French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development

About French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development

CIRAD ( is a public establishment (EPIC) under the joint authority of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation and the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs.



Higher Education and Training Service 
Office of the Director General in charge of Research and Strategy
TA 180/04
Avenue Agropolis
34398 Montpellier Cedex 5
E-mail :

Its activities concern the life sciences, social sciences and engineering sciences, applied to agriculture, the environment and territorial management.
Its work centres on several main topics: food security, climate change, natural resource management, reduction of inequalities and poverty alleviation. CIRAD works with its partners in southern countries to generate and pass on new knowledge to support agricultural development. It puts its scientific and institutional expertise at the disposal of policymakers in those countries and global debates on the main issues concerning agriculture. It also supports French scientific diplomacy operations.

Cirad in figures:

  • A staff of 1650, including 800 researchers.
  • Joint operations with more than 100 countries and 200 organizations.
  • Three scientific departments: Biological Systems (BIOS), Performance of Tropical Production and Processing Systems (PERSYST), and Environment and Societies (ES).
  • 33 research units.
  • 14 regional offices throughout the world.
  • Some 20 collective research Tools open to partners from the South and from Europe.
  • Almost 5 million euros spent on PhD courses.
  • More than 400 PhD students supervised each year, 60% of them from southern countries.
  • International Masters courses set up with grandes écoles or universities in the South.
  • 800 researchers and technicians from all over the world received and trained each year.
  • An annual budget of 200 million euros in 2016.

Research Topics and Strategies

In response to the economic, social and environmental changes resulting from globalization, CIRAD has renewed its scientific strategy, which now centres on six priority lines of research, accompanied by a new geographical partnership strategy aimed at expanding and consolidating its international cooperation structure.

The world around us is ever-changing, largely as a result of pressure from economic globalization and new communication methods.

The growth in food and energy requirements has put agriculture firmly back in the international spotlight. The future of agricultural activities and of the people involved in them is a major global issue.

An agricultural science that crosses borders, that is open to the outside and respects people, territories and the environment, is what is required to address the major development issues.

PhD Studies

CIRAD maintains close links with higher education establishments in North and South. Its researchers are particularly heavily involved in training PhD students and receiving post-docs. Training in and through research is an essential part of CIRAD's remit.

CIRAD backs up its PhD training policy with incentive operations and research grants intended for PhD and post-doc students working on topics considered to be of strategic importance.

Around a dozen new half-scholarships are awarded per academic year.
In all, CIRAD devotes more than 2 million euros to PhD training each year. Almost 60% of the PhD students supervised by CIRAD researchers come from countries in the global South.