IFS - Apply for a research grant

November 08, 2011

The IFS research grant application process is now re-opened!

New applicants wishing to apply for a research grant to IFS are invited to submit their research application form before either of the dates highlighted below.

There will be two time-bound research grant application sessions before the new three programme strategy is adopted in 2012. The deadline for the first session is 9th October 2011, and the deadline for the second session is 29th January 2012.

IFS grantees wishing to submit a renewal application should communicate directly with their contact person(s) at the IFS secretariat.


Eligible Research Topics


Detailed specifications on research topics qualifying for IFS support will not be presented here, as that might exclude important research areas identified by the researchers themselves. 

However, essentially, in order to fall within the scientific scope of the IFS Mission Statement, the project must be related to the sustainable utilisation of the biological and/or water resource base.

The IFS Mission Statement should be interpreted widely, to include topics in both natural and applied sciences such as agriculture, soil science, forestry, biodiversity, environmental chemistry, natural products, food science, animal husbandry, veterinary medicine, aquaculture, marine resources... as well as social or economic aspects of the sustainable management of natural resources, or the production and transfer of knowledge for sustainable development.

On the other hand, IFS cannot accept applications of the most basic scientific nature (e.g. theoretical physics), or even fundamental biological studies, unless they have an identifiable and direct relevance to the sustainable utilisation of biological and/or water resources.

Any doubts as to whether the proposed research topic fits into the IFS Programme may be resolved by examining the list of research projects previously supported by IFS.

Regarding Water Resources and Social Sciences, these areas have only fairly recently been incorporated into the IFS Programme. Therefore there are not yet that many IFS Grantees working on these topics. For guidance on what kind of water issues or social and socio-economic research would qualify for IFS support, please see on IFS website

An IFS Research Grant has a maximum value of USD 12,000. It is awarded to an individual researcher, for a specific research project, presented by the Applicant in the Application form. The IFS Research Grant is intended for the purchase of the basic tools needed to conduct the proposed research project - equipment, expendable supplies, and literature - and to arrange fieldwork activities related to the proposed project. The grant cannot be used to pay for the aspiring Grantee's own salary or for honoraria, or to cover tuition fees or living expenses. It is expected that the IFS Grantees already receive a salary and are employed by or otherwise attached to a developing country research institution.

Although the IFS Research Grant is individual, IFS strongly supports the creation of research teams.

To jointly fund a team project, researchers who qualify for IFS support may apply for individual IFS Research grants. Each team member should describe his/her own individual research objectives as well as his/her contribution to meeting the objectives of the team. Each individual application will be evaluated based on individual merit as well as contribution to the team objectives.

As team projects are evaluated on a case by case basis, potential team member Applicants are encouraged to contact the IFS Secretariat for more detailed guidelines on how to draft their proposals.

IFS is specifically targeting scientists in countries with developing science and technology infrastructures.

Focus is set on the Least Developed Countries (LDC), Low Income Countries (LIC) and Lower Middle Income Countries (LMIC).

First priority is given to excellent and good proposals from the LDC, LIC and LMIC categories. Second priority is given to satisfactory proposals from these countries with the possibility of assigning a mentor. In total, as of the year 2005, 70% of IFS Grants are to be allocated to LDC, LIC and LMIC scientists.

Projects from Upper Middle Income Countries (UMIC) with a below UMIC average GNI/capita (IFS’ "cut-off"), and LDC, LIC and LMIC with very strong scientific infrastructures will receive 30% of the annual IFS grant funds.

Grant applications are evaluated by the IFS Scientific Advisers who are all established experts in their fields. There are over 1,000 active Advisers from many countries working together with IFS to ensure that those proposals selected are scientifically sound and both feasible and relevant to the scientific field and the country in question. Feedback from the Advisers is available to all applicants, and non-successful applicants with potential are encouraged to improve or re-design their proposal and apply again.

IFS Grantees are offered a range of supporting services, including advice on their research projects, contacts with other experts in their field, assistance with purchase of scientific equipment, supplies and access to scientific literature. IFS Grantees can also apply for travel grants to attend international meetings, training courses and workshops.

IFS gives awards for excellence in research to chosen IFS Grantees. The most prestigious, the Sven Brohult Award, is worth USD 10,000 and is given once every 3 years. Two others, the IFS/Danida Award and the IFS Jubilee Award are given annually and have a value of USD 2,000. Candidates must be nominated by an IFS Affiliated Organisation, another national or international scientific society, a research institution in a developed or developing country, an IFS Scientific Adviser or other scientist, or another IFS Grantee - selfnomination is not permitted.

The IFS Granting Programme is financed by a number of Donor organisations. Funding is either core funding or restricted funding. A number of the organisations collaborating with IFS are co-funding IFS Grant applications that meet their mandate and objectives.

Since the first IFS Research Grant was awarded in 1974, over 5,000 grants have been given to some 3,500 scientists in 100 countries. Search for IFS Grantees and their IFS supported projects available on the website

The timeframe of a research project should normally be 1-3 years. After having completed an IFS supported research project, and submitted a project report, Grantees may apply for renewal grants. In total, a researcher is eligible to receive three (3) Research grants from IFS.

Source: IFS

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