In the words from the Ministry of National Education, Universities and Research (Madame Najat Vallaud-Belkacem) who gave a speech in UPF, in October 2016, about the various achievements and future developments of UPF, including the MSHP: " This House of research in humanities and social sciences of the Pacific can be at the same time a world-class hub for research in French Polynesia and the Pacific, and a resource in favour of local development through elaborating advices for public policies and for enhancing education for everyone, at all levels". The UPF President (speech of 22 September 2016, for the start of the University year 2016-2017) said that the MSHP will "contribute to further develop the humanities and social sciences, those which deal with the cultural fundamentals of Polynesian societies, through their languages and cultures, as well as those which study the economics, law and sociology of the Polynesia of today and thus contribute to better understand the social systems and to elaborate public policies."
The main definition of the MSHP is to "house" programs that will bring into long term collaboration researchers from UPF (and, depending on the programs, researchers also from UNC, IRD Papeete-Noumea, etc.) with partners of the Pacific region, thus the Anglophone Pacific, as well as, depending on the programs, with partners from metropolitan France and beyond (Europe, North America, etc.) who work into Pacific studies. Indeed, even though MSHP is established in UPF, it is a regional centre of research and the first MSH of the French Overseas ("la France de l'Outre-mer"). Providing opportunities for collaboration between French Pacific researchers and their colleagues in the other countries of the Pacific, it thus follows — and institutionalizes in French Polynesia— the general view and policy of the French Foreign Affairs Pacific Fund for Development (which selects every year submissions of projects that contribute to this regional collaboration): see www.diplomatie.gouv.fr/fr/dossiers-pays/oceanie/la-france-et-l-oceanie/le-fonds-pacifique/article/le-fonds-pacifique
It is thus understandable that this program MSHP had first been presented to a number of Universities in the Pacific, in addition to metropolitan France institutions (and beyond). Strong letters of support and commitments towards future collaboration have been offered by ANU, U of Auckland, U of Hawaii, UC Berkeley, UC (NZ), and China Foreign Affairs University (and, evidently, UNC-Noumea); In France, support was also expressed by large institutes such as IRD, INALCO, le Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, University Paris-1, etc., and research centres such as CREDO, LACITO, Institute ACTE (and, evidently, in French Polynesia, the CNRS-EPHE CRIOBE), etc.
Four large axis of research have been defined, and over a dozen of programs are ready to be implemented. Content, agenda and contributions will be known or more fully defined during 2017. Three axes are set up with historical chronological order, a fourth one being across all periods:
---Cultural and historical fundamentals of Pacific societies
---Islands of History: contacts, colonisations, exchanges
---Contemporary Pacific societies: large transformations and local dynamics
---(across times) Languages, literatures and artistic practices