This proposal requests funds to partially support the participation of US early career scientists (within 7 years of earning a Ph.D.) and graduate students at the XVIII International Union for Quaternary Research Congress. The participants supported by this grant will be provided the opportunity to present their research at the Congress, to develop international collaborations, and gain knowledge of global research initiatives. The proposal presents a clear plan for advertisement of this funding opportunity, including outreach to a wide range of disciplines and institutions and members of under-represented groups. Proposal sets out clear criteria on which to select the award recipients.

The United States is a world leader in Quaternary research and continued participation by young U.S. scientists it is vital to sustain this leadership. The XVIII INQUA Congress is a key multidisciplinary forum for the exchange of scientific information and ideas and based on feedback from previous travel award recipients, this is an effective venue to inspire and encourage U.S. students and early career scientists to effectively address problems with global impact. Effective U.S. participation in this congress will build international science partnerships and foster future international collaborations to address problems that are far greater than the United States can address on its own. This proposal will contribute to the advancement of science in Quaternary Research and will promote the professional development of US early career scientists in an international forum.

Project Report

The U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Quaternary Research of the National Academies organized a travel fellowship program for U.S. early career scientists presenting their research at the July 2011 XVII Congress of the International Union for Quaternary Research in Bern, Switzerland. The majority of the funding for this program was provided by the National Science Foundation, with additional support from the American Quaternary Association. Eighteen fellowships were provided to U.S. graduate students and early career scientists to help them defray their travel costs. Two-thirds of the awardees stated that they would not have been able to attend the meeting without this support. For 82% of the recipients, this INQUA congress was their first international meeting. Intellectual merit: All recipients reported that they made new scientific contacts and discussed collaborations with foreign and/or U.S. scientists. At the congress they presented their latest findings, learned about cutting-edge research, and enriched their networks. One awardee stated that "early career folks are less likely to be invited abroad to give talks/visit institutions, AND less likely to have adequate funding to attend international meetings... so the fellowship helps allow this important form of career development to take place." This meeting helped them understand "how regionally-based research questions fit into the global-scale picture." Eighty-two percent of the recipients shared information about this meeting with their colleagues. Broader impact: Recipients expressed that this program is valuable to U.S. science and technology because it allowed them to present their research at an extremely diverse, rich conference with great potential to establish new international collaborations, which, in turn, will help enrich U.S. Quaternary research. It also made them aware of how scientific questions are sometimes approached differently in the U.S., which will allow them, and, by extension, the U.S., to be competitive in the global scientific arena. Awardees reported that feedback received after their presentations is helping them refine and write new scientific papers and that "the perspective gained in early career stages will be important later, when advising and mentoring become greater responsibilities." The level of satisfaction with the program was very high, and the recipients greatly valued the opportunity extended by the National Science Foundation through its grant to the U.S. National Committee for the International Union of Quaternary Research to present their research at this premier international Quaternary science conference.

National Science Foundation (NSF)
Directorate for Geosciences (GEO)
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Maria L. Uhle
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National Academy of Sciences
United States
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