The Indo-French scientific cooperation is more than three decades old. The Inter Governmental Agreement for Cooperation in the field of Science and Technology was concluded on 18th July 1978 in New Delhi. The Indo –French S&T cooperation has a long and rich history wherein strong bonds have been created between Indian and French Scientists.
The Indo-French Centre for the Promotion of Advanced Research (IFCPAR) or Centre Franco-Indien Pour la Promotion de la RechercheAvancée (CEFIPRA) is a model for bilateral R&D cooperation in advanced areas of science and technology. The Centre was established in 1987. CEFIPRA supports high quality research groups through collaborative research projects in advanced areas of basic and applied science to nurture scientific competency. So far, around 500 projects have been supported and around 2500 Scientists exchange organised by the Centre. It also provides linkages between industry and academia of France and India by leveraging the research skills of academia to enhance the competitiveness of the Industrial partner involved. For enabling knowledge-sharing on science and technology in the areas of current relevance, it also organises seminars/workshops. As there is a strong desire from both the countries to create an enabling environment which strengthens the Science, Technology & Innovation (STI) of both the countries and ability to translate knowledge towards creating global common goods, the orginsation has introduced different innovative programmes through public private partnership mode.
Collaboration to develop better water technologies is underway through a variety of joint projects in the form of ‘Indo-French Cell on Water Sciences’ at Bangalore, ‘Indo-French Centre for Ground Water Research’ at Hyderabad and ‘Indo-French Programme for Research on Weather & Climate’ at Goa. During the visit (December 2010) of French President Nicolas Sarkozy to India, an MoU between Institut de Recherche Pour le Development (IRD),France and Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore (India) was signed to set up an International joint laboratory called the Indo French Cell for Water Sciences. Since 2014, the MoU has been renewed for the period of another 4 years and it now involves the National Institiue of Oceanography, Goa ; the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorolgy, Pune ; and 6 French reserach institutes as principal partners.
Since 2008, the Geological Survey of India and the Bureau de Recherches Geologiques at Minieres have expanded their cooperation on areas of geo-thermal energy, ground water resource management, sub-soil storage of CO2 and geological mapping. Combined research and training of scientists in the fields of biotechnology, bioinformatics, pharmacogenomics and agrarian research (ICAR) is separately undertaken between our Department of Biotechnology and laboratories of the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA). During the visit of our Prime Minister in April 2015, an MoU has been signed between Dept of Biotechnology, CNRS and Universite Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC) regarding setting up of a National Institute of Marine Biololgy and Biotechnology in Goa with hub and model network of laboratories in marine regions of Andaman and Lakshadweep..
A number of MoUs have been signed between India and France to strengthen bilateral cooperation in area of applied sciences. A MoU was signed (January 2012) between Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and DST for establishment of Applied Mathematics Center at Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore. Another MoU has also been signed (Jan 2012) by CNRS for establishment of International Associated Laboratory in Informatics in Chennai with Chennai Mathematical Institute, Institute of Mathematical Sciences and IISc. During the visit of our Hon’ble Prime to France in April 2015, CNRS signed an MoU with Department of S&T, Government of India for furthering cooperation in the field of science and technology.
There are several Indo French Joint labs operational in India and France. Most of them are virtual labs where the reserchers work in their own institituions and exchange their findings and occcsaionally meet to discuss further. Therefore, these are projects with no physical existence of one roof where reserachers work together.