Governing Board

The ISC Governing Board is mandated by the General Assembly (GA) to implement the decisions of the GA, with the help of the ISC Secretariat.

The current Governing Board of the International Science Council was elected at the General Assembly in Paris on 4 July 2018 for a designation period of three years. The Governing Board consists of 16 members, including the President, the President-elect, who will assume the Presidency a the next General Assembly in 2021, as well as four further officers and ten additional ordinary members.

The Governing Board is one of the key decision-making bodies of the International Science Council providing scientific and strategic leadership to oversee achievement of the Council’s vision, mission, principles and values, and to secure the financial and management robustness of the Council.

The members of the first Governing Board of the International Science Council are:

Daya Reddy

Daya Reddy holds the South African Research Chair in Computational Mechanics at the University of Cape Town, South Africa. Following undergraduate studies in civil engineering at the University of Cape Town and a Ph.D. degree at Cambridge University in the UK, he spent a year as a postdoctoral researcher at University College London, then returned to the University of Cape Town, where he held a joint position in civil engineering and applied mathematics. He was appointed professor of applied mathematics in 1989. From 1999, he served a seven-year term as dean of the faculty of science.

His research lies in the domain of mathematical modelling, analysis and simulation in mechanics. He has made significant contributions to theories of complex material behaviour, and to the development of stable and convergent methods of computational approximation. He maintains an active engagement in biomechanics, including research into aspects of cardiovascular mechanics.

Daya Reddy has a record of sustained activity in strengthening the scientific enterprise. In addition to his role as President of ISC, he has recently completed a six-year term as co-chair of the policy branch of the InterAcademy Partnership, a network of some 130 national science academies of science and health sciences.He has served as President of the Academy of Science of South Africa, and is an elected Fellow of the African Academy of Sciences and of TWAS, The World Academy of Sciences. He has held numerous visiting positions, including those of Visiting Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Computational Sciences and Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Timoshenko Lecturer at Stanford University. He is a recipient of the Award for Research Distinction of the South African Mathematical Society, the Order of Mapungubwe from the President of South Africa, and of the Georg Forster Research Award from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Germany. 

Peter Gluckman

Sir Peter Gluckman trained as a paediatrician and biomedical scientist and holds a Distinguished University Professorship at the Liggins Institute of the University of Auckland. He also holds honorary chairs in University College London, University of Southampton and National University of Singapore (where he acts as chief science advisor to the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences). He has published over 700 scientific papers in perinatal and developmental physiology, neuroscience and endocrinology, evolutionary biology and medicine. He has authored both technical and popular science books. He chaired the WHO Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (2014-2017).

Sir Peter is chair of the International Network of Government Science Advice (INGSA) and president-elect of the International Science Council (ISC). From 2009-2018 he was first Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand. He is also Science Envoy for the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and coordinates the secretariat of Small Advanced Economies Initiative. He has written and spoken extensively on science-policy and science-diplomacy and science-society interactions.

He has received the highest scientific and civilian honours in New Zealand and numerous international scientific awards.  In 2016 he received the AAAS award in Science Diplomacy. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of New Zealand, a member of the National Academy of Medicine (USA) and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (UK).

Elisa Reis

Elisa Reis is Professor of Political Sociology at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), and chair of the Interdisciplinary Research Network for the Study of Social Inequality (NIED).  She earned a Ph.D. in Political Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is fellow member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and fellow member of the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS). She has received scholarships from the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq.), the Research Council of the State of Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ), The Fulbright Commission, the Italian Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche, among others, to carry out research in Brazil and elsewhere, and has a long list of publications in Brazilian and foreign periodicals. She has taught as visiting professor at the University of California at San Diego, Columbia University, MIT, and the Ludwig Maximilians Universitat, Munich. In past years she was Vice-President of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Secretary of the Brazilian Sociological Society (SBS), and President of the National Association for the Social Sciences (ANPOCS). Before the creation of the International Science Council, Elisa Reis was Vice-President of the International Social Science Council (ISSC).

LI Jinghai

Jinghai LI is President of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). From 2004 to 2016, he was a Vice-President of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

Professor Li established the Energy-Minimization Multi-Scale (EMMS) model for gas-solid systems. The model has been extended to many different complex systems, and generalized into the EMMS paradigm of computation featuring the structural similarity between problem, modeling, software and hardware, which has been implemented by constructing a supercomputer with capacity of 1 Pflops and has been used widely in chemical and energy industries. He is also engaged in research in clean coal technology. Currently, he is devoted to promoting the concept of mesoscience based on the EMMS principle of compromise in competition as an interdisciplinary science.

