High-Level Strategy of the International Science Council

The High-Level Strategy describes the overall strategic goals and ambitions of the International Science Council.

5. Achieving success

5.1 Leadership: Legitimacy, credibility and convening power

The success of the new Council will be critically dependent on the qualities of its leadership. This must include a relevant range of scientists of vision and exceptional achievement, recognized experience and distinction as officers, board members, advisors, and contributors to the work of the Council.

The combination of such leadership and the capacity, through its membership base, to reach deep into the scientific community for the most rigorously tested scientific understanding will be essential if the Council is to have:

  • Legitimacy in the scientific community that it claims to represent;
  • Credibility with the institutions and individuals that it seeks to influence; and
  • Convening power to engage members of the scientific and policy communities, the private sector and civil society in its work.

The Council’s leadership must uphold the organization’s core values (see section 3.3) and work to develop mutual respect between the scientific domains represented by the merging organizations.

5. Achieving success

5.2 A focused and persuasive agenda

For the Council to have influence and impact, it must focus its efforts on carefully selected issues that address matters of contemporary international scientific and public importance. This should be done in ways presented in section 4 and on the basis of criteria set out in 4.1.3.

In order to be responsive and dynamic in addressing relevant priorities as they arise, the Council must be able to rely on agile and empowered decision-making. The capacity for innovative thinking and judicious boldness in the face of negative reactions from those with conflicting views should rest on the good judgement of the Council’s leadership, as well as the experience of its staff.

5. Achieving success

5.3 Effective partnerships

The Council is intended to function as a major node in a globally connected network of influential and trusted partners, which can help to deliver impact. The strength of the Council’s external relationships will therefore be central to its success. Existing partnerships will have to be reinforced, new partners identified, and appropriate terms of cooperation specified, for example with possible partners from the private sector.
Active and complementary partnerships should be developed with a wide range of bodies, including with:

  • UN agencies and programmes, such as UNESCO, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO);
  • Other domain-specific international bodies, such as the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS), the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP) and the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH);
  • International scientific organizations, such as the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and organizations aimed at advancing science in low- and middle-income countries, such as START;
  • International networks of early career scientists, such as the Global Young Academy (GYA) and World Association of Young Scientists (WAYS);
  • International consortia of funders, such as the Belmont Forum and Global Research Council (GRC); and
  • Bodies that are representative of the international business community such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), and international organizations for public-private cooperation such as the World Economic Forum (WEF).

All partnership agreements should bring value to the Council’s vision and mission, and respect the Council’s core values, as set out in section 3.3. Partnership with organizations that are solely profit-based should be avoided.

5. Achieving success

5.4 An engaged membership

The Council’s unique membership, which brings together scientific unions and associations, academies and research councils, provides the essential foundation for the organization’s work. The Council will respect the mandates and responsibilities of its members, and will work to create international opportunities for them to advance their own priorities and interests.

These include opportunities for members to participate in important international scientific conversations and activities, and to connect to powerful international networks, enabling them to:

  • Shape global scientific agendas and contribute directly to scientific matters of global public concern;
  • Showcase the relevance of their scientific contributions at the international level;
  • Strengthen national and international awareness of and support for the disciplinary or national scientific communities they represent; and
  • Enhance their own influence within scientific and policy communities, including national governments and research funders.

Additional benefits of Council membership include:

  • Opportunities to collaborate with each other on issues of common interest, including South-South and North-South collaboration;
  • Access to information on international scientific developments, including funding opportunities;
  • Support for the exchange of best practices, e.g. on trans-disciplinarity, gender policies, etc.

Mutual advantage for the Council and its members will require the Council to fully engage members in identifying its priorities and delivering associated projects and campaigns. Members will be called upon to participate actively in these processes and to exploit the opportunities that the Council would offer.

5. Achieving success

5.5 Visibility

Recognition of the Council as an influential and impactful global voice for science will require it to be known within the international scientific community and amongst its stakeholders in ways that neither of the merging organizations has been. The Council will need to develop a significantly improved communications and outreach strategy, which should be relevant to the modern world, support clear and sensitive communication with a diversity of internal and external audiences, and make provision for access to expert legal and media advice. In addition, a well-defined and executed brand strategy should serve to sustain the commitment of the Council’s members, leaders and staff to realizing its vision and mission.

5. Achieving success

5.6 Competence and capacities

The Council must ensure that it has the necessary competence and capacities to deliver on all aspects of the proposed strategy. The required leadership qualities have been stressed in section 5.1. Within the Council’s Headquarters, it will be particularly
important to include or have ready access to:

  • Expertise in science management, as well as global policy;
  • Strong networking, project management and organizational skills;
  • Journalistic skills and a significantly enhanced media and communications capability; and
  • Fundraising skills.
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