ICSU-ISSC merger

At their joint General Assembly in Taipei in October 2017, the members of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) took a final decision to merge the two organizations to become the International Science Council (ISC).

The founding General Assembly of the new Council took place in Paris, France, from July 3 to July 5, 2018.

The strategy of the new organization emphasizes that the importance of scientific understanding to society has never been greater, as humanity grapples with the problems of living sustainably and equitably on planet Earth. It stakes out a space for the Council to defend the inherent value and values of all science at a time when it has become harder for the scientific voice to be heard. It will strengthen international, interdisciplinary collaboration and support scientists to contribute solutions to complex and pressing matters of global public concern. It will advise decision makers and practitioners on the use of science in achieving ambitious agendas such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by world leaders in 2015. And it will encourage open public engagement with science.

The vision of the new Council, as stated in the High-Level Strategy, is to advance science as a global public good. Scientific knowledge, data and expertise must be universally accessible and its benefits universally shared. The practice of science must be inclusive and equitable, also in opportunities for scientific education and capacity development.

According to its mission statement, the new Council will act as the global voice of science. That voice will:

  • Speak for the value of all science and the need for evidence, informed understanding and decision-making;
  • Stimulate and support international scientific research and scholarship on major issues of global concern;
  • Articulate scientific knowledge on such issues in the public domain;
  • Promote the continued and equal advancement of scientific rigour, creativity and relevance in all parts of the world; and
  • Defend the free and responsible practice of science.

For detailed background information on the merger process, see this Gitbook that was updated on a regular basis during the merger.


2015Exchange of letters between the ISSC and ICSU Presidents on the future relationship between the two Councils
November 2015Agreement reached on Terms of Reference for an ICSU-ISSC Working Group to explore closer institutional alignment, and possible amalgamation, between the two Councils.
January 2016First meeting of the joint ICSU-ISSC Working Group
April 2016Executive bodies of ISSC and ICSU follow the Working Group’s recommendation for the two Councils to merge, and recommend this course to the Council’s members
June 2016Joint meeting of the ISSC and ICSU Executives
October 2016Joint ICSU/ISSC General Assembly decides in-principle to pursue a merger
November 2016Call for nominations for the Strategy Working Group and the Transition Task Force
December 2016Strategy Working Group and Transition Task Force appointed by the Executives of ICSU and ISSC
February 2017Strategy Working Group and Transition Task Force meet
end February 2017Draft strategy submitted to Executives
end March 2017Draft strategy submitted to ISSC and ICSU members
by 15 May 2017Members submit feedback on draft strategy
30-31 May 2017Strategy Working Group meeting
June 2017Final strategy submitted to Executives of ISSC and ICSU
28-29 June 2017Joint meeting of the ICSU and ISSC Executives
July 2017Final strategy and final outputs of the Transition Task Force submitted to members
23-26 October 201732nd ICSU General Assembly and extraordinary ISSC General Assembly approve strategy and transition plans
3-5 July 2018First General Assembly of the International Science Council (ISC)


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