"Accelerating the transition to sustainable development

Launched in March 2019 as part of the I-SITE "Montpellier Université d'Excellence" (MUSE) Excellence Program, the Montpellier Advanced Knowledge Institute on Transitions(MAK'IT) is a newcomer among the Instituts d'Etudes Avancées (IEA). 

MAK'IT aims to stimulate the contribution of scientific communities to the analysis, support and acceleration of the transitions required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in the fields of agriculture and food, the environment and health. 

As a tool for collective intelligence, the Institute encourages interdisciplinary exchanges and the development of new approaches and innovative research methodologies, in close collaboration with political decision-makers and citizens.  


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as adopted under the aegis of the United Nations, call for a profound transformation of our societies, towards more innovative, integrative and adaptive models. This transformation is based on a series of major transitions to be orchestrated at the intersection of the fields of health, environment and climate, agriculture and food. From the local to the global, they represent as many challenges for research to support. MAK'IT has set itself the goal of renewing the places and forms in which scientific knowledge is mobilized, and inventing new forums in which to address the multiple controversies raised by these changes. 


Programming: contributing to the programming of research on transitions and reinforcing the establishment of a school of thought at local, national and international levels. 

Looking to the future: identify and stimulate the implementation of foresight exercises, and strengthen the scientific expertise and capacities needed to implement transitions. 

Influence: fuel debates within national and international bodies where transitions are thought out and implemented, by acting as a science-society and science-policy interface. 


Hosting international researchers

MAK'IT offers international researchers from all geographical and disciplinary backgrounds the opportunity to spend several months in Montpellier. The Institute facilitates their exchanges and supports their interactions with the Montpellier scientific community and the extra-academic world. 

Freed from their daily obligations, these researchers carry out, individually or in groups, the scientific project of their choice, in conjunction with Montpellier's research structures. These projects are characterized by a strong interdisciplinary approach focused on the analysis of controversies, innovative methodologies and lines of research, real science-society interactions and an impact on transitions towards sustainable development. 

Applications to stay at the Institute are subject to a selective evaluation process by MAK'IT's Scientific Advisory Board, made up of independent international experts. The Board meets twice a year to evaluate applications submitted under the Institute's main calls for applications: "SCIENTIFIQUES INVITES", "COHORTE", "French Institutes for Advanced Study" (FIAS) and "Constructive Advanced Thinking" (CAT). 

Organizing international events in Montpellier

To strengthen the involvement of scientific communities in public debate, MAK'IT organizes a whole program of events around the hosting of international researchers. Weekly meetings between resident researchers enable them to discuss the impact of their work across disciplinary and sectoral boundaries. Monthly "MAK'IT Talks", bringing together academics and researchers, political decision-makers, representatives of civil society and the private sector, encourage reflection on current and future societal challenges.  

Partnerships and development of European and international initiatives linked to the SDGs 

MAK'IT collaborates with other organizations, spaces and think tanks of a similar nature or interested in similar themes, with a particular focus on accelerating transitions towards sustainable development and building scientific capacity in the countries of the "South". The Institute has forged privileged partnerships with the French (RFIEA), European (NetIAS) and international (UBIAS) networks of Instituts d'Etudes Avancées.  

As a veritable laboratory for change, MAK'IT is committed to ensuring that the conclusions of its work are useful to future generations and stimulate their commitment to sustainable development. In addition to widely disseminating its publications, the institute encourages the deployment of innovative teaching content and curricula. 

Special features 

  • In line with the global framework of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 
  • 3 focus areas: agriculture & food, environment and health 
  • Enhanced dialogue between life sciences and social sciences 
  • Science-policy-society interface and original approach to dealing with societal controversies 
  • Geographic focus on the "Suds" ("Leaving no scientific community behind") 
  • Anchored in a local scientific network and within a dense network of international academic and institutional partners 

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