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La lutte antivectorielle en France

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Didier Fontenille
, 
Christophe Lagneau
, 
Sylvie Lecollinet
, 
et al.

English Version

Objectives and methods of the Expert Group review

Stéphane Raud

Texte intégral

1The expert reviews are launched and conducted by the Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) “to order” in response to commission requests, to shed light on major issues of society in order to enlighten political decisions and public debate. It is an integral aspect of a public research establishment’s mission to make research findings and researchers’ knowledge available for society at large.

2Taking as basis a well-proven methodology adopted for the expert review procedure, the IRD sets out, to exacting standards, to gather together and analyse the knowledge on a set subject available in specialist literature, bring out the important points and their significance, draw conclusions and propose firm recommendations on which the scientists can agree. They then identify the points still subject to controversy and specify the fields for which the available works are found to be insufficient.

3Three considerations are taken into account to accomplish this type of review:

  • The time for making a decision is not the same as that for doing research: it is often much shorter. Leading officials are often called upon to take decisions rapidly– sometimes highly pressurized under an emergency. The expert review is organized so as to conduct a state-of-the-art study of existing knowledge in the international literature: it does not entail data collection or making complex new derivations from information.
  • The question a commissioning body asks rarely concerns a single discipline: light must be shed simultaneously on all facets of the set of problems presented, taking account of the most recent literature. This is why a multidisciplinary group, comprising a dozen or so specialist experts, is set up to investigate. The conclusions and recommendations are discussed and taken collectively by the experts, under the terms of a “collegiate” responsibility. The IRD has the report read through by qualified figures external to the expert group to verify that the account is complete, check that it is clearly expressed and that it conforms to the standards of international literature. The expert group retains authority over its conclusions.
  • Finally, to ease understanding of the analyses, conclusions and recommendations formulated by the experts from different disciplines, the summarized overview of their contributions must be written in concise language, accessible to non-specialists. To this end, the IRD publishes it in its “Expertise collégiale” report series intended for a fairly wide audience, indeed beyond the region or country concerned by the review.

4The exact terms of the questions formulated with the commission request are defined as precisely as possible by holding a preliminary workshop in order to have detailed consultations between the commissioning bodies, representatives of the scientific communities concerned and, possibly, the various parties involved. Agreement must be reached on exactly what each side expects of the other. For instance, some questions, however crucial for the particular decisions concerned, cannot be dealt with through the scientific approach and it is therefore advisable to leave them aside. Whereas the scientists involved, in order to target their conclusions effectively, must be guided by a sound knowledge of the context in which the decisions must be taken.

5To conduct this expert review, a group of 15 experts, researchers and specialists, was constituted under the chairmanship of Didier Fontenille (see the “Composition of the expert group” in Appendix 3). The result of the collegiate work conducted, presented in this book, is a scientific response to the questions that the five commissioning ministries put before the IRD by joint commission request on 18 January 2008.

6We must express our deep gratitude to Didier Fontenille, who has chaired and led the expert group with unstinting commitment and a great openness of mind, which ensured the accomplishment of this indispensable comprehensive review of knowledge.

7The IRD also wishes to thank the different participants in this expert review and, first of all, the members of the Steering Committee who maintained the crucial relationship that must exist between the commissioning bodies and the experts throughout the process. Next the Institution thanks all the experts who had the responsibility and the merit of bringing a collective investigation to its conclusion, and more especially to the members of the Scientific Coordination Committee.

8Finally, warm thanks must go to the Pôle expertise et consultance of the IRD Department of Expertise and Valorization which, under the responsibility of Sylvain Robert, successfully guided, accompanied and ensured the smooth operation of this expert group review to a very tight schedule.

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© IRD Éditions, 2009

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