The International Seabed Authority Endowment Fund promotes and encourages the conduct of collaborative marine scientific research in the international seabed area through two main activities:
The Secretariat of the Authority facilitates these activities by maintaining a list of opportunities for scientific collaboration, including research cruises, deep-sea sample analysis and training and internship programmes. This entails building a network of cooperating groups interested in (or presently undertaking) these types of activities and programmes, such as universities, institutions and contractors with the Authority.
Members of the network to date include the National Oceanography Centre (United Kingdom); the National Institute of Ocean Technology (India); the French Institute for the Exploitation of the Sea (IFREMER); the Federal Institute for Geosciences and Natural Resources (Germany); the Natural History Museum (United Kingdom); Duke University (USA); and InterRidge, an international, non-profit programme promoting interdisciplinary studies of oceanic spreading centres.
Application guidelines have been prepared for potential funding recipients to participate in marine scientific research programmes or other cooperative scientific activity, to enrol in training programmes, and to qualify for technical assistance. An advisory panel evaluates all applications and makes recommendations to the Secretary-General of the International Seabed Authority for the award of funding assistance.
To maximize the potential of the Fund, the Secretariat is also seeking donations and in-kind contributions to build on the initial investment of US$3 million. During 2008 and 2009, contributions were received from the governments of Germany, Mexico, Norway, Spain and the United Kingdom.