About the Foundation for Emerging Nations (FEN)


Purpose of the FEN

The purpose of the FEN, as defined in the legal Foundation Deed states: “The Foundation is devoted to fund raising and to supporting programmes that help to improve the quality and delivery of laboratory medicine services, particularly in emerging nations.” 

The Foundation Board determined that during the first years of the operation of the FEN it would not attempt to attach any constraints to this definition. In so doing the Board wished to permit flexibility in the interpretation of the purpose of the FEN in order to maximise the opportunities for receiving donations and to permit support of innovative projects that may not conform to traditional boundaries in laboratory medicine. Therefore, flexibility exists in the interpretation of ‘programmes’, quality and delivery’; ‘laboratory medicine’; and ‘emerging nations.


Laboratory medicine:

  • Involves performing tests on samples of blood or other biological specimens from patients, their family members and selected populations
  • Offers >2000 different investigations across several sub-specialities:


Laboratory medicine supports investigations across the full range of healthcare.



A high percentage of all clinical decisions are influenced by laboratory medicine results. Therefore, the quality of laboratory medicine services has a direct impact on patient safety and clinical outcomes.


Examples of projects eligible for Foundation support:

 The Foundation Board agreed that project funding from FEN could be made available to societies, groups or individuals provided that the project will lead to an outcome that:

  • Can be assessed in terms of quality improvement, and/or
  • Provides a baseline for local support to continue the project


Projects will be educational in nature and may occur at undergraduate or postgraduate level. Suitable projects will be in line with the mission, aims and overall strategic direction of IFCC. The following examples of projects may be suitable to attract Foundation support. The list is intended to be illustrative and not exclusive:

  • Educational workshops on any aspect of quality in laboratory medicine
  • Development and/or implementation of distance learning programmes
  • Support for ‘train the trainer’ sessions
  • Development of a strategic action plan for a national society
  • Pilot project to demonstrate the value of external quality assessment
  • Exchange programme to enable an individual to improve the scientific or quality management service offered by his/her laboratory
  • Programme to promote the contribution of quality and value of laboratory medicine to healthcare


The Foundation Board does not envisage that the FEN will support individual scholarships to attend congresses.

Specific examples of projects eligible for FEN support can be found in the ‘Projects’ section of the website.


The operation of the Foundation:

Foundation Board: 

The Foundation Board has five members who have breadth of experience in laboratory medicine and in the operation of Charitable Foundations. Details of the Board members can be located under the ‘Board’ section of the website.

The Board undertakes the following statutory duties:

  • Designation of authorised signatories and determination of the nature of their signatory powers
  • Appointment of members of the Board
  • Appointment of an external auditor
  • Approval of the annual financial statements

In addition the Board should comply with its adopted By-laws.

The Board has as its main operational duties:

  • Fundraising to increase the finance in the FEN account and to support projects
  • Soliciting and evaluating project proposals
  • Approving, monitoring and securing reports from approved projects
  • Publicity and promotion of the Foundation

The initial Board will meet on a minimum of two occasions each year. Meetings will normally be held by Skype or conference call. All Board meetings will be recorded in formal Minutes.

Relationship with IFCC:

IFCC, through its Executive Board, is the Founder of FEN; it recommends members to sit on the Foundation Board; and it has provided the start-up funding to enable FEN to function. In order to attract funding from FEN projects should be consistent with the mission, aims and overall strategic direction of IFCC. However, applicants do not require to be IFCC Members.

The business plan of The FEN has received approval from the IFCC Executive Board. The FEN operates independently from IFCC within the terms of the business plan. The Foundation Board sends copies of all Minutes and other relevant documents to the IFCC Secretary for information.

Financial arrangements:

The FEN conducts all financial transactions through a designated FEN account, which has been established with Credit Suisse Bank and which is independently audited on an annual basis. The Foundation Board recommends that the signatories for the FEN account.

Publicity and promotion:

The FEN website (www.ifccfoundation.org) is the main vehicle for promoting and publicising the Foundation. In addition the Foundation Board has designed and produced simple leaflets that may be distributed to potential donors and applicants for funding.

The Foundation Board recognises that individual campaigns will be required to solicit major donations to the FEN. Wherever possible such campaigns will be conducted through personal contact with the potential donor.

Soliciting and evaluating project proposals

Applications shall be submitted in a standard format and shall be sent by electronic mail directly to the Chair of the Foundation Board. There are two deadlines for the receipt of applications each year: 31 March and 30 September. Details are available from the ‘Apply for a Grant’ section of the website.

The Foundation Board uses external referees to assess applications according to a standard scoresheet and shall determine outcomes within two months of the closing date. The number of awards that can be made is determined by the quality of the applications and the available funding. Successful and unsuccessful applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application within two months of the closing date.

Successful applicants are funded from the FEN account. Payment is made by electronic transfer into a designated bank account. Evidence of receipt of the funding is required.

Reporting the outcomes of successful applications:

All projects funded by FEN are required to produce a final report, which includes:

  • Achievements against proposals
  • Impact on quality of laboratory medicine
  • Lessons learned and follow-on activity
  • Accounts that detail how the award was spent.
  • A short article that is suitable for publication on the FEN website

Disbursement of funds:

The FEN will keep administration costs to a minimum. The Foundation Board has a target to distribute >90% of funding received to support projects. Initially, while funding is being accumulated, a lower target will apply.