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IFS Programme

The IFS Programme aims to support excellent individual and collaborative research, to build the capability of early-career scientists in the developing world, and to contribute innovation to the sustainable management of biological, water and energy resources. In particular, to enable young scientists to contribute to a global research community that is aiming to reduce poverty and supporting sustainable development.

The primary focus remains the promotion of excellent science through early-career research grants and capability enhancing support to individual researchers in developing countries. The IFS Strategy 2011-2020 describes the goals and strategies of the organisation for the current decade and presents the new IFS Programme divided into three parts:

Individual Research Approach

This is similar to the former IFS granting programme with some revisions to eligibility criteria. Individual early-career researchers in eligible countries may apply for research grants to undertake research projects on any aspects of the sustainable management of biological, water and energy resources.

IFS has introduced time-bound calls for proposals with closing dates. These will be announced here on this website - be sure not to miss the submission deadlines!

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Collaborative Research Approach

IFS recognizes that the interlinked development challenges facing humanity increasingly require scientists to work with each other, as well as with other professions and specialists. Support will, therefore, be provided for collaborative research teams – including interdisciplinary teams, which combine researchers’ strengths, expertise, and experience, to address a larger topic or a research issue where more than one discipline is required.

Before IFS provides this opportunity more widely, the Collaborative Research Approach is being piloted. To date the following 3 sessions of the pilot have been initiated:

  • 2012: Restricted to 5 African countries and research on Neglected and Underutilized Species. This resulted in Collaborative Team Grants to 10 teams comprising 38 researchers.
  • 2014: Restricted to 8 African countries and research on Biodiversity. A total of 13 small teams comprising 48 researchers received Grants
  • 2016: Restricted to 9 Asian countries and to research on Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation. A total of 12 teams comprising of 21 women and 20 men received Grants.If you have an interest in collaborative research and are eligible and interested in the current pilot, please follow the appropriate links. Otherwise, watch for the results of the pilot and our first open call for collaborative research.

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Contributing Innovation Approach

Building on feedback received from stakeholders, a change to the IFS Programme agenda is, not only to aspire to strengthen the capability of those embarking on a research career in the developing world, but also to help scientists to find support for the actions they undertake to bring about change, in terms of their values and objectives. In other words, to promote links to those who can support the individual agency of men and women scientists, early in their career in developing countries, to put their science into use.

In 2013 IFS launched the third approach within its ten-year strategy, entitled ‘Contributing Innovation’. While approaches 1 and 2 of the strategy focus on supporting individual and collaborative research and enhancing the capability of scientists from countries with poor scientific infrastructure, the newly launched approach 3 is all about putting research into use. Under approach 3 IFS facilitates and advises grantees upon the implementation of the outputs from their research projects. It is also about equipping young scientists to meaningfully communicate with relevant and key stakeholders. Approach 3 is not a granting programme, and it is not envisaged that IFS would have any ‘hands-on’ involvement in putting research results into use.

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The eligibility criteria (both individual eligibility and country eligibility) for the programme will be somewhat different from the previous criteria. The new criteria will be described in the side boxes on the pages describing the programme.

Capability Enhancing Support

From time-to-time IFS offers workshops and other supporting services to applicants and to grantees, which are collectively referred to as Capability Enhancing Support (CES). This support can include travel and publication grants, a purchasing service and a range of different types of CES workshops. Some of the workshops are relevant to individual or collaborative research approaches or to both. For more information see the link below.
  »  Capability Enhancing Support

Financing the Grants

The IFS Programme is financed by our donors and some grants are co-funded by collaborating organisations.
  » Donors
  » Collaborating organisations

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