In 2014, the Itoigawa Global Geopark introduced a new program, the Itoigawa Geopark Academic Research Promotion Grant. This grant, offered to young researchers and students of universities and other academic facilities, is designed to encourage new research into earth sciences and related fields within the Itoigawa Global Geopark.
A number of students and researchers have applied to the grant, which helps pay for transportation and accommodation expenses as well as other expenses related to the research. The research topics include a range of topics from the strictly geological to research into geotourism potential and more.
This is Itoigawa Global Geopark’s first attempt at offering an academic grant. The Geopark Council will follow the researchers and their research closely and, if the research shows promise, the grant may become an annual program.
By engaging the academic community directly, Global Geoparks may reap a number of benefits. Through grant programs like this one, Global Geoparks have an excellent means of not only encouraging research into the earth sciences and conservation, but also developing a better understanding of the geopark itself and ways to work toward the important goal of continual improvement. As research papers become published, they can also introduce more and more researchers in a variety of fields to Global Geoparks, highlighting their value not only in conservation and geotourism, but also in academic research and education.