He is the Vice-Chairman of China Association for Science and Technology, the Vice-President of Chemical Industry and Engineering Society of China. From 2014 to July 2018, he was the Vice-President of the International Council for Science (ICSU) Committee for Scientific Planning and Review. He is editor-in-chief of Particuology and sits on editorial committees for several other international periodicals. He holds memberships from CAS, TWAS (The World Academy of Sciences), SATW (Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences), RAEng (The Royal Academy of Engineering) and ATSE (The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering).

Alik Ismail-Zadeh

Alik Ismail-Zadeh, born in Baku, Azerbaijan, graduated from the Baku State University (BSc in mathematics) and the M. Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSc in mathematical physics) before being awarded PhD (1990) and DSc (1997) degrees in mathematical geophysics from the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS). Currently he is Chief Scientist/Research Professor at the RAS’s Institute of Earthquake Prediction Theory and Mathematical Geophysics in Moscow, and Senior Scientist at the Institute of Applied Geoscience, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany. He has been a visiting scholar/professor in several universities, including the University of Cambridge, Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, University of Uppsala, KTH-Stockholm, UCLA, the University of Tokyo, and the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics in Trieste. His scientific interests cover geophysics, mathematical geosciences, natural hazards and disaster risk research. He is principal author and co-author of over 100 peer-reviewed research papers, book chapters and books. Alik is Secretary-General of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (until 2019). He has served on the advisory committees of several regional, international and intergovernmental organizations including the American Geophysical Union, CTBTO, European Geosciences Union, EuroScience, the U.N. Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction and UNESCO. He is a Member of Academia Europaea and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society.

Renée van Kessel

Renée van Kessel Hagesteijn obtained a PhD in anthropology at Leiden University (1985). Her research focuses on early political dynamics, mainly in Southeast Asia. As a fellow of the Royal Academy Institute for Southeast Asian Studies, she is augmenting methodologies in digital humanities.

She also takes part in the GO FAIR Initiative, on setting international standards for optimal use and reuse of research data. Initially focusing on the humanities and social sciences, her ambition is to help establish a link with standards in the life sciences and to contribute to close interaction of research associations, funders and repositories in developing Data Management Policies.

Renée was Director at the Netherlands Research Council (NWO), with the portfolios International Relations and Global Development (1998-2007) and Social Sciences (2006-2016). She was also the first director of the European and Developing Countries Partnership for Clinical Trials in Infectious Diseases (EDCTP, 2003-2005) and the initiator and director of the National Brain and Cognition Initiative (2009-2016).

She is successful in developing and co-funding multilateral, interdisciplinary research programmes and networks. Many of these programmes contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals.

Before joining ISC she was a member of the Executive Committee of the International Social Science Council (ISSC) (2013-2017).

Geoffrey Boulton

Geoffrey Boulton is Regius Professor of Geology Emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and former Vice-Principal of the University. He is President of the ISC Committee on Data for Science and Technology (CODATA) and chaired the Science International Accord on Open Data in a Big Data World. He chairs the Academic Advisory Council of the University of Heidelberg, is a member of the Strategic Council of the University of Geneva and President of the Scottish Association for Marine Science. He has chaired a number of Royal Society reports. Until recently he was a member of the UK Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology, the UK’s top-level science policy body, and has been a member of the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution. His research is in glaciology. Awards for his science include the Lyell Medal of the Geological Society, the Seligman Crystal of the International Glaciological Society, the Gold Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, the Kirk Bryan Award of the Geological Society of America and is Commandeur de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques (France). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Society of Edinburgh and has received several honorary doctorates for his science.

Melody Burkins

Dr Melody Brown Burkins is the Associate Director for Programs and Research in the John Sloan Dickey Center for International Understanding and Adjunct Professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth. With over twenty-five years of experience in both academia and government, she is an advocate for policy-engaged scholarship across disciplines, international experiential education, and creating new opportunities for students at the intersection of science, policy  and diplomacy. She also believes deeply in advancing sustainability, gender equity, and supporting youth and women in leadership roles around the world.

Dr Burkins serves as the Vice-Chair of the National Academies’ Board on International Scientific Organizations and is Past Chair of the U.S. National Committee for the Geological Sciences. She has served as a policy advisor for energy and environment in the U.S. Senate and as a U.S. delegate to multiple international science meetings. In 2016, she became the first woman to chair a U.S. geoscience delegation to an International Geological Congress and, in 2017, she was honored to serve on the ICSU-ISSC Strategy Working Group, supporting the founding of the International Science Council (ISC).

