Since the end of 2014, higher education and research in New Caledonia have been structured around the Consortium for Research, Higher Education and Innovation in New Caledonia (CRESICA). Research and innovation undertaken by higher education institutions and local and national research bodies are broadly coordinated through CRESICA with a view to optimising and pooling resources and equipment. BRGM, CNRS, CHT, Cirad, IAC, Ifremer, IPNC, IRD and UNC constitute the nine members of CRESICA.
CRESICA: shaped by collective debate
The framework agreement for this partnership was officially signed on 25 September 2014 in Paris. A process of collective debate and deliberation led to the statement of a shared determination to coordinate research activities in New Caledonia more effectively by identifying ways to pool and streamline resources closely interlinking education-research-innovation and transfer. The avowed wishes of the French government, the New Caledonian government and the Provincial authorities responsible for development, and the ambitions of the major academic institutions were thus united. The fact that New Caledonia’s various research capabilities are fragmented according to thematic scope is a powerful argument for:
- cooperation between institutions with a view to promoting the joint development of major projects by optimising use of scientific capabilities;
- mutual benefits;
- the need for a visible and locally and internationally acknowledged identity to broaden the scope of work and extend the sphere of influence.
New Caledonia’s research and higher education institutions therefore came together to found CRESICA, tasked with building strong links between institutions as part of a close partnership with the French government, New Caledonia and its three Provinces. The founding of this Consortium is fully in line with the guidelines of the Law of 22 July 2013: “Within a given territory, which may involve one or more academic bodies or districts, on the basis of a joint project, higher education institutions and research organisations shall commit to coordinating their training opportunities and their research and transfer strategy”.
The Site Committee has jurisdiction over various areas, including:
- coordinating the Consortium’s scientific policy;
- monitoring the Consortium’s joint project to ensure consistency with national and territorial strategies;
- finalising and carrying through the Consortium’s joint project; the Committee acts as key project contact in dealings with the Ministry of Higher Education and Research;
- pronouncing on requests from organisations wishing to join the Consortium;
- centralising suggestions from members regarding the setting up of topic-based and technical committees and establishing the list of suggested rapporteurs for such committees;
- giving pre-signature approval to specific agreements concluded for pecuniary interest between members of the Consortium for the implementation of joint projects under the auspices of CRESICA, commenting on projected budgets for such agreements and reviewing financial reports;
- adopting rules of procedure setting out the Site Committee’s operational rules.
A research project facilitation and engineering unit was set up in mid-2018.
The unit provides project management support to facilitate coordination of scientific programs. Specifically, two project engineers are assigned to work with “Run of the River” program researchers to help with field initiatives. The unit also explores and assesses new collaborative projects or provides support for researchers as regards submissions in response to calls for proposals .