|View African Training Fund in a larger map||Specimens found by Field Museum/IDP Foundation African Partner Ken Angielcyzk in 2009, from the Middle Triassic age Ntawere Formation.|
The IDP Foundation, Inc. provided a five-year grant to the Field Museum of Chicago that concluded in December 2014. This $500,000 grant to the African Training Fund assisted the Field Museum in executing the African Scholars Program for undergraduate and graduate science students. Started in 2009 to promote the development of highly trained African scientists, these special scholarships were only made available to talented students who could not otherwise afford to attend university. This training and research program facilitated scientific capacity building efforts as seen below:
To help promote the development of highly trained African scientists, the Museum works with its partners at Makere University (Uganda), the University of Antananarivo (Madagascar), the University of Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) and other prominent African Universities to offer up to ten scholarships to African undergraduate and graduate students studying biology, anthropology, botany, geology, biochemistry, molecular biology or other fields related to the natural sciences.
These special scholarships are only available to talented but impoverished African students who could not otherwise afford to attend university. The Museum maintains active partnerships with dozens of African and international scientific organizations with whom they work to identify potential students.
A panel of senior Field Museum scientists reviews the applications and chooses the finalists based on their commitment to the natural sciences, potential for advancing science in their country and overall need. The IDP Foundation will also be part of the selection process. Selected students are paired with Field Museum scientists who will act as informal advisors and mentors. Where possible, the students receive special training from Field Museum scientists during fieldwork sessions as well as regional workshops. These programs provide, in most cases, the first real contact for students with researchers, international collaborations and field techniques. They also provide an extremely important means for young researchers to understand key aspects of scientific fieldwork.
The IDP Foundation African Training Fund also encompasses a competitive awards program aimed at promoting collaborative research between the Field Museum and African scientists/institutions. Each June, Field Museum staff members working in Africa are invited to apply for funding to support special research projects. These programs are required to have a significant training component for African collaborators, with preference given to supporting workshops, training sessions, or internships that are part of a larger Field Museum research program. A panel of senior Field Museum staff reviews the proposals and makes funding recommendations based on the proposed program’s strength, innovation and potential impact. The IDP Foundation also reviews these applications and talk with scientists about their proposed programs.