The globalization of international issues is forcing the research community to work from now on at the international level, in order to apprehend problems both in their global dimension but also by considering their local impacts. The IFCU member universities offer the advantage of being present on all continents, to be able to approach research in a multidisciplinary perspective integrating cultural expectations and to be able to work within the framework of International Research Groups (IRG, formerly "Sectorial groups"), within the International Research and Decision Making Center (CIRAD). The latter, founded in 1975, aims to promote interuniversity and multidisciplinary research within the framework of international cooperation and offers a space for meetings, debates, intellectual productions and knowledge sharing.
Innovative initiatives and themes find their place alongside more traditional projects. Over time, CIRAD has projects in areas as diverse as human mobility (migration and displacement), social issues (health, vulnerable families, social inclusion, poverty), environmental challenges (soil fertilization, management of water), human rights and peace building, or intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
CIRAD pays particular attention to the dissemination of its work among policy-makers.
It is currently structured around four main themes:
What is more natural among specialists of a same discipline or a same field than to pool a common experience and sensibility in order to share various experiences beyond different cultural contexts without erasing these?
Discussions around a common theme, the organisation of specific research colloquia, projects and activities, exchange of professors, publications, consultancies, whereby the partners consolidate, develop and share their knowledge and fulfil the academic, ethical and spiritual aims of the Federation by making these concrete and dynamic within the member institutions.
This is how different groups were constituted around professors, researchers and experts who pooled their know-how in a friendly framework which they defined according to forms and an organisation that are their own.
The International Research Groups (Sector Groups), 9 in number, have defined different work themes.
The Education Group, ACISE, which met in Glasgow from April 4 to 6, 2018, has chosen as its theme "Catholicism, Education, Culture".
The Psychology Group, FIUCUP-IFCUP, is organizing its World Congress at the Catholic University of Portugal, in Porto, from July 2 to 4, 2020. The participants will meet to discuss the theme: "Psychology in Dialogue".
The Social Sciences Group has met at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú from 26 to 28 October 2018 to discuss "The role of the university in safeguarding the common home".
The Family Group, REDIF, met at Universidad Deusto (Bilbao), in November 2018, to address the issue of family crises, thus dealing with violence, divorce, and adoption.
The Philosophy Group, COMIUCAP, will meet from May 28-30, 2020 around the theme of Faith and Reason at Santo Tomas University (Manila).
In May 2019, the Health Group organized its annual meeting at the Private Technical University of Loja (Ecuador) on the topics of disability, palliative care and bioethics.
Academics wishing to join a network in political sciences are invited to join the REGIMEN group, IFCU partner led by Professor Pierre Vercauteren, President of the IFCU Scientific Research Council.
Theologians are grouped together in the Theology Group - COCTI. They are meeting in Lisbon from April 28 to May 1st on the following topic "Doing Theology in a World Marked by Religious Pluralism".(Postponed due to the covid crisis)
In 2018 the Federation created two new International Research Groups. The first had the purpose to study contemporary issues linked to migrants and refugees (RefugeesLab) Refugees-Lab; the second deals with Peace (the International Peace Studies Network) Peace Studies Network.