystems and, as veritable sentinels, are on the front line when it comes to observing and reporting the slightest changes affecting the landscapes they frequent on a daily basis, and which they have helped to shape over generations. Sentinel VIPs is envisaged as a task force of experts from the French higher education and research sphere and from partner research and higher education organizations in the Indo-Pacific zone. The vocation of this task force is to explore new ways of engaging in the science of sustainability, bringing together academic and indigenous sciences through the co-construction of research. Sentinel VIPs' motto is to make indigenous knowledge holders relevant research partners.

    This working group, set up in 2021, will reflect on the limits and constraints raised by the co-construction of research federating such contrasting experts. The primary objective of the VIP Sentinels is not to co-construct the research itself, but to advance theoretical reflection on this co-construction approach, to advise research actions engaged in this direction, and to increase IRD's international visibility on this essential component of sustainability science, by closely associating other academic partners (from the French ESR sphere and the intertropical region) with this collective reflection. The main (but not exclusive) targets of this support are certain IRD operational structures such as the Young teams associated with IRD (JEAI) and Joint International Laboratories (JIL) deployed throughout the Indo-Pacific region, as well as the Global Hub on Indigenous Food Systems supported by the FAO, which IRD is a co-founders.

    Based on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) established in 2015 by the United Nations, it is possible to invent a new research framework that would bring together experts from different scientific disciplines and create collective knowledge. To answer the question of the future evolution of our planet, it is urgent to strengthen the co-construction of our knowledge systems by better integrating all scientific expertise, in close collaboration with political decision-makers and civil society.

    Sentinel VIPs aims to explore new ways of engaging in the science of sustainability by harmonizing academic and indigenous science through the co-construction of research. The fundamental principle of Sentinel VIPs is to consider indigenous knowledge holders as research partners.

    In particular, Sentinel VIPs will explore how best to co-create research with indigenous experts on key cultural biophysical resources that are highly valued by their communities and known to reveal ongoing transformations affecting their ecosystems. Key cultural resources contribute to the development of a more holistic perspective on ecosystems, and provide us with an additional means of highlighting the importance of species and habitats for certain peoples. When these resources are recognized as bio-indicators, they provide fertile ground for closer collaboration between academic and local experts, as they consider exactly the same object, but through distinct cultural prisms.


    IRD research units involved:

    • UMR CEFE (IRD, CNRS, EPHE, University of Montpellier, Institut Agro / Montpellier SupAgro, INRAE and Paul Valéry University Montpellier 3)


    Funding: IRD tool (IRN)

    Contact: Edmond Dounias

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

    Black Carbon (BC) is a particulate carbonaceous aerosol produced during the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuels, biomass and waste.

    BC and co-emitted aerosols constitute the majority of fine particulate air pollution (PM2.5), and represent the leading environmental cause of ill health and premature death globally, making this health risk the leading cause of non-communicable diseases.

    BC contributes to climate change by:

    • Exerting a direct net positive radiative forcing (warming) at the top-of-the atmosphere
    • Influencing cloud formation/properties and rainfall patterns
    • Reducing the albedo of the cryosphere when deposited on ice and snow, hence increasing melting rate

    As it does not stay long in the atmosphere (<15 days), 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.

    Finally, fine particle (PM2.5) air pollution has become a source of social discontent in several countries, forcing governments to search for solutions. However, awareness is uneven and the representations of pollution, of its causes, impacts and possible solutions vary greatly from country to country. Understanding how air pollution becomes a public concern and what are the narratives circulating between civil society and the authorities on this issue is therefore crucial to ensure the diffusion of scientific knowledge and its translation into sustainable policies.


    Schéma SOOT-SEA


    South East Asia (SEA) is one of the major hotspots of anthropogenic BC in terms of emission, concentration and deposition. Hence, this region crystallizes all the problematics related to BC, at the climate-health-ecosystems-societies interfaces. However, there are currently large uncertainties concerning the concentrations, fluxes, reactivity and impacts of BC (are more generally, about fine particle air pollution) in the atmosphere, rivers and marine waters.

    In this context, the aim of the IRN SOOT-SEA is to stimulate research, innovation, observation and capacity-building activities related to the impacts of BC on climate, health, ecosystem and societies. The main objectives of SOOT-SEA are to:

    • Promote and structure the development of research on BC, both in its atmospheric and marine dimensions
    • Establish a regional monitoring network of the concentrations and characteristics of atmospheric, riverine and marine BC in order to better assess the sources, stocks, and fluxes of BC in SEA
    • Inform the general public and provide science-based knowledge to decision makers regarding the intricate health, climate, ecosystem and social BC-issues



    Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography, France

    Institute of Environmental Geosciences, France

    Laboratory of Aerology, France

    Laboratory of Space Geophysical and Oceanographic Studies, France

    Local heritage, environment and globalization, France

    University of Science and Technology of Hanoi, Vietnam

    Institute of Marine Environment and Resources, Vietnam

    Institute of Natural Product Chemistry, Vietnam

    Faculty of Information Technology, University of Engineering and Technology, Vietnam National University HanoiVietnam

    Department of Environmental Engineering, University of Science, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh City,​​​​​ Vietnam

    Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology, Vietnam National University Ho Chi Minh CityVietnam

    Department of Marine Sciences, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand

    School of Environment Resources and Development, Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand

    Environmental Science Research Center, Chiang Mai University, Thailand

    Regional Center for Social Sciences and Sustainable Development (RCSD), Chiang Mai University, Thailand

  • IRN WIN: Worldwide Insecticide resistance Network

    Initiated in March 2016, the WIN network was formed under the impetus of IRD and CNRS. It is the first international network for monitoring the resistance of mosquito vectors of arboviroses to insecticides.

    The main objective is to monitor and combat the resistance of mosquito vectors of arboviroses to insecticides.

    Specific objectives are to:

    • Establish a global surveillance system for resistance in mosquito vectors of arboviroses
    • Identify research gaps and priorities in vector control and resistance management
    • Guide WHO and public health agencies in making decisions on resistance management and mosquito control

    WIN's mission is to support research by mobilizing dedicated funds for research projects conducted jointly by network member institutes.

    The priority themes are the characterization of genetic mechanisms of resistance, the development of diagnostic tests and predictive models of mosquito dispersion and resistance, and the study of the operational impact of resistance. The network also aims to promote innovative control strategies to eliminate resistant mosquitoes and to bring together the scientific community by organizing, every two years, an international conference on resistance and control strategies of arbovirosis vectors. Finally, the network aims to organize and facilitate training workshops for public health actors, in order to build capacity in medical entomology.

    The network has established a global reference database allowing each country to know the situation of resistance at the local level, and thus to guide the strategies to be implemented to face resistant mosquitoes.


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

    Local partner: Katsetsart University

    Funding: IRD tool (IRN)

    Contact: Vincent Corbel

Health Research

© GraphicRoyalty

Past research projects

  • 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

  • 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.


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

    Contact: Nicole Ngo-Giang-Huong

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