The Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR, or CEFIPRA) is a model for bilateral cooperation in Science and Technology. The Centre established in 1987 receives equal financial support from the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of France. It promotes collaborative research between India and France in cutting edge Science and Technology.
Genesis. The idea of setting up a joint centre for promoting collaboration between Indian and French scientists came up first during a discussion between Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. This suggestion was reiterated by M. Valéry Giscard d’Estaing in 1980. The Centre was registered as a Society under the Indian Societies Registration Act in April 1986; the Governing Body first met in May 1987; and the Centre became functional on 9th September, 1987, when the first Director of the Centre assumed charges.
Added values. As a single window for the scientific community from both countries for application to R&D grant, it permits great visibility, easier monitoring and control, and avoids multiplicity of bureaucracy. Hence, there is a true flexibility in the administrative procedures for both countries. In 2002, in order to bridge the gap between private and public sector, the CEFIPRA has started an Industrial Research Programme, to enhance French and Indian industrial potential. Although, the amount of projects submitted to this window is extremely low (not more than 20 in 10 years), this programme can display a patent, a actual product and helped in creating a start up with less than ten projects funded. This can be explained by a lack of visibility and communication, but also, to a certain extent, because of lack of R&D culture in Indian private sector, as well as limitation of grants.
A flexible tool to fund Research and Innovation. CEFIPRA can manage any public or private Indian or French funds, coming from foundations, universities, companies, ministers, donors, etc. On the basis of its 27 years of experience of funding projects and seminars, and to respond to the industrial needs of Indo-French cooperation, in March 2012, CEFIPRA has evolved and has launched a comprehensive strategy addressing industrial competitiveness and R&D-led innovation. This was translated into an expansion of CEFIPRA to open up to resources to fund Indo-French projects in Research and Innovation, and allow CEFIPRA to be the platform for launching targeted programmes funded by different Indian and French agencies, companies, etc.
CEFIPRA is adopting a proactive and partnership approach with the French and Indian governments, industries, research and academic organisations. The primary goal is to provide a platform to French and Indian industries in collaboration with research institutions and universities and to ensure that industry and society as a whole benefit from the outcome.
Four programmes. As per the Governing Body 2012 resolution, four windows are created to ensure transparency and the continuity of existing activities.
1/ CEFIPRA Blue Sky is the regular activity mutually funded by both Governments bottom-up science and technology.
2/ CEFIPRA Innovation promotes research in the development of new processes, products, solution design, etc. Funded by any public or private organizations, foundations, universities, companies, ministries (different from DST & MAEE), donors, etc. In this window the nature of call for proposals (projects or seminars) could be targeted calls in a two-step proposal submissions as for example: (step 1) submission of a 2-3 pages concept proposal describing the objectives, methodology, potential impact, budget; (step 2) after in-principle approval from CEFIPRA, preparation of a detailed proposal with expected outcome, role of partners and detailed financial implication.
3/Targeted Programs offers the possibility to Indian and/or French scientific partner organizations to use CEFIPRA for administering their collaborative projects and/or seminars. Funded by any partner organizations (including universities, foundations and companies) and possibly, the DST and/or other Indian and French Funding Agencies or Departments. The nature of call of proposals consists in targeted calls identified/defined by the stakeholders. For each targeted call, a dedicated steering committee including representatives of the partner/stakeholder organization, the director of CEFIPRA, and observers will ensure the effective development of processes.
4/ CEFIPRA Support to New Initiatives offers the possibility to Indian and French partners who wish to create a joint research structure (network, joint labs or units…), Academic Chairs, Industrial Chairs, fellowships programs to use CEFIPRA for administering their program for a limited period of time to facilitate its settlement. Funding and Steering committee should be committed to transparency and efficiency of the establishment of such structures.
Visit the CEFIPRA website : www.cefipra.org