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Consultation process regarding the development of the ISC Strategic Plan 2025–2028 | deadline: 1 June

The first consultation phase is concluded. The Governing Board is currently preparing the first draft for consideration by ISC Members.


In 2022 the ISC Governing Board concluded that, given the rapidly changing environment, having a detailed action plan was unhelpful. The Governing Board agreed that the ISC needed a high-level strategic plan with clear and updatable priorities to guide decisions and actions. In a first move toward this, in late 2022/early 2023, the Governing Board developed a Theory of Change which was presented at the Mid-term meeting of ISC Members in May 2023. The Governing Board is now beginning the process of developing a strategic plan for 2025–2028, which the Members will be asked to approve at the next ISC General Assembly in Oman (26 – 30 January 2025). The plan should be high-level and responsive to the rapidly changing contexts in which science operates and makes its contributions to society.

The ISC mission

The recently revised ISC Statutes and Rules of Procedure reaffirm that the vision of the Council is of science as a global public good and that our mission is to be the global voice for science. The revised statutes break down that mission into seven key domains (with two new ones and some modifications to the others as compared to the founding statutes) that reflect the changed context in which science operates (e.g. declining trust in scientific expertise and institutions, changed information environment, threats to scientific freedom), changes within science (e.g. changing publication practices, the emergence of AI) and ongoing threats to a sustainable planet (climate change, conflict, social cohesion, mental health).

Statute 6 describes seven Domains:

The Council seeks to provide a powerful and credible global voice that is respected in both the public and policy domains and within the scientific community. It will use that voice to:

  1. Speak for the value of all science and the need for evidence-informed understanding and decision-making at all levels, from local to global;
  2. Stimulate and support international, interdisciplinary collaboration, particularly among members of the Council, on scientific research and scholarship on issues of global concern;
  3. Articulate scientific knowledge on issues of global concern in the public and policy domains;
  4. Promote and assist science diplomacy, particularly where it advances the common good and addresses global challenges;
  5. Promote the continued and equal advancement of scientific rigour, creativity and relevance in all parts of the world;
  6. Assist the scientific community and relevant stakeholders in their respective roles in the conduct of science and in the face of the evolution of science systems;
  7. Defend and promote the free and responsible practice of science.

Current consultation

The seven domains illuminate the unique and critical role of the ISC in the global science ecosystem and provide a clear value proposition for the membership of all major, active scientific organizations. In context of strategic planning, Statute 6 can be interpreted as the main domains of the mission that the ISC should strive to accomplish. The Governing Board agrees that they should be the foundation on which the strategic plan for the next period is built.

As the ISC has a relatively small secretariat and limited budget, the organization must use its limited resources wisely to achieve its complex and critical mission on behalf of its Members. For this we need the Members’ input.

The ISC Governing Board is herewith launching a cycle of consultation with Members to inform the development of the strategic plan that will be presented to the General Assembly in 2025 in Oman. At this stage what the Board is seeking is open-ended input from the Members regarding the ISC’s priorities, what we should do more or less of, and what is missing from the ISC’s current portfolio of activities. We would appreciate Members’ initial high-level input against the seven domains of the ISC’s mission to inform the development of a first draft of the strategic plan by the Governing Board. This draft will form the basis of subsequent iterative consultation with Members, ISC advisory committees, the ISC Fellowship Council and other stakeholders.

To support Members’ contributions to the elaboration of the strategic plan, also noting that many of the ISC’s activities serve more than one domain, the ISC President and ISC Chief Executive Officer have produced a situational analysis to assist in identifying the ISC’s strategic challenges and opportunities, and a catalogue of current actions, both illustrating how the actions undertaken by the ISC can be organized according to the seven domains.


Document 1Letter from the ISC President, Sir Peter Gluckman

Document 2Situational analysis and catalogue of recent and current ISC activities against the seven Domains in the ISC’s mission (Statute 6). Please note that the lists of activities provide Members with an overview of the broad scope of work and partnerships that the ISC undertakes or is engaged in, based on examples of the work accomplished during the past 18 months. The lists do not replace the comprehensive three-year report that will be produced for the General Assembly in 2025.

Next steps

The input received will inform the first draft of the Strategic Plan that will be prepared by the Governing Board in June 2024. This is the first phase in an iterative process of consultation regarding the


Anne Thieme

Anne Thieme

Membership Liaison Officer

International Science Council

Anne Thieme

Photo by Javier Allegue Barros on Unsplash

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