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George Pemberton Applied Ichnology Fund



Prof. Dr. S. George Pemberton has produced three generations of researchers who combine ichnology with stratigraphy and sedimentology in their research. Using this integrated approach, George and his graduate students have led the field in applying ichnology to subsurface studies, understanding the ichnology of brackish-water settings, integrating ichnology and sequence stratigraphy, and investigating biogenically affected permeability in reservoir studies. In each of these areas, George has been an international driver of applied ichnology.

Direct impacts of George’s research efforts include the identification and interpretation of estuarine deposits in the Athabasca Oil Sands of Alberta. This led directly to the geological model currently employed by the industrial practitioners working in the McMurray oilsands deposits. Equally important was George’s establishment of the stratigraphic application of trace fossils in sequence stratigraphy. This work was derived from concepts Dr. Pemberton developed with Exxon in the 1980’s. George showed that ichnological models integrated into sequence-stratigraphic frameworks permitted subsurface workers to integrate core with seismic data, thereby enabling the identification of otherwise cryptic (but important) sequence stratigraphic surfaces. This led to better understanding and development of the Crystal oil-field (a fossil estuarine incised valley) in the Viking Formation of Alberta and has been since applied to oil- and gas-fields around the world. Finally, George was the first worker to report on biogenic permeability conduits in sedimentary rocks. Essentially, this work showed that bioturbation can have a positive impact on the quality of oil and gas reservoirs. This work was applied to the Ghawar Field in Saudi Arabia, the Prudhoe Bay fields in Alaska, and to important Cretaceous reservoirs in Colombia. Only in the last 5 years is the rest of the sedimentary community catching up to George in the above areas, which is a testament to his vision.

The George Pemberton Applied Ichnology Fund is intended to encourage undergraduate and graduate students to pursue the field of applied ichnology. The fund is to support them financially in order to attend ichnologic meetings and to present research in a particular topic related to George’s interests.

Depending on the availability of funds, the committee or the Board of the IIA is entitled to propose new awards for events other than ICHNIA.

Eligibility: Applicants may include any senior undergraduate or graduate student member of the IIA who is currently enrolled as a candidate for an academic degree at a scientific institution anywhere in the world. Candidates should be members of the International Ichnological Association at the time of application for the scholarship.

Travel Application: Applicants must submit: (1) a written request (in letter form) for scholarship funds, indicating their intention to attend an ichnological meeting and identify if there is any other financial assistance available that can complement the travel grant; (2) an estimated budget of the travel expenses; (3) an abstract of the ichnological research that the student intends to present (either oral or poster) at the meeting; (4) a short CV of the candidate; and (5) any additional information that the applicant may wish to submit that relates to his/her future aspirations as a professional scientist through the application of ichnology to significant geological and/or biological problems (e.g., publications, previous presentations).

Deadline: The complete application must be submitted to the President of the IIA no later than six months prior to the beginning date of the meeting that will be attended.

Selection Committee: The President of the IIA, with the consent of the other officers, shall appoint a George Pemberton Applied Ichnology Fund Scholarship Selection Committee, consisting of not less than three and not more than seven persons, all of whom must be full (not student) members of the IIA. The President shall designate one of those persons to serve as chair of the selection committee. Service on the selection committee may be for one or more years, at the discretion of the IIA President. In case that a request is submitted by a person for whom a committee member acts as advisor, that committee member should recuse themselves from voting on the application.

Selection Criteria: The scholarship selection committee will review and evaluate all applications. Criteria for selection of a scholarship recipient will include assessments of: (1) the specific financial needs of the applicant; (2) the scientific merits of the research that will be presented; and (3) the promise of the applicant as an outstanding contributor to the advancement of the science of ichnology in the future.  

Recommendation and Fund Allocation: After evaluating the applicants and considering the possible amount of funds to be awarded, the scholarship selection committee will decide by simple majority vote to recommend the scholarship recipient(s) and the monetary amount of the scholarship award(s) to the IIA President, who is required to approve the committee’s decision or request further deliberation by the selection committee. The IIA Board, together with the George Pemberton Applied Ichnology Fund Committee, will decide every year/period on the amount of funds allocated to the scholarship as well as the maximum amount per individual, prior to opening the awarding process. One or more scholarships may be awarded during any given year up to the total amount allocated per event, but there is no requirement that a scholarship must be awarded in any given year. Any given candidate may receive only one award for a given calendar year.

Income: Income to the scholarship fund includes monetary contributions from any individual or organization plus interest earned on investments of the principal of the fund. Potential non-monetary contributions, such as objects (e.g., fossil specimens or art objects) or investment instruments that cannot be sold easily will not be accepted.

Investment: At the discretion of the IIA officers, some portion or the entire principal of the scholarship fund may be invested responsibly in such a way as to generate interest income to be used for future scholarship awards.

Disbursement: The scholarship recipient(s) will receive a check in the full amount of the scholarship award from the IIA Treasurer after the particular meeting.  Use of the money should be restricted to expenditures to cover the costs of: (1) the meeting registration fee; (2) field trip fees; (3) travel expenses to the meeting venue; (4) daily expenses for lodging and meals during the meeting; and/or (5) preparation costs related to the student’s poster presentation at the meeting. After the funds are expended, the scholarship recipient must submit a brief account of how the money was spent to the IIA Treasurer. To avoid double funding of one activity, the original receipts must to be submitted by the student to the IIA treasurer.

Money in the scholarship fund will be used exclusively for scholarship awards. Incidental costs for managing the scholarship fund, such as postage or printing of scholarship certificates, should be paid from the general fund of the IIA and not from the scholarship fund.

Accounting: At least once a year, and coordinated with the financial budgeting and reporting procedures of the Association, the IIA Treasurer will submit a report of the status of the George Pemberton Applied Ichnology Fund, including a summary of the income, disbursements and remaining balance to the IIA Committee and the donors.

Changes: Any deviations from procedures outlined in the above controlling document or any changes to the above controlling document must be approved by a unanimous vote of the IIA officers.


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