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Signature UMA INRA-Cirad. © INRA, Christophe Maître

INRA-CIRAD: a long tradition of collaboration

On Friday, 6 February 2015, Michel Eddi, CIRAD President, and François Houllier, INRA President, signed an agreement to establish a joint international relations unit. The two spoke about their long history of working together and outlined the new unit’s international aims.

By Eric Connehaye, translated by Daniel McKinnon
Updated on 02/17/2015
Published on 02/13/2015

The atmosphere was relaxed this Friday midday in François Houllier’s sunny office as the INRA President welcomed Michel Eddi, CIRAD President, to formally establish a Joint Support Unit for International Relations (UMA-RI), marking the start of many years of future collaboration.

Houllier and Eddi were enthusiastic as they shared the story of the Unit’s creation. “The establishment of this joint support unit is a part of a longstanding move to increase CIRAD and INRA’s international exposure. The move began in 2007 with the creation of the French Initiative for International Agricultural Research (IFRAI). This was superseded in 2009 when the Agreenium consortium was established as a national scientific cooperation agency”.

Managing our international relations

Houllier and Eddi were jovial and shared anecdotes as they signed the agreement outlining the new Unit’s mission. “The experiences and lessons learned through the [Agreenium] consortium about cooperation encouraged us to pursue a path of jointly managing our international relations. This joint support unit will allow the international relations resources of each organisation to be pooled, and, through its Steering Committee, the Unit will be a platform for regularly exchanging information about current activities and future opportunities.”

Towards IAV2F

The agreement was concluded with a friendly handshake between the two Presidents in the presence of Robert Habib, Head of International Affairs at INRA and future director of the Joint Support Unit. The Unit has been created as a part of larger institutional changes and is designed to act as a focal point for international relations. “Agreenium made it possible to develop a beneficial network of international relations managers. The upcoming establishment of the French Institute for Agronomy, Veterinary Science, and Forestry (IAV2F) will make it possible to continue this cooperation among international relations policy makers within IAV2F’s member organisations.”