INQUA funding is provided to stimulate the development of research networks, and is divided into three categories:
- International Focus Groups (IFGs)
- Skills Enhancement activities
- Working Groups
At its broadest scale, INQUA unifies all disciplines of Quaternary science at the global scale. To both respond to and foster changes and advances in these disciplines, INQUA has established Commissions to divide Quaternary science into coherent thematic units that are most relevant to the current research environment. These Commissions are composed of scientists who are interested in the defined theme, and anyone may join. For each four-year inter-congress period, INQUA's Commissions establish their research priorities, and define a series of flagship activities, referred to as International Focus Groups (IFGs). IFGs address what the Commission regards to be state of the art issues for the inter-congress period within the research theme. To address these issues, each IFG develops a series of Projects to study key elements of the IFG's research theme. These Projects may be proposed for a single year, or continue for the whole of the inter-congress period, depending on the scope of their activities and their continued relevance to the IFG. As an exception, Projects may exist independent of an IFG, but funding will preferentially be provided to those activities that are most closely aligned to Commission goals for the inter-congress period.
In addition to this primary funding structure, INQUA also provides Skills Enhancement funding. This funding is intended to support meetings, workshops or training activities that are related to the Quaternary sciences, but are not necessarily linked to Commission research priorities for a given inter-congress period.