All the news from the General Assembly, including speeches of incoming and outgoing presidents

The ISC membership convened online from 11 – 15 October to chart the strategic direction of the Council for the next three-year term.

During the General Assembly (GA) week, over 300 delegates representing the ISC membership connected from all over the world to reflect on the Council’s activities and achievements during its first term, and to discuss the projects and priorities for the following three years.

All recordings, presentation slides, decisions and other GA-related materials can be accessed on the GA 2021 website.


The GA week started out with an informal pre-conference – the ISC Members’ Forum – including several discussions organized and facilitated by ISC Members around topics like membership strategy, gender equality in science, Members’ contributions to the SDGs and the Scientists Without Borders initiative.


Highlights of the first GA business day (12 October) include the presentation by Heide Hackmann and Daya Reddy on ISC activities and achievements during the first three years of operation of the Council (2018 – 2021) as well as the presentation and adoption of the ISC 2022 – 2024 Action Plan “Science and Society in Transition”.


Day 3 of the General Assembly (13 October) was open to the general public and saw a series of special events:

📈 A discussion of the findings emerging from the ISC COVID-19 Scenarios Outcome project
💬 A Panel discussion on public perceptions of science with ISC Patrons Mary Robinson, Ismail Serageldin and Vint Cerf
✨ The first edition of the ISC Awards honouring outstanding individuals and groups working to advance science as a global public good in 10 award categories


During the second GA business day (14 October), the General Assembly elected the Officers and Ordinary Member candidates of the 2021 – 2024 ISC Governing Board. Geoffrey Boulton, Governing Board member, presented the proposals for action to reform scientific publishing in the frame of the ISC Future of Scientific Publishing project.

Peter Gluckman concluded the day with his incoming presidential address to the General Assembly.


On the final GA day (15 October), ISC Members adopted the 2022 – 2024 budget and were invited to cast their votes on the adoption of two proposed resolutions:

  1. Resolution on actioning the recommendations of the “Draft Report on the ISC Strategy in the Intergovernmental System”
  2. Resolution on endorsing the “Eight principles for reform of scientific publishing” and working together to achieve reform

Both resolutions were adopted by the ISC membership on 18 October 2021.

Day 5 of the GA also saw a session on the ISC draft discussion paper “Freedom and responsibility in the 21st century: a contemporary perspective on the free and responsible practice of science”, offering Members an opportunity to engage with the expert writing group that drafted the paper.

Under agenda item 17, Members engaged in a discussion around the preliminary report of the Steering Group appointed to provide recommendations for the ISC to develop its strategy in the intergovernmental system and position itself as a go-to organisation for scientific inputs and advice.

All ISC Members are invited to provide feedback on the draft report by 31 October.

Daya Reddy concluded the day and closed the General Assembly with his outgoing presidential address.

We thank all ISC Members for their engagement in the 2nd ISC General Assembly. A short survey seeking your feedback will be sent in the coming days to assist the ISC in organizing online events in the future.

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