The Florida Institute for Conservation Science (FICS) is an independent, non-partisan, and non-sectarian think tank and research institute. We are not strictly academic; rather, we draw individuals from universities, non-governmental organizations, government agencies, consulting firms, industry, and elsewhere in the public and private sectors to address critical issues in conservation, restoration, land-use, and regional planning. We select those individuals, largely biological and social scientists, who are best qualified through their knowledge and experience to tackle particular problems within this domain. Some individual scientists will participate in these exercises pro bono; however, individuals who devote substantial time to projects will be compensated as funding allows (i.e., as contract staff).
Our basic model of operation has two parts:
- teams of experts meeting in a workshop or other interactive format to assemble and apply existing scientific information (i.e., similar to the successful approach of the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis) and peer reviews, and
- collaborative research projects in applied conservation biology. Both of these approaches are directed toward the solution of urgent conservation problems in Florida and elsewhere. Our primary geographical region of operation is Florida, the southeastern U.S., and the Caribbean Basin; however, we will pursue projects outside of this region that conform to our mission and expertise.
In addition to inviting qualified individuals to participate in workshops and research projects, FICS will partner with other organizations—agencies, counties, NGOs, professional societies (e.g., Society for Conservation Biology), and other research institutes—to address issues of mutual concern and to avoid redundancy of effort. The clientele of FICS includes government agencies (county, state, federal), regional planning councils, conservation groups, charitable foundations, private landowners, and industry.
FICS functions as a small, cost-effective, “lean and mean” institution with minimal internal staffing and overhead, but with optimal connectivity to the scientific community and other institutions.