Resourcing the Action Plan

The ISC continues to be generously supported by membership dues and by project grants from external donors. Yet the raised ambitions for an influential future that accompanied the creation of the Council, and which are reflected in this Action Plan, require a step change in the Council’s resource mobilization strategy.

As an immediate priority, the ISC must demonstrate and realize its potential for successful and sustained growth by strengthening its access to core discretionary funding. Such income fuels the engine room of the organization and will determine its success in securing the necessary project-based funds for new priority actions across the full range of ISC operations.

The longer-term objective is to secure for the ISC a healthy, sustainable and more diversified income, with a five-year target of raising an additional €1- 1.5 million per annum, which would increase the Council’s annual operating budget by approximately 12 – 20 per cent. This would allow the Council to operate at a higher level, meet the expectations of its members and stakeholders, and remove the intermittent need to draw down reserves to meet its core obligations.

A new resource mobilization strategy designed to meet this target will be developed under the leadership of the Council’s Standing Committee for Finance and Fundraising. The strategy will entail a portfolio of actions including:

  • The development of detailed business plans for each of the Council’s priority projects and programmes, including their resource requirements and possible sources of support.  
  • External grant applications.  
  • Activity-based agreements with project or programme-implementing partners, entailing commitments to matching support and joint fundraising.  
  • Strategic investment of a percentage of ISC reserves to leverage additional external funds, support essential activities and seed fund new projects or programmes.
  • Engaging ISC members in the implementation of new projects or programmes, and encouraging in-kind and other contributions such as secondments or hosting of expert group meetings.  
  • Planning for an appropriate expansion of the ISC membership base.  
  • Developing the idea of establishing an ISC endowment fund.

The Council’s participation in an extensive, growing network of major science funders from around the world is an important foundation for its future fundraising efforts. The ISC is a partner in the Belmont Forum, which convenes national agencies that support global change research, and is developing its partnership with the Global Research Council, a world network of national research councils. In addition, the ISC is convening a new decadal initiative aimed at fostering strategic collaboration and cooperation by a multi-sectoral forum of funders including national agencies, international donor agencies and foundations. This initiative is intended to accelerate and amplify the impact of funding for international science that contributes to the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Involvement in these funding networks gives the Council access to strategic information and advice on funding opportunities for international scientific collaboration. It also enables the ISC, as the global voice for science, to participate in the strategic development of policies and practices for international science funding.

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