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In November 2004, six European research organisations with a strong focus on agricultural research for development decided to seal their collaboration by setting up a formal consortium with legal status: ECART-EEIG:

CIRAD, Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (France)
IAO, Istituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare (Italy)
IICT, Instituto de Investigacão Cientifica Tropical (Portugal)
IRD, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (France)
NRI, Natural Resources Institute (Great Britain)
Wageningen UR, Wageningen University and Research Centre (the Netherlands)

ECART-EEIG offers European research skills and expertise in agricultural research for development (ARD) in an accessible manner and encourages effective co-ordination of research activities within Europe.

Three main objectives are assigned to ECART-EEIG:

1. To play a pro-active policy advocacy role for agricultural research for development in Europe and worldwide;
2. To develop and strengthen strategic alliances and partnerships with the different ARD stakeholders, both in the North and the South;
3. To organize, facilitate and implement joint participation in European and international ARD programs and projects.

All ECART members have a history of extensive field involvement in ARD issues in developing countries. Through this EEIG, around 4,000 professional research staff, covering the whole gamut of development issues, can be easily and effectively mobilized. The added value of the EEIG lies in the complementarity between the fields of excellence of its individual members, which allows us to build first class teams of experts to address the exact needs of the partners.

ECART-EEIG is established for an initial six-year period and is hosted by CIRAD in Paris. Dr. Bram Huijsman from Wageningen UR (the Netherlands) is President of ECART's Members Assembly. Vice-President is Dr. Alice Perlini from IAO (Italy). Daily management and contact person is with the ECART Director, Dr. Christian Hoste from CIRAD (France).