International representation

The Academy is an active member of the IAP for Science, IAP for Research, IAP for Health and The Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia. It is also responsible for Australia’s representation on the International Council for Science, as well as relevant international scientific unions and interdisciplinary bodies that convene scientists across disciplinary boundaries to coordinate research to address issues of global significance.

International Council for Science

Since its founding in 1931, the International Council for Science (ICSU) has been a non-governmental organisation dedicated to promoting international co-operation in science through a global network of members, which consists of 31 international scientific unions and interdisciplinary bodies as well as 122 National Scientific Members, representing 142 countries. Australia is a foundational member of ICSU and, since 1954, the Academy has managed this engagement as the Australian Adhering Organisation. The engagement with ICSU and its scientific unions is aided by the Academy’s 22 National Committees for Science.

In October 2017, a joint general assembly of ICSU and the International Social Science Council voted overwhelmingly in support of a merger of the two organisations. The incorporation of both science and social sciences will enable the newly formed International Science Council (ISC) to better respond to future global challenges.

More about the Academy’s involvement with the International Council for Science.

IAP for Science

IAP for Science (formerly the IAP: global network of science academies) was launched in 1993 and includes 107 academies. Its primary objectives are to:

  • Provide high-quality, independent advice on science-related issues to government and society
  • Develop programs for scientific capacity building, science education, science communication and other science-related issues of global significance
  • Lead efforts to forge closer collaboration among science academies and other scientific institutions

IAP for Science is particularly interested in assisting young and small academies achieve these objectives and, through the communication links and networks created by IAP for Science activities, all academies will be able to raise their public profile among citizens and their influence among policy makers.

The Academy was elected to the Executive Committee of the IAP for Science in 2016 and will serve until 2019.

IAP for Science Statements

IAP for Science produces statements on issues of fundamental importance to humanity. These statements are not only a reflection of the major issues that confront society but are also evidence of IAP for Science’s ongoing commitment to society. The Academy has endorsed the following statements:

November 2017: Statement on Science and Technology for Disaster Risk Reduction

December 2017: Statement on Climate Change and Education

More IAP for Science Statements can be found on their website.

IAP for Research

IAP for Research (formerly the InterAcademy Council) was established by the world's science academies in 2000. Its mission is to mobilise the best scientists and engineers worldwide to provide high quality advice and to produce reports on scientific, technological and health issues related to the great global challenges of our time, providing knowledge and expert advice to international organisations such as the United Nations.

IAP for Research’s governing body includes 15 academies of science and equivalent organisations from developed and developing countries, and representatives from IAP for Science, International Council for Science, International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences, and IAP for Health and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World.

The Academy was first elected to the Board in 2009 and was re-elected for a further four year term in 2017.

IAP for Research Projects

The IAP for Research, in partnership with the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), and supported by the Carnegie Corporation of New York (CCNY), is undertaking two three-year projects which the Australian Academy of Science is contributing to through representation on the respective working groups.

Harnessing Science, Engineering and Medicine to Address Africa’s Challenges: The project will engage African and non-African leaders in science, engineering and medicine, African governments, bodies such as the United Nations and the African Union, the global donor community, industry, and other stakeholders in activities that demonstrate the value of independent academy science-policy advice, with the ultimate goal of ensuring sustainability of national investment of science and technology. 

Academy Vice President Dr TJ Higgins AO FAA FTSE is a member of the working group for this project.

Improving Scientific Input to Global Policymaking: Strategies for Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): The project will develop a framework for action that strengthens the global science-policy interface and will also facilitate productive collaboration and adoption of best practices among the organisations that generate scientific advice.

IAP has published a guide to the SDGs as a resource for all merit-based academies and other interested members of the global science community.  It sets out, in a simple, succinct way, why and how they can support the SDGs nationally, regionally and globally:

Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals: A Guide for Merit-Based Academies

Academy Treasurer Professor Michael Barber AO FAA FTSE is a member of the working group for this project.

IAP for Health

IAP for Health, a network of the world's medical academies and medical sections of academies of science and engineering, is committed to improving health world-wide. The goals of IAP for Health are to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of academies to provide evidence based advice to governments on health and science policy
  • Support the creation of new academies
  • Support the creation of projects by member academies to strengthen research and higher education in their countries
  • Issue consensus statements on matters of importance to global health

The Academy is a member of the IAP for Health. 

Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia

The Association of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia (AASSA) was launched in 2012, as a consequence of the merger of AASA (The Association of Academies of Sciences in Asia) and FASAS (The Federation of Asian Scientific Academies and Societies). The objective of the merger was to establish a single Asian science grouping in order to be more visible and effective in the region, and to tackle the long-term challenges requiring science-based advice. It is a non-profit international organisation with science and technology interests, made up of 34 scientific and technological academies and science societies in Asia and Australasia.

In 2016, the Academy’s Foreign Secretary, Professor Cheryl Praeger FAA, was elected as a Member-at-Large of AASSA’s Executive Board. Professor Praeger was also asked to chair the AASSA Special Committee for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) which was established in 2017. 

Past activities

See some of the international events and activities with which the Academy has been involved.

© 2018 Australian Academy of Science

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