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Developing research connections for the Indian Ocean - AFRAN Forum 2023

Each year, the Australian-French Association for Research and Innovation (AFRAN) Inc. runs a Forum to exhibit and discuss current cooperation and areas of future cooperation upscaling potential. The 2023 AFRAN Forum will be held on Thursday 26 and Friday 27 October 2023 at Murdoch University in Perth and will be supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade of the Australian Government.

The theme for 2023 is “Developing research connections for the Indian Ocean”.

This Forum will display current collaborations, facilitate the development of new connections, and discuss new opportunities in the fields of science and industry in and for the Indian Ocean region. The AFRAN Forum is a great opportunity to promote the activities of Australian and French stakeholders in the research and innovation sectors, and to strengthen high-level networks. Both Australia and France are developing collaborations with other countries in the Indian Ocean Region to support the design of knowledge-based solutions serving an inclusive and sustainable development of the region.

Regional integration is central to the French La Réunion Island, and its university and research organisations have been striving to build and develop regional academic and scientific networks or regional structuring initiatives. Australia is a powerful partner to achieve successful collaboration in the region with its high-level scientific expertise, research infrastructures, and operational capabilities.

This 2023 AFRAN Forum will be the occasion to launch the new Indian Ocean Research and Innovation Hub!


Thursday 26 October

The Loft, Murdoch University

8.45-9.00 am : Welcome and Registration

9.00-9.30 am : Forum opening

  • Prof Peter Davies, Acting DVCR, Murdoch University

  • Ms Caroline Gatenby, Acting Director, Northeast Indian Ocean Programs Section, Indian Ocean and South Asia Maritime at the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade

  • Dr François-Ronan Dubois, Attaché for Science and Higher Education, Embassy of France in Australia

  • Prof Katherine Daniell, AFRAN President

9.30-10.00 am :

Keynotes: Environment in the Indian Ocean

  • A/Prof Christiane Rafidinarivo, President of the Indian Ocean Political Science Association, the Institute of Political Studies in Madagascar and at the University of Reunion.

10.00-10.30 am : Break

10.30-12.00 pm :

Panel 1: Engaging for an Indian Ocean community


Dr Kwadwo Adusei-Asante, Senior Lecturer & Course Leader, Social Science, Board Member, International Organisation for Cooperation in Evaluation, Edith Cowan University


  • Prof Christiane Rafidinarivo, President of the Indian Ocean Political Science Association, IEPM/ LCF UR/ CEVIPOF Sciences Po: Facing environmental, political and geopolitical risks

  • Prof Richard Vokes, Centre for Sustainable Development in the Indian Ocean, UWA: Roads to the Future: Infrastructure-led Development around the Indian Ocean Rim

  • Dr Marie Thiann-Bo Morel, Lecturer at La Réunion University, Researcher UMR-Espace Dev, expert on Climate Justice, Environment and Communities

  • A/Prof David Mickler, Dean Global, Africa and Director, Centre for Australia-Africa Relations, Curtin University; Australian Representative to the Indian Ocean Rim Association Academic Group (IORAG): Building Indian Ocean University Networks

  • Prof Jacqueline Lo, Director of the new Indo-Pacific Research Centre at Murdoch University: Diaspora as Method to Building an Indian Ocean Community

  • Prof Katherine Daniell, Professor at the Australian National University School of Cybernetics, her current research work focusses on collaborative approaches to policy, action and education for sustainable development: Oceanic collaboration in research an innovation: cybernetic approaches to convening cross-cultural conversations

  • Prof James Arvanitakis, Director of the Forrest Foundation

12.00-1.00 pm : Lunch break

1.00-2.30 pm :

Panel 2: Indian Ocean Biodiversity


Ms Oceane Attlan, Marine Scientist, PhD candidate at the University of Western Australia


  • Dr Arnault Gauthier, Scientific Coordinator, Shark Security Centre, La Réunion

  • Prof Christine Erbe, Director | Centre for Marine Science and Technology (CMST), Curtin University and Director of the Centre of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology, Curtin Mauritius: Passive acoustic monitoring of marine fauna and anthropogenic stressors

  • Dr Florencia Cerutti, Indian Ocean Delegate IFREMER La Réunion: Connectivity and biodiversity

  • Prof Matthieu Le Corre, Director UMR Entropie La Réunion: Ecology and conservation of tropical seabirds

  • Dr Oliver Jewell, Research Fellow, UWA: Tracking marine megafauna with traditional and novel methods

  • Dr. Luciana C Ferreira, Research Scientist at the Australian Institute of Marine Science: Spatial ecology of marine megafauna and exposure to anthropogenic threats.

