Since the conclusion of the 35th International Geological Congress (35th IGC) in September 2016, we have had some time to reflect on South Africa’s achievements. Although it was inevitable that there would be some challenges in managing an event of this magnitude and complexity, the overwhelming sentiment, expressed by IUGS President, at the time,  Prof. Roland Oberhänsli as well as from many delegates and accompanying persons, has been that the Congress was an overwhelming success. This was largely due to the commitment and hard work of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) working with professional congress organisers, aided by guidance from the 35th IGC Foundation Board. We had a wonderful team and are immensely proud of their efforts which were instrumental in us being able to stage such a world class event. The invaluable support of our generous sponsors was also a crucial factor in ensuring the success of the 35th IGC and we have extended our sincere thanks to them for their unwavering commitment.

The Congress took place against the backdrop of extremely difficult economic times and thus we are most appreciative for the participation of the over 4000 delegates and accompanying persons who attended. We were thrilled with this attendance and welcomed delegates from 117 countries. Over 5000 abstracts were submitted for oral and poster sessions. The 35th IGC was characterized by a Scientific Programme of great diversity and outstanding quality. Three core topics representing the major strands of contemporary geoscience underpinned the scientific content and provided the framework about which 48 different themes were presented.

After six years of planning and hard work the closing of the 35th IGC was somewhat of an anti-climax. We take heart, however, in the knowledge that several excellent legacy projects, particularly from an educational, geo-heritage and geo-tourism point of view have originated at the 35th IGC. These will keep many of us busy for some time to come.

Establishment of the 35IGC Legacy Fund

Registration Number: 2011/007032/08

Following a directive from the IUGS concerning all International Geological Congress events, one of the goals of the LOC of the Congress was to establish a Legacy Fund with surplus funds that might be generated by the 35th IGC. The Legacy Fund was envisaged to support the southern African earth science community into the future.

The 35IGC Legacy Fund has been formally established and registered as a stand-alone, non-profit company (NPC). The surplus funds will be managed to ensure long term financial security that can support annual disbursements at a quantum that does not exceed annualised income. Depending on investment markets it is hoped that capital growth will be achieved, bolstered by donations from 3rd parties.

Mandate of the 35IGC Legacy Fund

In terms of the Memorandum of Incorporation (MOI) adopted, the 35IGC Legacy Fund NPC is a Non-Profit Company without members, with the following objects:

“To utilise surplus funds received for the 35th International Geological Congress or returns generated from the investment of such funds or future donations to the Company for the benefit, promotion and/or advancement of the general geosciences, geoscience students and/or professionals, or other geoscience stakeholders as may be identified from time to time by the Directors of the Company, within their sole and absolute discretion.”

The fund mandate aims at assisting earth science research, development, and innovation, through direct or indirect project or individual funding.  The fund mandate is not overly prescriptive to allow flexibility in coming years or decades to serve the geo-science and the geo-science community. The 35IGC Legacy Fund may solicit additional financial support from other agencies.  One of the main aims would be to promote legacy projects in line with the scope of the 35th IGC, including support to students to attend local or international congresses and conferences.

To implement its mandate, the 35IGC Legacy Fund shall financially assist:

  • Selected earth science research, development and innovation (RDI) projects in the broad sphere of geo-science disciplines.
  • Student attendance of local and international geo-science conferences, and in particular the International Geological Congresses.
  • Geoheritage projects developed because of 35th International Geological Congress.
  • Publication of fieldtrip guidebooks, textbooks or other materials that will assist in the communication to, and education of, society about geoscience matters.
  • Geotourism initiatives preferably in partnership with government and local tourism agencies

Types of support include but are not limited to:

  • Direct and indirect RDI costs, including analytical costs,
  • Fieldwork support,
  • Conference attendance (travel, subsistence, and registration),
  • Geo-heritage and geo-tourism initiatives,
  • Publication charges, including thesis and dissertation costs,
  • Sponsorship for geo-science seminars, workshops and conferences.


  1. The 35IGC Legacy Fund will not provide support for ‘closed/bespoke research of a confidential nature, applications for prospecting or mining rights, due diligence studies, applications for patents, or any other activity of a restricted nature.
  2. Funding is not necessarily restricted to academic, government or para-statal employees and will also be extended to eligible private sector earth scientists.