International Council for Science

The International Council for Science 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 July 2018, the ICSU merged with the International Social Science Council to form the International Science Council.
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.

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.
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 and the International Research Council. 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.

Universality of science

The ICSU Principle of Universality of Science states: "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, recognising its benefits and possible harms.

In advocating the free and responsible practice of science, ICSU 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.''"
Adherence to this Principle is a condition of ICSU membership. The Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science "serves as the guardian of the Principle and undertakes a variety of actions to defend scientific freedoms and promote integrity and responsibility."


The ICSU Secretariat 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, Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science 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 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 Scientific Unions

Member Scientific Associates

4SSociety for Social Studies of Science
AASAfrican Academy of Sciences
AASSAAssociation of Academies and Societies of Sciences in Asia
ACALAcademia de Ciencias de América Latina
CIECommission Internationale de l'Eclairage
FIGFédération internationale des géomètres
IAHRInternational Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research
IASCInternational Arctic Science Committee
ICA International Commission for Acoustics
ICIAMInternational Council for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
ICLASInternational Council for Laboratory Animal Science
ICOInternational Commission for Optics
ICSTIInternational Council for Scientific and Technical Information
IFIPInternational Federation for Information Processing
IFLAInternational Federation of Library Associations and Institutions
IFSInternational Foundation for Science
IFSMInternational Federation of Societies for Microscopy
IIASAInternational Institute for Applied Systems Analysis
IUVSTAInternational Union for Vacuum Science, Technique and Applications
IWAInternational Water Association
PSAPacific Science Association
TWASThe World Academy of Sciences
UISUnion Internationale de Spéléologie