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.