The main conclusions of the Review Committee that was established by the ICSU Committee on Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR) to review the ICSU grants programme are as follows:
On the past programme, 2001-2006
The programme was good value for money overall and supported a variety of successful projects. These projects were in line with the priorities agreed by UNESCO and ICSU.
On a potential future programme
There is a strong case for ICSU to support a revised and more focussed grants programme in the future. This should focus on promoting new and genuine collaborations between ICSU’s Unions and Interdisciplinary Bodies in the areas of i) Capacity Building in a broad sense, and ii) New Scientific Frontiers, i.e. cutting edge scientific developments at the interface between different disciplines. Such a programme can be an important mechanism for implementing ICSU’s vision and addressing these two strategic priority areas. It also provides a practical and measurable link to the activities of the Scientific Unions, in particular.
In the absence of additional funds, a proportion of the ICSU core funds provisionally allocated for a grants programme in 2008 and 2009 should be used for this purpose. However, it is recognised that in the longer-term additional funding will be necessary to maintain a viable programme. Hence, a revised grants programme should be a very high priority in the negotiations for the new ICSU-UNESCO Framework agreement for 2008-2013 and the idea of a joint funding programme with UNESCO and other partners should be explored further.