Building scientific capacity in developing countries and the provision of support to young scientists from poor countries are the main objectives of this agreement. Joint activities will be launched by the two organizations to foster greater technology awareness and enhance research efforts in developing countries.
IFS is an independent NGO that identifies promising young scientists from developing countries and supports them in their early careers. In 2003, IFS offered 238 grants to young researchers in 35 developing countries.
Michael Stahl, IFS Director, said his organization encourages young scientists in low-income countries to apply for grants, especially in very poor countries that can provide only limited or no access to funding for research projects.
He indicated that IFS grants are provided on a competitive basis to young researchers in low-income countries for a maximum of $12,000. Research topics include agriculture, forestry, water resources, fisheries and medicinal plants.
Speaking on behalf of FAO, Isabel Alvarez, Chief, Research and Technology Development Service, said the agreement establishes a strong and effective base for collaboration and ensures maximum harmony and synergy in the work of the two organizations. "The common goal is to strengthen the research capacity of the developing countries," she said.
Olanrewaju B. Smith was in his mid-thirties when he received a grant from IFS for his research work on how to expand livestock feeds through the utilization of crop residues and agro-industrial by-products. He is now working in FAO for the Global Forum on Agricultural Research (GFAR).
"I was teaching at Obafemi Awolowo University (Ile-Ife, Nigeria). The grant contributed to advancing my career at the University and it also gave me the opportunity and ouverture to other funding possibilities," Mr. Smith explained.
With the help of FAO, the strategy of IFS is to identify young researchers to support the early phases of their career development at home to prevent brain drain from developing to developed countries. A grant can make the difference, thus contributing to sustainable development in poor countries.
The FAO-IFS agreement includes the following:
- Development of joint activities to address issues of mutual interest, designed to foster and promote greater research and technology capacities in developing countries;
- Promotion of synergies and elaboration of collaborative programmes;
- Harmonization of relevant existing databases;
- Fostering adaptation and adoption of appropriate technologies;
- Co-sponsoring and organization of seminars, workshops and expert consultations;
- Institutional strengthening and capacity building for research and technology for development.
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