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Research Areas Funded by IFS

The world will need to draw on exceptional individual and collaborative actions, and to harness the transformational power of science, technology and communications in order for our generation to safely and fairly ensure the stewardship of our natural resources.

IFS believes that science in developing countries needs to expand, that scientists in the developing world are well placed to identify the challenges they face, and able to propose transformational research, to build their resilience to global volatility, to engage in global negotiations, and to innovate for sustainable futures.

The International Foundation for Science therefore aims to help early-career scientists to play their part, to contribute to accelerating progress towards addressing the global challenges of today. Our 10-year strategy describes the investment we hope to make in capability to conceive and conduct research and also in people’s agency to put research into use.

Today, our planet appears small, and its biological and water resources  base is vulnerable  and interconnected.  The development solutions we seek to support through our grantees’ research must be  sustainable  within  defined  bio-physical  boundaries;  they  must  also be  socially just  and help advance freedom from poverty and deprivation.

In this context, doing research includes striving for greater efficiency in sustainably transforming natural resources to meet human needs. It also demands of us all far greater consideration of equity between and within countries, social groups, between women and men and amongst members of households in access to and use of natural resources.

Applicants for support from the International Foundation for Science may submit their proposals through the following three thematic clusters and from different, even cross-disciplinary, backgrounds. These three clusters are arranged to facilitate the applicant's identification of an appropriate framework for their submissions. The many topical areas within the three clusters are overlapping, and therefore cross-cutting research topics will also be welcomed and encouraged.

  • Biological Resources in Terrestrial Systems
    This includes but is not limited to: research on biodiversity, forestry, animal production, crop science, underutilised  species, natural products, renewable energy and climate variability, and technical research on all forms and aspects of food production; also, aspects of the social, economic, cultural  and historical  context  for  current  and  future practices, use and management of natural resources as well as the fostering of socio- economic resilience.
  • Water and Aquatic Resources
    This includes but is not limited to: water resources availability, conservation, use, and issues associated with water-related institutions; research on freshwater, brackish and marine aquatic organisms and their environments, as well as human and community access to such resources in the protection and improvement of their livelihoods.
  • Food Security, Dietary Diversity and Healthy Livelihoods
    This includes but is not limited to: research encompassing agricultural and livestock production systems including socio-economic and farming systems research, research on the conditions for the enjoyment of food security beyond  food production, distribution and overall availability, and also research on access to food or resources for food for socio-economic resilience and improved livelihoods, health and well being in rural and urban areas.


Read the IFS Research Areas document here.

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