18 January 2013

Africa: France Launches U.S.$12 Million Tech Transfer Project

Abidjan — A French research initiative has been launched with the aim of transferring technology and practical knowledge to developing countries in the global South.

The initiative, known as Valorisation Sud (southern development) is spearheaded by the French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD), the Pasteur Institute, the Institute of Research for Development (IRD) and four universities in the French overseas regions.

According to Stéphane Raud, director of technology transfer at IRD, the scheme has a budget of €9 million (US$12 million) for a period of ten years from 2013-2023. A funding agreement was signed last month (17 December), and work on the project began this month.

"This initiative should facilitate the economic development of technologies stemming from French research for boosting development in southern countries", Raud tells SciDev.Net.

He says the scheme will also work to optimise scientific research for maximum benefit to developing countries. It will also provide assistance to research institutes in France that have a presence in developing countries.

It will help developing countries manage intellectual property. It will also work to build a portfolio of 800-1000 technology patents and contribute to the marketing, promotion, and pre-industrial development of products and technologies.

"The initiative will also work to implement projects and create innovative enterprises," Raud says. He adds that, through shared knowledge, "we will obtain far better results".

According to the French National Research Agency, France directs ten per cent of its trade towards developing countries and devotes seven per cent of its national research capacity to development issues, by mobilising around 7,000 scientists involved in scientific research focused on development issues.

Germain N'dri, a researcher at the University Félix Houphouet Boigny in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, welcomes the launch of an initiative for technology transfer adapted to the markets of African underdeveloped countries. He hopes it will enable French researchers to share more than 50 years of experience with their colleagues in developing countries.

"The [initiative] opens up new opportunities for enhancing the value of inventions and know-how stemming from French research in favour of the development of southern countries," says N'dri.

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