IFS Annual Report for 2021 – Rising to Challenges and Looking Ahead

Published: 2022-07-31

In the blog posts of this 50th anniversary year, we have thus far taken a look back at IFS’s founders and also highlighted the survey-based perspectives of current grantees, members of our Scientific Advisory Committees and external reviewers, and alumni.

In upcoming posts, we will present views from current and former Secretariat staff and Board members, as well as from our donors and partners. For this month, however, we are pleased to announce the publication of the IFS Annual Report for 2021, available here, with the Foreword posted below.

The year 2021 was certainly another challenging one for IFS. However, we continued to live and work through the COVID-19 pandemic, and did our best to adapt to the ever-changing world around us. Despite the many practical obstacles, our team at the IFS Secretariat has maintained an uninterrupted and mostly unchanged level of service for our current, prospective and former grantees. We also maintained our efforts to overcome our present financial insecurity by demonstrating the importance of and the need for IFS’s work in order to attract the (renewed) interest and commitment of international donors and other strategic partners.

We take the opportunity of compiling this Annual Report to highlight and reflect on our 2021 accomplishments, in terms of the:

  • Launch of our new IFS Strategy 2021-2030, Investing in Future Scientists,
  • Impacts which our grantees’ research are having in their home countries, and possibly beyond,
  • Basic, Advanced and Collaborative Grants we have been able to award and see the results of,
  • Range of capacity-enhancing activities we have been able to provide in collaboration with our partners, including IFS alumni associations in a number of countries in the Global South, and
  • Donors who have supported IFS.

A positive outcome of these difficult times has been witnessing the strength and determination of our Secretariat staff, Scientific Advisory Committee members, and Board of Trustees. They have remained dedicated to our work during this trying period for the organisation, supporting our grantees and each other throughout the many challenges. They have also done so with respect, integrity and compassion. We are especially humbled by the dedication of our colleagues in the Secretariat, who have remained with IFS even though their and the organisation’s future is uncertain. We dare think that you share our deep appreciation for all this commitment!

As we continue to navigate through these complex times, it is crucial for us to strengthen our commitment to early career researchers in Low- and Lower-Middle-Income Countries (LLMICs). We will continue to be champions of equity, diversity and inclusion, and to ally ourselves with like-minded organisations to advocate for changes that make it easier for LLMIC scientists to do their research and make important contributions to their countries and our world.

As we look ahead, we recognise the difficulties that we face. However, with the vision and commitment of all constituents of the IFS family, we know that our future lies in co-creating a better IFS which can more effectively, efficiently and equitably be a source of support for early career researchers in LLMICs.

The report can be accessed as a turning document and as a downloadable pdf.

I hope you enjoy reading our Annual Report.

With thanks
Dr Nighisty Ghezae
IFS Director


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