  • Dr Chris Chapman, Research scientist, team leader: Ocean Dynamics, CSIRO Environment

  • Dr Evgeny Romanov, Senior scientist, CITEB, Reunion Island

2.30-3.00 pm : Break

3.00-3.30 pm :

France Hub intervention

Chair :

A/Prof Frédéric Cherqui, University Lyon 1 / INSA Lyon, expert on water infrastructures asset management

Speakers :

  • Video message by H.E. Gillian Bird, Ambassador of Australia to France

  • Ms Sarah Brown, Councellor Science and Innovation in Brussels: Presentation on Australia’s priorities for science collaboration with France

  • Prof Nathalie Bernardie-Tahir, Université de Limoges: Developing academic collaborations in the Indian Ocean: the case of the Université des Mascareignes (Mauritius)

3.30-5.00 pm :

Laboratory tour (parallel session)

Dr Marin Milotic

Dr David Berryman, Manager of the Centre


Energy transition research and technologies: discussion with the companies (Parallel session)

The Loft, Murdoch University

Transfer to : Sir Walter's Restaurant

5.30-7.30 pm :

AFRAN Forum Networking reception - Indian Ocean Hub launch

Friday 27 October

Collaborative learning space - Room 360.2.023 - Boola Katitjin, Murdoch University

8.45-9.00 am : Welcome and Registration

9.00-9.30 am :

Keynotes: Indian Ocean: a strategic region for collaboration

9.30-10.00 am :

Keynotes: Environmental and climate change issues as key levers to foster partnerships in the Indian Ocean

  • Dr David Brewster, Senior Research Fellow, National Security College, Crawford School of Public Policy

10.00-11.30 am :

Panel 3: Climate and Earth observation for marine and coastal sustainability


Dr Mat Vanderklift, Director of IORA Indian Ocean Blue carbon Hub, Senior Principal Research Scientist at CSIRO, Marine ecologist


  • Prof David Antoine, Head of Remote Sensing and Satellite Research Group, Curtin University

  • Dr Erwann Lagabrielle, UMR Espace Dev, La Réunion, focusing on marine planning

  • Dr Joël Van Baelen, Head of LaCy lab, La Réunion, studying Cyclones and Atmosphere

  • A/Prof Kathryn McMahon, A/Dean of Research in the School of Science at ECU – focus on coastal ecosystems management and conservation

  • Dr Ming Feng, Senior Principal Research Scientist, CSIRO – working on marine heatwaves and tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean

  • Dr Virginie Cordier, Researcher at the engineering laboratory for health, sport and the environment (IRISSE): Human, technological and professional innovations in the context of shark risk management in Reunion Island: Analysis of emerging activities to secure aquatic practices

  • Dr Xiong Xiao, Researcher associate UWA, works on climate change and deep ocean thermodynamics to improve the understanding of ocean waters

11.30-12.30 am : Lunch break

Transfer to the parallel sessions, Murdoch University

12.30-2.00 pm :

Panel 4: Toward net zero in the Indian Ocean

The Loft, Murdoch University


Dr Ema Frery, senior research scientist leading a research team in the Energy Resources Program.


