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Circulation of knowledge and intermediaries

p. 33-36

Texte intégral

1The identification of the stakeholders whom we refer to as “intermediaries” in this study, is particularly important, because they take ownership of all kinds of research outcomes, and then develop them and/or transform them into objects, concepts, regulations, etc., which have an impact on society.

2The intermediaries in this study are numerous and varied. Some of them were involved in conducting the research. Witnesses of and/or participants in these processes were interviewed in order to better understand how this transition from research outcomes to impacts actually occurs. In most cases, this transition requires a chain of interests, creativity and competencies, often combined with innovation and above all time and collaboration, in order to transform these sometimes very fundamental findings into a benefit for a community.

3It should be stressed that communities in New Caledonia are closely linked and in constant interaction. This Dialogue – sometimes calm, sometimes tense, but ever-present and always diverse in terms of its components – is both an asset and a handicap to the impact-generation process. It is deeply rooted in the community and enduring, even if it is never perfect!

4These are the stakeholders we interviewed in order to discover their interpretation of this adventure and its repercussions on their community and on New Caledonian society. They were the people who provided the content of this report. The interviewees are listed at the end of the document.

The “Institut agronomique néo-calédonien”

5Also involved in conducting the research, the New Caledonian Agronomic Institute played a key role in the implementation of the Environmental Code. The institute disseminates knowledge of ecosystems, biodiversity and all land restoration methodologies included in the Environmental Code.

Public authorities

6Different types of public authorities exist in New Caledonia, from the government, its departments and the various provinces including the Kanak tribes, to various committees such as the CCR (Research Advisory Council), established under the Nouméa Accord, which covers the research component of the territory represented by researchers including IRD staff and the CMM (Municipal Mining Committee), and the CICS (Information, Consultation and Monitoring Committee) for the Vale-NC site (formerly Goro Nickel), in which members of the research team were actively involved as experts. All of these stakeholders are involved in implementing the legal regulations in force, i.e. the provincial Mining Codes, the government’s Environmental Code and the asbestos regulations. They also contribute to the strategy and programming of major resources such as the observatory known as “L’Œil” (The Eye), and the CNRT. These stakeholders are far-removed from the research outcomes but in contact with the people who use them directly and others who defend society’s interests. They therefore act as an interface and bring the two components together, producing benefits for society while taking the various stakeholders’ interests into consideration.

7The DRRT (Regional Directorate of Research and Technology) plays a particularly important role in the implementation of these processes, operating at this interface between the various institutions and intervening at all levels – from political to institutional – in order to promote ideas and programmes and help bring them to fruition.

Bureau of Industry, Mines and Energy – New Caledonia (Dimenc)

8Dimenc is attached to both the Government of New Caledonia and the High Commission of the Republic (State). However, we felt it was important to give a special mention to its Geology Department, which plays a very active role as a bridge between the research outcomes and their practical applications. The continuum between the academic world and Dimenc is sustained by the funding of Cifre grants for staff employed in the department. As they possess their own laboratories, programmes and research interests, this creates an entire community of researchers with shared interests, which certainly contributes to raising the awareness of the importance of research outcomes at the highest level of the public authorities.

Mining operators

9SLN-Eramet, Glencore-SMSP and Vale-NC have taken direct ownership of the research outcomes in the form of recommendations, guides, standards, etc., which have been submitted by the researchers. In addition to directly modifying their practices, these deliverables have also informed the Dialogue between mining companies and the public authorities concerning the implementation of the Mining Code.

10They have also been directly involved in establishing the CNRT. They now contribute to the programming of research in this centre and to defining the orientations of calls for projects.

Local populations, associations and NGOs (including the WWF)

11These locally born or based people and organisations participate in the transformation of research outcomes while benefiting from their spin-offs. Their mobilisation and contribution to public debate at different key moments in the history of their territory were partly responsible for the creation of the independent observatory known as “L’Œil” (The Eye). Their actions have also led to the implementation of more accessible, inclusive and comprehensible information processes providing real-time information about the consequences of mining activity on the quality of life.

12Citizens are also involved in associations such as Adevy, which, with the mining operator’s assistance, help to Incorporate laboratory-based theoretical knowledge into farmers’ practices to enable the revegetation of degraded sites. This vector for the transmission of knowledge of biodiversity and cultivation methods generates a significant amount of paid work, and therefore makes a significant and economically sustainable financial contribution to families’ lives. The mining operator’s environmental manager carried out his doctoral studies at IRD and has maintained constant links with IRD and scientific partners (IAC in particular).

Students trained in research laboratories

13Students have transmitted outcomes and knowledge to society by creating innovative service companies. In addition to making expertise in different innovative fields available to society, their activities have also helped to create employment throughout the territory. Their development gives society faster access to the benefits of scientific advances. The acquisition of new expertise often proves too costly for established companies, which can be an obstacle to the implementation of best practices. Start-ups offering constantly evolving services make the best practices readily available to professionals by staying in touch with developments in the research fields from which they originate. It should be noted that links with the Adecal-IRD incubator are particularly important and guarantee win-win exchanges between researchers and the business sector.

The University of New Caledonia (UNC)

14The UNC plays a appropriate role is in training students who will, in the future, contribute to their local communities and become specialised employees with a strong awareness of the value added by links with research. They will continue to uphold the values generated by diversity in communities, including in the research community.


15Some of the participating researchers are “transmitters” of their own results and advocates for research culture. To this end, they participate in numerous scientific councils. They are responsible for ensuring the consideration of factual research data in the various programming decisions on which they issue opinions. Their commitment to serving the common interest is commendable.

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Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence Creative Commons - Attribution - Pas d'Utilisation Commerciale - Pas de Modification 4.0 International - CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.