International Council for Science
|International Council of Scientific Unions|
The International Council for Science (abbreviated ICSU, after its former name, International Council of Scientific Unions) is an international organization devoted to international cooperation in the advancement of science. Its members are national scientific bodies and international scientific unions. As of 2012, it comprises 120 multi-disciplinary National Scientific Members, Associates and Observers representing 140 countries and 31 international, disciplinary Scientific Unions. ICSU also has 22 Scientific Associates.
"ICSU’s mission is to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. To do this, ICSU mobilizes the knowledge and resources of the international science community to:
- 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."1
Activities focus on three areas: International Research Collaboration, Science for Policy, and Universality of Science.
ICSU is one of the oldest non-governmental organizations in the world and represents 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.2
"The universality of science in its broadest sense is about developing a truly global scientific community on the basis of equity and non-discrimination. It is also about ensuring that science is trusted and valued by societies across the world. As such, it incorporates issues related to the conduct of science; capacity building; science education and literacy; access to data and information and the relationship between science and society. [...] Underpinning this broader concept of universality is the Principle of the Universality of Science (ICSU Statute 5)3 which is more narrowly focused on the freedoms and responsibilities of science. Adherence to this Principle is a condition of ICSU membership. The policy Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS)4 serves as the guardian of the Principle and undertakes a variety of actions to defend scientific freedoms and promote integrity and responsibility."5
The "Freedom and Responsibility Portal" on the ICSU's website documents its activities in these areas.6
The ICSU Secretariat (20 staff in 2012) in Paris ensures 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 − assist the Executive Board in its work and a General Assembly of all Members is 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 is 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.
- 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
- ICSU.org, the official website
- ICSU at University of Waterloo Scholarly Societies directory
- ICSU at United Nations
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