IFGs - Projects - Skills

International Focus Groups (IFGs)

An IFG is a non-permanent collaboration designed to address scientific issues of wide international significance. Thus, an IFG does not represent a field of study (which is the role of the INQUA Commissions) but rather seeks to answer specific scientific questions. An IFG should provide an umbrella for one or several more focused projects (see below); these projects can either be defined by the IFG itself or can arise from the bottom-up proposals of about how to address the key question(s) addressed by the IFG. IFGs should be open and inclusive, providing opportunities for all interested scientists to participate in their activities. The duration of an IFG will normally be one inter-congress period. IFGs which are still addressing and meeting key scientific needs could exceptionally be continued for a second inter-congress period, subject to approval by the incoming INQUA executive.

IFG funding could be used for e.g.: Costs for creation of a website to enhance communication within the IFG and its participating projects; costs for creation/maintenance of database central to IFG activities; production of handbooks or other publication costs associated with IFG outputs; participation of early-career or developing-country researchers in IFG workshops; funding for senior scientists on the IFG management team to attend workshops of projects that are attached to a specific IFG; funding for early-career or developing-country researchers who are members of projects attached to a specific IFG to attend IFG workshops. Please note that INQUA funds will not cover website maintenance costs, and that an IFG website should be designed to facilitate the operation of daughter projects of the IFG since projects are not allowed to claim costs for setting up their own website.

Applications for IFG funding must demonstrate that the IFG: will address a significant question that is central to the work of the sponsoring Commission; make significant progress towards answering this question can be made through collaboration and within a reasonable timeframe; has an explicit plan for activities throughout the proposed duration of the IFG; has a high-level of buy-in from the international INQUA community, as shown by e.g. active participation; has a framework that is responsive to community needs and open to community participation, including involving early-career or developing-country researchers in significant roles; and has identified concrete outcomes or products explicitly.

IFG funding cannot be used to cover: costs for senior scientists participating in an IFG workshop or a participating project workshop; fieldwork; purchase of equipment or analyses; maintenance of websites.

IFGs will normally be approved in principal for their whole requested duration (providing this does not exceed the current inter-congress period). Funds will be allocated on a yearly basis, subject to evaluation of IFG activities in the preceding year and submission of an updated budget. IFGs applying for a continuation of activity and/or additional funding must complete and submit a new application form each year. An individual proposal for an IFG would typically be for funding of the order 5000-8000 Euros.

Projects under the umbrella of a specific IFG can be identified in the initial IFG proposal or at any time subsequently. All such projects must submit an independent application and will be judged on the merits of that application. The President of the sponsoring Commission may request that an approved IFG consider sponsoring a new project that appears to contribute to the IFG goals. The IFG leadership will be consulted about during the pre-proposal stage.

Projects

Projects are limited-scale activities, with very specific aims, objectives and outcomes, which contribute in strategic ways to the wider aims of one or more IFGs. Normally, projects would be developed by or in consultation with an IFG and would be expected to run for less than one inter-congress period. In exceptional circumstances, the INQUA executive may fund a project which has potential to develop into an IFG as a “pilot project”. Projects independent of IFGs are not allowed under our Statutes. Project funding could be used for e.g.: project workshop centralized costs (e.g. room hire); workshop costs associated with travel and participation of early-career or developing-country scientists; other project-related travels for early-career scientists; costs associated with participation of project leadership in a workshop run by their sponsoring IFG.

Project funding cannot be used to cover: publication of project newsletter or creation/maintenance of websites (these costs are more appropriately dealt with by the sponsoring IFG); publication costs (projects are encouraged to publish their results in Quaternary International, which is free); costs for senior scientists participating in a project workshop; fieldwork; purchase of equipment or analyses; activities which are only directed towards training, capacity-building or networking.

Applications for project funding must demonstrate that the project: is associated with and will contribute to the ongoing work of an IFG or addresses issues that are central to the work of the sponsoring Commission and are likely to generate proposals for a new IFG; has identified a critical research topic where progress can be made through collaboration and within a reasonable timeframe; has identified specific tasks and concrete outcomes that are achievable; has an explicit plan for activities throughout the proposed duration of the project; involves where appropriate early-career or developing-country researchers in significant roles; and has identified concrete outcomes or products explicitly. Projects will normally be approved in principal for their whole requested duration (providing this does not exceed the current inter-congress period). Funds will be allocated on a yearly basis, subject to evaluation of the project activities in the preceding year and submission of an updated budget. Projects applying for a continuation of activity and/or additional funding must complete and submit a new application form each year. An individual proposal under the “project” scheme would typically be for funding of the order 4000-5000 Euros.

Skills Enhancement

This is a new scheme from 2013. The goal of this funding is to widen the skill base within the INQUA community, specifically through assisting scientists who lack well-developed infrastructures or networks (including but not limited to younger scientists), through encouraging networking, exchanges of information and techniques, training, and bringing people together e.g. to develop new international focus groups or projects.

Skills enhancement funding could be used for e.g. partial support for training courses or “summer schools”, to allow individual scientists to participate in fieldwork run by more experienced workers and which provide a training opportunity, workshops focusing on networking within a specific region or for a specific technique/interest area, the production of handbooks or web resources to assist new practitioners in specific techniques.

Applications for skills enhancement funding must demonstrate: the need for skills enhancement in a particular region/field; how the proposed activities will foster skills enhancement; who will benefit directly from the funding; how the skills enhancement activity will benefit the INQUA community in the longer term. Skills enhancement funding cannot be used for: paying salaries; bringing younger scientists to IFG or project meetings; supporting general workshops, meetings or conferences.

Applications to this scheme are independent and distinct from project funding. Funding will be one-time allocations only. Subject to suitable applications, we expect skills enhancement applications to receive ca 15% of the funding allocated by INQUA annually. An individual proposal under the “skills enhancement” scheme would typically be for funding of the order 4000-5000 Euros.