Burkins earned her B.S. in geology at Yale University and her Ph.D. at Dartmouth in earth and ecosystem sciences.

Saths Cooper

A close associate of the late Steve Biko, Cooper played leadership roles in the anti-apartheid struggle in the late 1960s as well as the advent of democracy in South Africa (SA) from the early 1990s. Banned and house-arrested and jailed for 9 years – spending 5 in the same Robben Island cell-block as Nelson Mandela – he was declared a ‘victim of gross human rights violations’ by SA’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  He is a graduate of the Universities of SA, Witwatersrand and Boston, where he obtained his PhD in Clinical/Community Psychology as a Fulbright Fellow. The first black chair of the regulatory Professional Board for Psychology at the Health Professions Council of SA, Cooper was the latter’s first non-medical/dental Vice-President. He was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Durban-Westville, was ISSC Vice-President for Information and Communications and chaired the SA ICSU Board. A fellow of the SA, Indian, British and Irish psychological societies and the recipient of many international citations and awards, he holds professorial appointments at the Universities of Pretoria, Limpopo and Johannesburg. He is Past President of the International Union of Psychological Science (IUPsyS) and founding President of the Pan-African Psychology Union.

Anna Davies

Anna Davies is Professor of Geography, Environment and Society at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, where she directs the Environmental Governance Research Group and is a member of the Royal Irish Academy. She is widely published with more than 100 publications from research monographs to industry publications and leads diverse research projects as the intersection of environmental governance and sustainability science. She has advised the Irish Government as an independent member of its National Economic and Social Council and Ireland’s National Climate Change Advisory Council as well as being a Board Member of the European Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production and a founding member of Future Earth’s Knowledge Action Network (KAN) on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production, where she co-chairs the working group on social change beyond consumption. Anna was also the founding Chair of Future Earth Ireland. A keen supporter of grassroots sustainability initiatives, Anna has been a long-standing Board Member of The Rediscovery centre in Dublin, a creative space connecting people, ideas and resources for greener living in Ireland. Anna currently holds a European Research Council grant entitled SHARECITY, which is examining the practice and sustainability potential of urban ICT-mediated food sharing initiatives.

Pearl Dykstra

Pearl Dykstra has a chair in Empirical Sociology and is Director of Research of the Department of Public Administration and Sociology at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. Previously, she had a chair in Kinship Demography at Utrecht University (2002-2009) and was a senior scientist at the Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute (NIDI) in The Hague (1990-2009). Her publications focus on intergenerational solidarity, ageing societies, family change, aging and the life course, and late-life well-being. She received an ERC Advanced Investigator Grant in 2012 for the research project “Families in context”, which focuses on the ways in which policy, economic and cultural contexts structure interdependence in families. She is an elected member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW, 2004) and previous Vice-President of the KNAW (2011-2016), elected Member of the Dutch Social Sciences Council (SWR, 2006), elected fellow of the Gerontological Society of America (2010), and elected member of Academia Academia Europaea (2016). In 2015 she was appointed as member of the group of European Commission Chief Scientific Advisors, and currently serves as its Deputy Chair.

Sirimali Fernando

Sirimali Fernando, a Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka, is Professor and Chair of Microbiology at the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the University of Sri Jayewardenepura.

Having started her career as a medical graduate in 1982, she shifted to an academic and a research career in 1985. She worked as Research Fellow and Honorary Senior Registrar in Virology at St George’s Hospital Medical School in London, UK, from 1989 – 1993.

She took up Science administration with her appointment as the Chairperson of the NSF-Sri Lanka in 2004 where she served till 2013, and was reappointed to that post in June 2015. In 2006 she was also appointed as Science Advisor to the Minister of Science and Technology, Sri Lanka.

She played key roles in the National Nanotechnology Initiative that established the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology (SLINTEC) in 2008, and in developing the first National Science Technology and Innovation Strategy for Sri Lanka in 2010.

She is a founder member of the STI Advisory Board to the Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP).

