CIRAD Department of Research and Strategy is co-leader of WP5 (Management and Coordination). CIRAD is involved in WP1 (Support to the FNSSA Partnership and the HLPD Bureau) as well as in WP3 (Support for the design and implementing tools and concepts in knowledge management). 

AGRONOMIQUE POUR LE DEVELOPPEMENT – C.I.R.A.D. EPIC will no longer assume the role
of coordinator and will be replaced by FORUM FOR AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH IN AFRICA,


  • Philippe Petithuguenin (m) is Research and Strategy Deputy Director. As farming system agronomist by training, he worked in the field of Agricultural Research for Development, at project, programme and policy level, for 30 years, including 20 years of posting outside France (Africa and Latin America). He also assumed institutional tasks, representing INRA and CIRAD in Brazil for 5 years. He worked for the European Commission for 3 years advising EC-DG RTD on activities of international cooperation related to Agricultural Research with developing countries and emerging economies and with international organizations like the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). He currently is the co-chair of the SCAR Working Group ARCH (Agricultural Research against global Challenges). He is very involved in the dialogue in R&I between the EU and the AU, having co-chaired the group of European and African experts who wrote the FNSSA Roadmap (approved in 2016), leading the ProIntensAfrica project (jointly with partners from WUR and FARA) and being a member of the HLPD FNSSA WG (representing France).
  • Jacques Lançon (m) joined CIRAD in 1981, where he developed an extensive experience of research and project management, institutional partnership, applied research for development, and collective action in a diversity of institutions, societies and cultures. He spent 27 years out of France, being posted, for more than 20 years, at partners’ institutions, mainly in Africa or in the Indian Ocean. From 2010 to 2016, Dr Lançon was the Regional Director for CIRAD in Eastern and Southern Africa (Nairobi). From 2006 to 2010, he was advisor to the General Director of the Institut National de Recherche Agronomique du Bénin (INRAB) and Coordinator of large project. As a researcher, Dr Lançon has been responsible for projects or programs on participatory plant breeding, multi-actor platforms and seed exchanges with various crps, in particular Cotton, in Benin (1996-2000), Ivory Coast (1990-1994), Cameroon (1986-1990) and Zambia (1981-1985). He also coordinated multi-disciplinary and conceptual works on how to design new cropping systems (2000-2004), as well as regional participatory breeding designs (2002-2010). As a development officer, he instructed loans for the Development Bank of Vanuatu (1979-1980). He was appointed in 2016 as CIRAD Senior Advisor on African Institutions and Policies. He has also been actively involved since 2012 in the CAASTNet Plus project (component 1 on Food and Nutrition Security).
  • Jean-Michel Sers (m) is Head of European Affairs at CIRAD since 2014. He graduated in International and European law and business administration. He first worked as project officer at the European Commission on issues of energy technology promotion and programs coordination and implementation (1995-2000). He was then policy officer in charge of research and innovation cooperation between EU and South Asian countries at the European Commission, DirectorateGeneral for Research and Innovation (2009-2013). His tasks included conduct and development of research and innovation policy dialogue with majors’ Asian country partners of EU, including the preparation of policy and position papers. During the period 2000-2009, he worked successively in two major French public research organizations implementing energy and agriculture projects.
  • Pierre Martin (m) is a senior research scientist in computer science (PhD) at CIRAD since 1995. In 2009, he capitalized his strong experience in developing and coupling simulation models for environmental sciences in the context of national and international projects (e.g. STD-3, PRASAC,EU-FP 6) to obtain his PhD. His interest for associating local and academic knowledge drove him to specialize in knowledge management. He currently leads the construction of a knowledge management system applied to agri-chains for an economic intelligence perspective and another one applied to agroecology for scientific and development purposes. His expertise in plant health drove him to participate as an expert since 2014 to working groups of the French governmental agency for food, Environmental and Occupational Health & safety (Anses).
  • Mathieu Roche (m) is a Senior Research Scientist (PhD, HDR) at CIRAD – TETIS research unit. Currently he is leader of SISO group (i.e. Spatial Information, Modelling, Data Mining, and Knowledge Extraction) at TETIS. Between 2005 and 2013, he has been Associate Professor (Maître de Conférences) at University Montpellier 2, France. Mathieu Roche obtained a PhD in Computer Science from University Paris 11 (Orsay) in 2004. He defended his HDR (Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches – Accreditation to supervise research) in 2011. At LIRMM, he was coleader (2010-2012) and leader (2012-2013) of TEXT group. At the University Montpellier 2, he was in charge of the Master “Intégration de Compétences” (2008-2011). Mathieu Roche led several academic and industrial projects in text-mining (e.g. Songes – FEDER, Animitex – CNRS, Resens – CNRS, Senterritoire – MSH-M). He has supervised 13 PhD students and he has been co-chair of 12 conferences and workshops. Mathieu Roche published more than 180 papers in conferences and journals..
  • Thierry Helmer is a computer engineer who joined CIRAD in 1989. He is in charge of information and communication projects in cooperation at CIRAD. For 10 years, he held several managerial positions in the field of computer science and scientific and technical information. Since 2003, he participates (consultant) or manages (project manager, workpackage leader) international cooperation projects. The most significant are the SIST (Scientific and Technical Information System) project “Support to the structuring and development of information and communication systems in higher education and research institutions in Africa and Madagascar”, to the French Ministry of European and Foreign Affairs, the SPIRAL projects (Science Policy Interfaces for Biodiversity: Research, Actions, and Learning) or the PAEPARD project (Platform for African-European Partnership on Agricultural Research for Development) for the European Commission. As part of these projects, he designs, implements and set up innovative open source solutions for collaborative work, information system, research and access to information and knowledge management.
  • Joël Sor is CIRAD’s Director of Information Systems (CIO) in charge of developing IT and digital policy. He joined CIRAD in the 1980s and has worked on several partnership projects in Africa, America and Asia (Thailand and China). During these years he has participated in and managed both research projects in the IT field, as well as information system construction projects. He has played an important role in the Europe-Africa partnership platform PAEPARD of which he is the European coordinator on behalf of AGRINATURA. As part of a support to the HLPD Road Map he participated in the project cluster with CaasNet, Rinea, ProIntensAfrica.
  • Sasha Legrand (f) has been Executive assistant of the Head of Research and Strategy Department at CIRAD since 2007. Before joining CIRAD, she graduated in Graphics Communication and worked as Graphist in a Mexican company for 5 years. She will be in charge of coordinating the administrative, financial and organisational matters, as well as liaising with the internal and external communication systems.