International Council for Science
Merged intoInternational Social Science Council
SuccessorInternational Science Council
Formation1931; 93 years ago (1931)
DissolvedJuly 2018; 5 years ago (2018-07)
HeadquartersParis, France
Peter Gluckman
Formerly called
International Council of Scientific Unions
  Members as participants in the Caribbean Academy of Sciences or University of the South Pacific

The International Council for Science (ICSU, after its former name, International Council of Scientific Unions) was an international non-governmental organization devoted to international cooperation in the advancement of science. Its members were national scientific bodies and international scientific unions.

In 2017, the 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.[1] In July 2018, ICSU merged with the International Social Science Council (ISSC) to form the International Science Council (ISC) at a constituent general assembly in Paris.[2]

Mission and principles

The ICSU's mission was to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. To do this, the ICSU mobilized the knowledge and resources of the international scientific community to:

Activities focused on three areas: International Research Collaboration, Science for Policy, and Universality of Science.


In July 2018, the ICSU became the International Science Council (ISC).

The 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.[4]

Universality of science

The Principle of Freedom and Responsibility in Science: 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, recognizing its benefits and possible harms. In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, the council 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.[5]

The International Science Council's Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in Science (CFRS) "oversees this commitment and is the guardian of this work."[5]


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 organizations

Abbreviation Union Member Since Field
IAU International Astronomical Union 1922 Astronomy
IBRO International Brain Research Organization 1993 Neuroscience
ICA International Cartographic Association 1990 Cartography
IGU International Geographical Union 1923 Geography
IMU International Mathematical Union 1922 Mathematics
INQUA International Union for Quaternary Research 2005 Quaternary Period
ISA International Sociological Association 2011 Sociology and Social Sciences
ISPRS International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing 2002 Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
IUAES International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences 1993 Anthropology and Ethnology
IUBMB International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 1955 Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
IUBS International Union of Biological Sciences 1925 Biology
IUCr International Union of Crystallography 1947 Crystallography
IUFRO International Union of Forest Research Organizations 2005 Forestry
IUFoST International Union of Food Science and Technology 1996 Food science and Food technology
IUGG International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics 1919 Geodesy and Geophysics
IUGS International Union of Geological Sciences 1922 Geology
IUHPS International Union of History and Philosophy of Science 1922 History of science and Philosophy of science
IUIS International Union of Immunological Societies 1976 Immunology
IUMRS International Union of Materials Research Societies 2005 Materials science
IUMS International Union of Microbiological Societies 1982 Microbiology
IUNS International Union of Nutritional Sciences 1968 Nutrition
IUPAB International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics 1966 Biophysics
IUPAC International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry 1922 Chemistry
IUPAP International Union of Pure and Applied Physics 1922 Physics
IUPESM International Union for Physical and Engineering Sciences in Medicine 1999 Medical physics
IUPHAR International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology 1972 Pharmacology
IUPS International Union of Physiological Sciences 1955 Physiology
IUPsyS International Union of Psychological Science 1982 Psychology
IUSS International Union of Soil Sciences 1993 Soil science
IUTAM International Union of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics 1947 Mechanics
IUTOX International Union of Toxicology 1996 Toxicology
URSI International Union of Radio Science 1922 Radio science

Associate member organizations

Abbr. Associate
4S Society for Social Studies of Science
AAS African Academy of Sciences
AASSA Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia
ACAL Academia de Ciencias de América Latina
CIE Commission Internationale de l'Eclairage
FIG Fédération internationale des géomètres
IAHR International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research
IASC International Arctic Science Committee
ICA (acoustics) International Commission for Acoustics
ICIAM International Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
ICLAS International Council for Laboratory Animal Science
ICO International Commission for Optics
ICSTI International Council for Scientific and Technical Information
IFIP International Federation for Information Processing
IFLA International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
IFS International Foundation for Science
IFSM International Federation of Societies for Microscopy
IIASA International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
IUVSTA International Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications
IWA International Water Association
PSA Pacific Science Association
SCOPE Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment
TWAS The World Academy of Sciences
UIS Union Internationale de Spéléologie

See also

Abbr. Organisation
CIAAW Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights
CODATA Committee on Data for Science and Technology
COSPAR Committee on Space Research
GCOS Global Climate Observing System
IGBP International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme
IHDP International Human Dimensions Programme
SCAR Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
SCOPE Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment
SCOR Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research
INASP International Network for the Availability of Scientific Publications
WCRP World Climate Research Programme
WDS World Data System


  1. ^ ICSU's Our Members web page, updated on 6 October 2017
  2. ^ "Introduction · Documentation on the ICSU/ISSC merger process". Retrieved 26 September 2022.
  3. ^ ISC's About Us web page, updated on 14 December 2011
  4. ^ ISC's A Brief History web page, updated on 6 October 2017
  5. ^ a b International Science Council (n.d.). "ISC Steatite 7: Freedoms and Responsibilities in Science". International Science Council. Retrieved 24 April 2021.