International Council for Science

The International Council for Science (ICSU) is a non-government organisation with a global membership of 48 international scientific unions (ISUs) and interdisciplinary science bodies, and 120 national scientific bodies representing 140 countries. These organisations convene scientists within and across the disciplines to coordinate research and address issues of global significance. Australian Professor David Black FAA is the current Secretary-General of ICSU.

The Academy meets responsibilities and obligations that arise from the ICSU memberships with the assistance of the National Committees for Science. These include nomination of Australian candidates for executive committee positions, appointment of voting delegates to general assemblies.

On this page:

  • Australian membership managed by the Academy
  • Australian representation on ICSU organisations
  • Australian partner organisations
  • Union meetings held in Australia
  • Future Earth Australia
  • Report: Maximising the benefits from Australia’s formal linkages to global scientific activities

Australian membership managed by the Academy

Australian partner organisations

The Academy has established valuable agreements with professional societies to enable more Australian researchers to have a voice on the international stage. These partners work closely with the relevant National Committees to promote the benefits of the unions to the scientific community. In 2016 these organisations are:

Australian representation on ICSU organisations

Australia’s global science credibility and influence is enhanced by high-level representation on the executives of ICSU organisations. Each ICSU organisation has substructures of committees and task groups in which an estimated 370 Australians serve at any given time. This gives Australian scientists extensive opportunities to contribute to international strategic planning and priority setting, and to establish research collaborations with other leaders in their fields.

A current list of Australians holding positions on the executive boards of ICSU organisations may be found here.

Union meetings held in Australia

Australian organisations routinely bid to hold congresses and scientific meetings of the unions in Australia. Recent and upcoming meetings are listed below:

Union Meeting City Year
SCOR SOOS Scientific Steering Committee and Associated Meetings Hobart 2015
Future Earth 2015 Conference on Earth System Governance: Democracy and resilience in the Anthropocene Canberra 2015
IGU International Conference on Population Geographies Brisbane 2015
IUPAC 23rd International Conference on Physical Organic Chemistry Sydney 2016
IUPAC 17th International Biotechnology Symposium and Exhibition Melbourne 2016
IAU The Multi-Messenger Astrophysics of the Galactic Centre Cairns 2016
IUIS International Veterinary Immunology Symposium Gold Coast 2016
IUIS 16th International Congress of Immunology Melbourne 2016
IUGS IGS Workshop 2016 Sydney 2016
Future Earth The Ocean in a High CO2 World Symposium Hobart 2016
Future Earth Future Earth session at AMOS/ARCCSS National Conference 2016 Melbourne 2016
IUPAC Federation of Asian Chemical societies’ ACC-17 Melbourne 2017
IUMRS International Conference of Young Researchers on Advanced Materials Adelaide 2018
COSPAR 43rd Scientific Assembly Sydney 2020
SCAR XXXVI SCAR Scientific Assembly Hobart 2020

Guidelines for scientific meetings held in Australia

The Academy’s guidelines set out the policy on holding international meetings in Australia for the information of the relevant scientific communities, convention bureaus and other interested organisations and may be found here.

Future Earth in Australia

Future Earth Australia seeks to help, present and future researchers, governments, civil society, holders of local knowledge, research funders and the private sector work together towards solutions for sustainable futures. Like its global parent, Future Earth Australia’s vision is for people to thrive in a sustainable and equitable world.

With support from the Australian Council of Learned Academies (ACOLA), Future Earth Australia is consulting broadly with leading multidisciplinary researchers, business groups and community organisations to develop a strategic plan for Future Earth in Australia.

Report: Maximising the benefits from Australia’s formal linkages to global scientific activities

Science by nature is an international enterprise. Contributing to progress in science, developing excellence in Australian science, and maximising the benefits of science requires that Australia participates fully in this enterprise. This report was published in 2005.


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