  • A/Prof Martin Brueckner, A/Prof in Sustainability of the Indo-Pacific Research Center at Murdoch University (In-person): sustainable development and environmental policies and its challenges for the region

  • Dr Poonam Veer Ramjeawon, Research Coordinator at Mauritius Research and Innovation Council: Presentation of the Transformation of the waste sector towards a waste-energy nexus in the South West Indian Ocean region (TWENex) project to support the development of a waste-energy sector OR Presentation of the TWENex project to support the development of a waste-energy sector

  • Prof Michel Benne, Head of the Energy Lab at University of La réunion (On line): presentation of the Energy Lab (optimisation of energy systems / Hydrogen)

  • Prof Mathieu David, Director of PIMENT laboratory at University of La reunion (On line): Presentation of the PIMENT laboratory - building energy efficiency and renewable energies

  • Ms Amy Steel, Oceania Leader for Climate Risk at Engie (In-person): presentation of Engie activities and opportunities for collaborations and partnerships across the Indian Ocean

  • Mr Alain Dardy, Representative Director and COO of Energy Pool Japan: Presentation of Energy Pool activities

  • Mr Franck Bonnefoy, General Manager of Helio Water: Presentation of Helio Water activities

  • Mr Warren Pike,Director of Terega: Presentation of Terega activities

  • Mr Thibault Tallieu, Chief marketing officer at EODev: Presentation of EODev activities

  • Mr Nicolas Schmutz, CEO and founder of RéuniWatt (on line): Observation and forecast of the cloud layer with applications for solar power generation

12.30-2.00 pm :

Panel 5: Combatting IUU Fishing in the Indian Ocean

Collaborative learning space - Room 360.3.032 - Boola Katitjin, Murdoch University


Dr Rachel Baird, Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Tasmania


  • Dr Frédéric Grare, Senior Policy Fellow for the European Council on Foreign Affairs

  • Dr Jade Lindley, criminologist and senior lecturer at the UWA Law School and Oceans Institute

  • Dr Eric Frécon,French political science researcher. He teaches at the Command and Staff College in Brunei and at the Singapore University of Social Sciences, and is an associate researcher at the ISAREC, the IRSEM and the Ecole Navale

  • Dr Chris Wilcox, director of the sustainable fisheries program at the Minderoo Foundation. When working at CSIRO, he was the leading scientist in IUU collaboration project and co-lead in marine debris project

  • Dr Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhry, Senior Fellow, Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata

  • Dr Pooja Bhatt, Consultant at the Policy Planning and Research division, ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. She is a researcher and analyst of International Relations and Security with expertise on maritime security and governance issues.

2.00-2.30 pm : Break

Transfer to The Loft, Murdoch University

2.30-4.00 pm :

Panel 6: Infectious diseases and environmental change


Prof Maxine Whittaker, Director WHO Collaborating Centre for Vector Borne and Neglected Tropical Diseases, JCU, Australia


  • Dr Daniel Watterson, Principal research fellow at UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences

  • A/Prof Gregor Devine, Group Leader, Mosquito Control Laboratory, QIMR Berghofer

  • Dr Harena Rasamoelina, Epidemiologist at the IOC in the framework of the SEGA One Health network

  • Emeritus Prof John Mackenzie, still associated with Curtin University, his recent works focused on global surveillance, response to outbreaks of emerging diseases, One Health…

  • Dr Marjolaine Roche, PIMIT lab La Réunion, human health and tropical infectious diseases

  • Dr Prasad Paradkar, Group leader at the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness with focus on mosquito-borne diseases.

  • Dr Jérémy Bouyer, Research Director on Ecology and Control of Vector at CIRAD, he is a medical and veterinary entomologist with a particular focus on genetic control

  • One Health Indian Ocean Research Network Coordinator

  • Prof Xavier Deparis, Health Regional Agency La Réunion, Director of Health Safety Monitoring - Health and Living Environments -International Cooperation & Area Health Advisor

4.00-4.15 pm : Forum Closing Session

4.15-5.00 pm : AFRAN AGM

Palace Electric, Perth

6.00 -8.00pm :

Women in science event (free event: Register here for the women in science film & panel!)

Film screening Soeurs de combat/Sisters in arms followed by a panel of experts


Dr Selina Lo Namchee, Executive Director of the Australian Global Health Alliance


  • Mathilde Desurmont, Program Officer, Noe Association, New-Caledonia

  • Dr Susan Rumisha, Senior Research Officer, Telethon Kids Institute

  • Ms Jessie Parrish, Project Manager at Curtin University

  • Prof Patricia Dudgeon, school of Indigenous Studies, The University of Western Australia

  • Dr Richard Yin, GP and WA chair of Doctors for the Environment Australia

Drinks and food will be provided


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