IFS’s Impact through Alumni Eyes

Published: 2020-11-23

Our new IFS strategy for 2021-2030 has the theme of Investing in Future Scientists. This year of 2020 is one of transition, where we are continuing with elements of the “old” strategy as we begin incorporating parts of the “new”. To learn from this process, we are reflecting on it in several ways, for example, through these monthly blog posts. I will be highlighting our experiences from the IFS Secretariat and I also invite others in the IFS family to share any reflections they may have. This month, we share with you some reflections from IFS alumni on the impact of an IFS grant.

Nighisty Ghezae, DirectorNighisty Ghezae, IFS Director

We were recently requested to write a note on IFS’s impact for one of our funding partners. This enabled us to delve deeply into our records to analyse, for example, numbers of publications resulting from the IFS grant (on average three per grantee). It also offered a chance to assess how we are monitoring and evaluating the ultimate use of the research funded by IFS. We felt that the note on impact should in some way also represent IFS’s global constituency, so the Secretariat reached out to prominent IFS alumni, including the Chairs of IFS Alumni Associations in Benin, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, asking them to write a paragraph about IFS’s impact.

In summary, they wrote about patents, fellowships, other grants and awards (indeed, there are now two annual awards for members of the Nigerian Young Academy – one for women – named after an IFS alumnus). Some are involved with the private sector in innovations research, others as government representatives to international bodies, on other institutions’ boards, and in senior government and academic positions. The IFS grants enhanced respondents’ scientific capacities along with their administrative abilities, their mentoring of postgraduate students, and the provision of equipment and facilities still in use. Finally, it should be noted that IFS alumni from previously IFS-eligible countries (such as Thailand) are still at home helping their own countries and also other neighboring countries that are still IFS-eligible (Read IFS: A Model Organization For Nurturing Young Scientists In Developing Economies). 

All of these colleagues, their careers and their continuing engagement with IFS show how early career support is having long-term impacts. In their own words:

  • The impacts of IFS on beneficiaries and their countries go far beyond the amounts allocated.
  • IFS served as my pathfinder for greater contributions to agricultural development in Africa.
  • The IFS grant catapulted me into the international scientific community where research excellence and scientific leadership are hallmarks.
  • IFS has contributed to my actual biography.
  • IFS is a philanthropic institution, but also a positive and effective scientific impact-maker.
  • The history of IFS support to Argentina is a success story, with several inputs: excellent candidates, an effective system to detect them, and a national R&D system that was there to absorb them. The tangible impact is a substantial contribution to the consolidation of the country’s scientific human capital.

With thanks 

Nighisty Ghezae



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