Ruth Fincher

Ruth Fincher is Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne, Australia, and a Professorial Fellow in the School of Geography there. An urban geographer and a social scientist, she has had a long academic career at universities in Australia and North America, and has received major awards nationally and internationally for her scholarship and her academic and institutional leadership. Her particular research interests are in inequality and social difference within cities, especially where associated with immigration, and in urban planning as a form of public policy that can reduce inequality. She has also collaborated in research on adaptation to climate change. A past member of the Executive Committees of the International Geographical Union and the International Social Science Council, Fincher has considerable experience of cross-disciplinary, and cross-regional, decision-making in the international committees of science.

James C. Liao

Professor Liao received his B.S. degree from National Taiwan University and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. After working as a research scientist at Eastman Kodak Company, Rochester, NY, he started his academic career at Texas A&M University in 1990 and moved to the University of California, Los Angeles in 1997. He was Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Chair Professor and Department Chair of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering until 2016. He has served as President of the Academy of Sciences located in Taipei since June 2016.

Professor Liao is a member of the US National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Academician of the Academy of Sciences located in Taipei. He has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award (2010), the White House “Champion of Change” for innovations in renewable energy (2012), the ENI Renewable Energy Prize bestowed by the President of Italy in 2013, and the 2014 National Academy of Sciences Award for the Industrial Application of Science.

Natalia Tarasova

Professor Natalia Tarasova is Director of the Institute of Chemistry and Problems of Sustainable Development at the D. I. Mendeleev University of Chemical Technology of Russia. Since 2011 she has been UNESCO Chair in Green Chemistry for Sustainable Development.

Tarasova has been president of IUPAC (International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry), is a member of the IUPAC Bureau Executive Committee and Deputy-Chair of the National Committee of Russian Chemists for IUPAC. She is a well-known scientist in the field of radiation chemistry and phosphorus chemistry. She conducts research related to green chemistry, sustainable development, risk assessment and management.

Professor Tarasova is a member of the editorial boards of Russian Chemical Reviews, Journal of Industrial Safety, Green Chemistry and Ecology of Industrial Enterprises. She was Honorary Editor of The Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), UNESCO. She has also managed the translation into Russian of a number of chemistry textbooks and books related to systems thinking.

In 1997 Professor Tarasova was elected as Corresponding Member to the Russian Academy of Sciences, Division of Chemistry and Material Sciences, and since 2000 has been Deputy-Chair of the Academy’s Higher Chemical College.

She holds a Doctor of Science in inorganic chemistry from D.I. Mendeleev University, and in 2003 was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Bowling Green State University (USA).

Martin Visbeck
Martin Visbeck

Martin Visbeck is head of the Physical Oceanography research unit at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research, Kiel, and professor at Kiel University, Germany.

His research interests revolve around ocean dynamics and the ocean’s role in the climate system with particular emphasis on the Atlantic. Internationally he supports ocean and climate science, integrated global ocean observation and ocean sustainable development. As the speaker of the German excellence cluster “The Future Ocean” in Kiel, he is advancing integrated marine sciences by bringing together a wide range of disciplines and Kiel-based institutions to work on ocean-human issues. Amongst others he is leading the EU AtlantOS Project on sustained ocean observing in the Atlantic.

He serves on a number of national and international advisory committees including the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) and leadership council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). He chairs the German Future Earth Committee, the German Sustainability Platform 2030 and the Advisory Committee for Earth Observations at ESA. He is President-Elect of The Oceanography Society (TOS), and was elected fellow of the AGU, AMS, and the European Academy of Sciences. Martin Visbeck is involved in strategic planning and decision-making processes about the ocean and sustainable development at a national, European and global level.

Heide Hackmann

Heide Hackmann, Chief Executive Officer of the International Science Council, is an ex-officio (non-voting) member of the Governing Board.

Dr. Heide Hackmann is the CEO of the International Science Council, having previously been the Executive Director of the International Council for Science (ICSU) since March 2015. Before joining ICSU, Heide served eight years as Executive Director of the International Social Science Council (ISSC). Heide holds a M.Phil in contemporary social theory from the University of Cambridge, UK, and a PhD in science and technology studies from the University of Twente in the Netherlands. She has worked as a science policy maker, researcher and consultant in the Netherlands, Germany, the United Kingdom and South Africa. Before moving into the world of the international councils, Heide worked as Head of the Department of International Relations and Quality Assessment of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her career in science policy dates back to the early 1990s when she worked at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa. Heide holds membership of several international advisory committees and boards, including the Scientific Advisory Board of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany and the Board of the Stockholm Resilience Centre in Sweden. She co-chairs the UN’s 10-member group supporting the Technology Facilitation Mechanism (TFM) on the Sustainable Development Goals, and is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Councils.