International Council for Science
|International Council of Scientific Unions|
The International Council for Science (ICSU, after its former name, International Council of Scientific Unions) was an international organization devoted to international cooperation in the advancement of science. Its members are national scientific bodies and international scientific unions.
In 2017 ICSU comprised 122 multi-disciplinary National Scientific Members, Associates and Observers representing 142 countries and 31 international, disciplinary Scientific Unions. ICSU also had 22 Scientific Associates.
Mission and principles
- Identify and address major issues of importance to science and society.
- Facilitate interaction amongst scientists across all disciplines and from all countries.
- Promote the participation of all scientists — regardless of race, citizenship, language, political stance, or gender — in the international scientific endeavour.
- Provide independent, authoritative advice to stimulate constructive dialogue between the scientific community and governments, civil society, and the private sector."
Activities focused on three areas: International Research Collaboration, Science for Policy, and Universality of Science.
In 2018 ICSU became the International Science Council.
ICSU itself was one of the oldest non-governmental organizations in the world, representing the evolution and expansion of two earlier bodies known as the International Association of Academies (IAA; 1899-1914) and the International Research Council (IRC; 1919-1931). In 1998, Members agreed that the Council’s current composition and activities would be better reflected by modifying the name from the International Council of Scientific Unions to the International Council for Science, while its rich history and strong identity would be well served by retaining the existing acronym, ICSU.
Universality of science
The ICSU Principle of Universality of Science states: "the free and responsible practice of science is fundamental to scientific advancement and human and environmental well-being. Such practice, in all its aspects, requires freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists, as well as equitable access to data, information, and other resources for research. It requires responsibility at all levels to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency, recognising its benefits and possible harms.
In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, ICSU promotes equitable opportunities for access to science and its benefits, and opposes discrimination based on such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political or other opinion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, or age."  Adherence to this Principle is a condition of ICSU membership. The Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS) "serves as the guardian of the Principle and undertakes a variety of actions to defend scientific freedoms and promote integrity and responsibility."
The ICSU Secretariat (20 staff in 2012) in Paris ensured the day-to-day planning and operations under the guidance of an elected Executive Board. Three Policy Committees − Committee on Scientific Planning and Review (CSPR), Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS) and Committee on Finance − assisted the Executive Board in its work and a General Assembly of all Members was convened every three years. ICSU has three Regional Offices − Africa, Asia and the Pacific as well as Latin America and the Caribbean.
The principal source of ICSU's finances was the contributions it receives from its members. Other sources of income are the framework contracts from UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and grants and contracts from United Nations bodies, foundations and agencies, which are used to support the scientific activities of the ICSU Unions and interdisciplinary bodies.
Member Scientific Unions
Member Scientific Associates
- ICSU’s Our Members web page, updated on 6 October 2017
- ICSU’s About Us web page, updated on 14 December 2011
- ICSU’s A Brief History web page, updated on 6 October 2017
- International Council for Science (September 2011). Statutes and Rules of Procedure (PDF). Paris, France: ISCU. p. 2. Retrieved 6 October 2017.
- ICSU’s Universality of Science web section, updated on 6 October 2017
- Greenaway, Frank (2006) Science International: A History of the International Council of Scientific Unions Cambridge University Press ISBN 9780521028103
- Frängsmyr, Tore (1990) Solomon's house revisited: the organization and institutionalization of science. Science History Publications, U.S.A. ISBN 9780881350661
- Crawford, Elisabeth (2002) Nationalism and Internationalism in Science, 1880-1939. Cambridge University Press ISBN 9780521524742