Internship Offer : Social Network Analysis – CIRAD (Montpellier)

Microsoft Word – Olive_stage_Final2.docx

Assessing Institutional Structures, Constraints and Outcomes of Collaborative Olive Trees Genetic-based Research Programs

Intitulé de l’équipe d’accueil
UMR AGAP-Montpellier

Encadrant(s) (en France et, le cas échéant, sur le terrain hors France)
Sélim Louafi, CIRAD & B. Khadari, CBNMed


The olive tree (Olea europaea subsp. europaea) and its main products, oil and table olives, are deeply rooted in the history of Mediterranean societies due to their economic and cultural importance (Loumou et al. 2003). Cultivated olive consists in a wide diversity of more than 2,000 described varieties (Bartollini et al. 2005) a panel of 672 distinct genotypes from the two worldwide ex-situ collections, OWGB Marrakech and OWGB Cordoba, were recently identified using microsatellites and endocarp traits (El Bakkali et al., 2019). This wide cultivated olive genetic legacy is an opportunity to diversify olive production so as to be able to supply high quality olive products at the local scale (e.g. organic products, Protected Designation of Origin products), but also to select new varieties that are better adapted to new environments and able to cope with global change, especially climatic. The exploration, identification, conservation and characterization of olive genetic resources is thus an urgent task (Diez et al 2016). This is all the more important in the context of the MB, a “climatic” hotspot of global relevance, in which climate change threatens agro-ecosystems such as olive (Ponti et al., 2014).

At the same time, new regulatory requirements in the area of genetic resources are profoundly impacting the way life science is conducted, in particular the balance between openness and proprietary rules in research. Over the last 20 years, an international legal architecture on genetic resources has emerged, culminating with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2004) and the Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization (UN Convention of Biological Diversity, 2010). Other related discussions on genetic resources take also place at the World Trade Organization (in particular Article 27.3 b of the TRIPs agreement) or the World Intellectual Property Organization (the Union for Protection of Plant Varieties and the Intergovernmental Committee on GR, Traditional knowledge and expression of folklore).

The increased demand for global collaboration to address sustainability challenges is occurring at the same time as the increase in institutional constraints over biological materials. Within this context, research programs and their donors can no longer assume that researchers or their collaborators have control over the inputs to research. It is entirely possible that even though a project receives funding, the research cannot take place or must be fundamentally altered due to the inability of scientists to obtain biological materials or data. More broadly, it is likely that institutional constraints on research inputs have a strong and potentially detrimental influence on collaboration structures, research priority setting and choice of research topics, research outputs, and socio-economic impacts.


Applied research using social network analysis will determine existing patterns of collaboration for olive tree genetic research and breeding in France, in Mediterranean countries and globally in order to assess i) the motivations and constraints for global collaboration; ii) the organizational, relational, policy and legal solutions that have been established to mitigate these constraints; iii) avenues for

enhanced global collaborative framework in relation to international legal instruments such as the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.

Project activities

The student will conduct a Social Network Analysis of The Olive tree Genetic community in France first based on qualitative data collection through interviews; and then globally, possibly through an online Survey instrument that will be adapted from previous similar work already conducted on the cacao and coffee sectors. The survey will be implemented based on standard survey administration methods (Dillman 1998, 2014) and will use LimeSurvey Software for the interface and server system. Survey questions will collect network data on the three dimensions identified by Nahapiet and Goshal (1998) and Adler and Kwon (2002).

The results of this survey will be used to identify key individuals who act as nodes and bridge builders across institutions, academic disciplines, stakeholders and regions of the world. Interviews with some of these key individuals (up to 15) will be conducted in order to gain more understanding on the extent to which research is affected by regulatory and legal constraints on access to and use of genetic resources. The interviews will focus on governance structure, management processes, exchange and use mechanisms, and critical factors for success of collaboration.


Profil souhaité

Le contenu du stage sera adapté au profil et aux compétences de l’étudiant.e recruté.e pour ce stage car l’offre de stage s’adresse à 2 types de profil assez différents :

  • –  étudiant.e en Master 2 de mathématiques et informatique appliquées ou data science avec un intérêt pour les Sciences Humaines et Sociales (analyse des réseaux sociaux). En plus des analyses, l’étudiant.e sera amené.e à adapter et administrer un questionnaire en ligne et à mener quelques entretiens.
  • –  étudiant.e en Master 2 de sociologie des organisations avec un attrait pour les approches quantitatives et les analyses statistiques. En plus de la conduite d’entretiens, l’étudiant.e sera amené à adapter des scripts d’analyse développés au cours d’une étude similaire et codés avec le langage R. Conditions et financement du stage Durée : 6 mois maximum ; Date de début souhaitée: 1 mars 2020 ; Lieu : Montpellier essentiellement avec missions possibles (selon besoins et possibilités de financements) ; Financement : 6 mois de gratification (500€ par mois) Perspectives Ce travail servira de matériau de base pour animer une discussion au sein du réseau existant sur les Ressources génétiques de l’olivier, en lien avec l’International Olive Council et le Secrétariat du Traité International sur les Ressources phytogénétiques pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture de la FAO à Rome. Le travail pourra aussi servir de base à la publication d’articles scientifiques. Au-delà du stage, l’étudiant/e prendra part à une série de projets et réflexions en cours sur les mêmes thématiques qui lui assureront une ouverture à différents réseaux et des interactions riches.


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Avant le : 31/12/2019