Beyond the Comfort Zone

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Members of SAC for Social Sciences, standing from back: (i) Prof. James LOWENBERG-DEBOER, Dept. Of Agriculutural Economics, Purdue University, United States of America; (ii) Prof. Henrik Secher MARCUSSEN, Dept. of Geography and International Development Studies, Roskilde University, Roskilde, Denmark; (iii) Prof. Sten HAGBERG, Dept of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden; (iv) Dr. Elias AYUK, Secretariat for Institutional Support for Economic Research in Africa (SISERA), IDRC/CRDI, Dakar, Senegal; (v) Assoc. Professor Dr. Fadzilah Majid COOKE, Ethnography and Development Research Unit, University of Malaysia Sabah, Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia

Dr. Fadzilah Majid Cooke, Head of the Research Unit for Ethnography and Development and lecturer at SSS returned from the Philippines after contributing time to the International Foundation of Science, Sweden for three days in November. Dr. Fadzilah was appointed an Adviser for Social Sciences by the IFS for her long standing research on society, environment and natural resources. Dr. Fadzilah was made an adviser in 2005. After a year of being an Adviser she was appointed by the IFS to be on its Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) for the Social Sciences.

IFS is a grant making body whose aim is to provide research funding of up to US$12,000 per application to ‘young’ scholars, namely, those who have completed their PhD in the last 5 years, or who are doing their PhD research. Anyone who wants to know more about the IFS grants can ring Dr. Fadzilah at extension 1826. She also welcomes queries by email and her address is: fadzilah@ums.edu.my.

IFS has 5 other SACs, namely for food science, crop science, forestry/agroforestry, natural products and water resources. The SAC for social sciences is made up of 5 established scholars from Europe, Africa, the United States and Asia. Dr. Fadzilah is the appointed representative from Asia. It meets twice a year to review applications, once in May and another in November. All costs for SAC members are normally paid by IFS. The next meeting will be held in Madagascar in May 2008.

The SAC meeting on 24 and 25 November 2007 was held at the University of the Philippines at Los Banos. Altogether 45 applications were rigorously examined and reviewers’ comments taken account of. The awards were as follows:

1) Ten applicants granted full support of USD$12,000.

2) Five applicants asked to resubmit with recommendations made for specific changes among whom, two asked to resubmit AND awarded capacity enhancing assistance (CEA).

The CEA is an IFS sponsorship for short term intensive training for a specialized purpose. The objective is to raise the applicants’ grant writing capacity so that s/he can reach a level that is sufficiently competitive in order to resubmit. CEAs are particularly useful for those who are trying to make a jump into an area of work that involves many disciplines; or for crossing into new areas of research. IFS sponsorship may involve mentoring or training for example in specific theory and methods that applicants may have an interest in but know little about.

Those who won grants were from Africa, Asia (Vietnam) and South America. Sadly, there were no applications from Malaysia. UMS won a grant last year from IFS but from another SAC (not social science) – Dr. Charles S. Vairappan from the Institute for Tropical Biodiversity Conservation.

One Response to Beyond the Comfort Zone

  1. jurry says:

    Congratulation to Dr. and our School Of Social Sciences

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