Updated 28/05/20

Consolidating capabilities is a key part of all IRD missions. The aim is to consolidate a fair scientific partnership with countries in the South by training students, researchers and lecturer-researchers, technicians and engineers, and thus jointly produce excellent science devoted to sustainable development and increase the visibility of the South’s scientific communities.

From training students to co-founding research laboratories

Consolidating capabilities is a condition for meeting the sustainable development goals (SDG) adopted by the United Nations in 2015. Objective 17 for the partnership postulates that differences in capabilities in less-developed countries constitute an obstacle to the achievement of these SDGs. This objective encourages “governments, civil society, the scientific and university sectors and the private sector” to unite in favour of producing knowledge, finding solutions for sustainable development and training human capital adapted to local requirements.

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© IRD - Hardi - Thibaut Vergoz (

At the IRD, a number of operators support a mission to consolidate capabilities. These obviously include researchers, via the work they do supervising students and training them in research. Alongside them, a palette of tools is being developed. These actions are carried out in partnership with operators in academic cooperation, French ?In particular: Université de Montpellier, Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Sorbonne Université, Université Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Grenoble Alpes, Université Aix Marseille, Université Côte d’Azur and Université Paul Sabatier de Toulouse and European universities and of course the universities and research centres of the South.

They are aimed at consolidating the following skills:

  • For individuals: ARTS programme, South-North mobilities, training workshops
  • For scientific collectives: “structured training projects”, JEAI, GDRI
  • For academic and scientific institutions: “structured training projects”, LMI, partnership training projects

South thesis bursaries


Are you a student in a country in the South looking to take a thesis with the IRD? The ARTS programme (“research grants for theses in the South”) offers the possibility of carrying out a thesis as a sandwich course between an IRD research team and a South research team.

You will receive financial support for a maximum period of 36 months, 3 return flights between the countries in which the thesis is realised, and health insurance.

© IRD - Nabil El Kente

To apply, please contact an IRD research director at one of the IRD laboratories and elaborate your research project with them. These projects are submitted to laboratory directors once per year between June and September and are selected internally. The responses are published in December of every year. For questions please contact:

For more information on taking a doctorate: #IRDTalents

  • 116

    doctorate students currently supported in 41 different countries

  • 50

    bursaries awarded in 2020

  • 49

    IRD units concerned




doctorate students currently supported in 41 different countries

bursaries awarded in 2020

IRD units concerned

Base-building projects for training in the South (PSF-South)

The IRD assists sponsors of training programmes in the South. Selected projects will receive joint financing of €10,000 per year for 3 years as well as support with elaborating the project or making it a success. This scheme is aimed at IRD teams and scientific personnel and institutions from the South (project co-sponsorship).

The PSF-South 2020 call is open.

For more information: visit the call page

List of selected PSF-South:

Training workshops

These are designed to bolster the skills of students, engineers, technicians, researchers and lecturer-researchers in writing scientific articles and promoting the results of research, via communication with the general public, and searching for financing.

Since 2011, over 250 partner scientists have participated in these workshops. 

These workshops allow not only an exchange of expertise but also a strong interdisciplinarity, which strengthens the links between different scientific fields and research networks.

Training workshops

Partnership training projects

These projects are long-term in nature and are co-sponsored by flagship partners in academic and scientific cooperation.

  • Sustainable Development Goals Summer School

    The SDG summer school, co-sponsored with Aix Marseille Université (AMU) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to bring doctorate students, researchers and stakeholders involved in sustainable development together for a collective debate on an SDG.



    WANASEA (“Strengthen the Production, Management and Outreach Capacities of Research in the Field of WAter and NAtural Resources in South-Est Asia”) is a project co-financed by the Erasmus + project - Reinforcing capabilities. The consortium comprises 9 partners from South-East Asia (Cambodia, Vietnam and Thailand) and 6 European partners (France, Denmark and Spain). The project proposes training and networking actions centred on the topic of water and associated natural resources.


  • Digital resources/MOOC

    Because it bridges distances and transforms how we learn and teach, digital technology has become a quintessential tool for training. For the IRD, which produces multidisciplinary science in partnership with the South, it is a powerful tool for co-constructing and sharing knowledge.

    The IRD produces digital resources jointly with its partners. These can be free digital resources (MOOC, learning modules and sequences shared in the libraries of virtual universities) or resources intended for a specific, restricted public.

    The “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) - Let’s work together to meet the challenge!” MOOC provides keys to understanding the 17 SDGs and the way in which they interact with each other, as well as ideas and suggestions for concrete action. It was co-financed by the IRD, AUF, the Veolia Foundation, the Ministry for Ecological and Social Transition/General Commission for Sustainable Development, AFD and CGE.

  • Training in soil

    This training, provided in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Studies in Sustainable Development (IHEDD), covers the role of soil in ecological transitions in countries in both the South and the North, in urban and rural environments. It is aimed at professionals, NGO operators and technical departments, researchers and students in the North or South involved with agriculture or developing or managing natural and urban areas.


    PARFAO ("promoting agricultural ecology via research and training in West Africa”) is a project co-sponsored by the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie in Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Senegal. Its aim is to support the training of 10 doctorate students from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast and Senegal and to develop innovative agricultural ecology projects.


    ECOTROP is a field training programme in tropical ecology supported by a consortium of 11 partners from the North and South. 3 schools offer students total immersion in the field and exposure to the reality and restrictions of a sampling campaign:

    • On the topic of “forests, savannahs and rivers” in Lopé National Park in Gabon
    • On the topic of “beaches, mangroves and estuaries” in the Arc d’Émeraude National Park in Gabon
    • On the topic of “agricultural systems, lakes and peat bogs” in Oku in Cameroon