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International Science Council holds first General Assembly in Paris

The International Science Council, formed from the merger of two organizations representing the natural and social sciences, held its inaugural General Assembly in Paris today.

Paris, 4 July 2018 — In a historic meeting, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) merged today to form the International Science Council, a unique global non-governmental organization representative of both the natural and social sciences. The meeting opened with addresses from Catherine Brechignac, Secretaire Perpetuel of the French Academy of Sciences, and Prince Albert II. of Monaco. In her speech, Brechignac, who is a former President of ICSU, emphasised that the “natural sciences should no longer dictate the Earth system sciences research agenda, social sciences should be at least as important.”

The main item of business for the meeting was the election of a new President and a new Governing Board to lead the Council. Representatives of the Council’s members elected Daya Reddy, a mathematician from South Africa, to be the first President. Peter Gluckman, the former Chief Science Adviser to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, became the President-elect, and will assume the Presidency a the next General Assembly in 2021.

The further officers of the Board are Elisa Reis (Vice President), Jinghai Li (Vice President), Alik Ismail-Zadeh (Secretary) and Renée van Kessel (Treasurer). The ordinary members of the Board will be Geoffrey Boulton, Melody Burkins, Saths Cooper, Anna Davies, Pearl Dykstra, Sirimali Fernando, Ruth Fincher, James C. Liao, Natalia Tarasova and Martin Visbeck.

In his acceptance speech, the incoming president, Daya Reddy, spoke about the importance of inclusiveness, of involving all regions of the world in the work of the new Council. He called for the involvement of early career scientists in partnerships and agenda setting.

“We have set ourselves an ambitious goal to be a powerful, visible, credible voice for science. There’s no time to waste. Let’s get to work!”

Participants were also able to vote for the location of the next General Assembly of the Council, choosing between two bids, one from Montreal, Canada, one from Oman. The bid by the city of Muscat, Oman, carried the vote and it will host the 2nd General Assembly in 2021.

Earlier in the day, Gluckman, the former Chief Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, spoke about his vision for the Council in his remarks to participants before the vote.

He stressed that “The International Science Council must work to become the leading voice of science in leading fora of policy-making.” He added that “this requires a coherent and focused strategy asking where the Council is uniquely positioned — asking what the council should do, and what it should not do.”

In his remarks during the opening of the meeting, Alberto Martinelli, the last president of the ISSC, emphasized the role of the social sciences in the new organization: “ISSC is not finished but is starting a new life as equal partner with ICSU within a more powerful and influential world science organization.”

The founding events of the International Science Council will continue tomorrow with a public launch event at the Maison des Océans in Paris, with keynote addresses by Cédric Villani, Esther Duflo, Ismail Serageldin, Craig Calhoun and many others.

About the International Science Council (ISC)

The International Science Council (ISC) is a non-governmental organization with a global membership of more than 180 organizations, including national scientific bodies, International Scientific Unions and Associations, and Affiliated Members.

The ISC was created in 2018 as the result of a merger between the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC). This makes the Council the unique representative body of both the natural and the social sciences.

More information about ISC is available on its website,

Media enquiries

Denise Young, Head of Communications, International Science Council –, +33 6 51 15 19 52

Lizzie Sayer, Communications Officer, International Science Council –, +33 6 22 34 44 83

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