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IFS Mission Statement

The need

Science can be a significant driver of economic and human development. Used properly it can help to strengthen the human condition globally through improved livelihoods, food security, health and wellbeing. The scientists of tomorrow must contribute to securing accessible and affordable food, water and energy for a rising population within a scenario of environmental sustainability, as directed by the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

While low-income countries produce a sizeable number of scientists, they experience significantly high rates of brain drain as scientists migrate in search of facilitated conditions in the most developed countries. The International Foundation for Science holds that a sound basis for contributing to the establishment and expansion of developing country science and to help these countries retain scientific talent is to identify, select and support promising early-career men and women scientists, and offer them opportunities in their home countries to plan, produce and put knowledge and technology into use.

In the next decade, individual and collaborative research conducted by developing country scientists needs to contribute to global efforts to reduce poverty and support sustainable development to deliver on the global Sustainable Development Goals. Support by the International Foundation for Science will strengthen the possibilities for early-career men and women scientists to productively engage in innovation and policy domains of relevance and use in their own countries.

Over a period of 40 years, IFS has supported 8000 scientists from 105 countries, many of whom are now leading scientists or science leaders.  Guided by its 2011-2020 Strategy, IFS will continue to facilitate research on biological and water resources, with a focus on physical, chemical, and biological processes, as well as relevant social and economic aspects important in the conservation, production, and renewable use of natural resources.

The mission

IFS shall contribute towards strengthening the capability of young men and women scientists in developing countries not only to conduct relevant and high quality research, but to enhance opportunities to put it into use in their home environments.

The strategy

In its 10-year strategy, IFS aims to support excellent individual and collaborative research, to build capability of early-career scientists in the developing world, and to facilitate the process of innovation for the sustainable use and management of biological and water resources. An important goal is to enable young scientists to contribute to a global research community that is aiming to reduce poverty and support sustainable development. The primary focus will be the promotion of excellent science through early-career research grants and capability-enhancing support to researchers in developing countries. However, the interlinked development challenges that face humanity increasingly require scientists to work with each other, as well as with other professions and specialists. Therefore, the phased introduction of a collaborative research approach will provide support for research teams, which will combine researchers’ strengths, expertise, and experience, to address a broader topic or research issue where more than one discipline is required. A major change in our agenda is not only to aspire to strengthen the capability of those embarking on a research career in the developing world, but also to support young scientists in the actions they undertake to bring about change, in terms of their values and objectives. In other words, to promote the individual agency of men and women scientists, early in their career in developing countries, to put their science into use.

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