Amplifying Impact through Outreach and Engagement

Outreach and engagement are key components to the ISC’s Action Plan and vital in amplifying our global voice for science. Central to outreach and engagement is its newly constituted advisory committee, which will work closely with other ISC committees and in conjunction with HQ-led activities. Promoting the vision of the ISC for science as a global public good calls for consistent strategic communications, engagement and messaging.

The aim of the Outreach and Engagement Strategy is to:

  • Establish a clear messaging and communication strategy for effective engagement with our global ISC members, giving voice to the excellence of their scholarship and developing greater opportunities for the recognition and global impact of ISC member activities;  
  • Ensure that the global community beyond current ISC members recognizes the ISC as an effective and trusted voice for science as a public good that is of value to them. They should see its benefit for individual scientists as well as for scientific bodies including universities, research centres, institutions and professional societies, research-based NGOs, private sector research bodies and learning and education associations;  
  • Establish the Council’s commentary and advice on scientific and science-society matters as effective, trusted, and valued by global communities beyond the scientific academies. Key audiences include politicians and policymakers, and decision-makers in the private sector, civil society, and the global media;  
  • Encourage all global ISC partners to see the value of active collaboration in programmes led or endorsed by ISC;  
  • Ensure that major funding organizations seek out the ISC and its member network to advance science and society actions, encouraged by its record of impactful and effective work and by confidence in the ISC vision and mission.  
  • Respond to the rapidly growing, diverse and increasingly transdisciplinary science community by developing a value proposition that encourages our current and potential members to be active in a strong collective that together forms the global voice for science.

These goals for the ISC Outreach and Engagement strategy will be achieved through the following actions:

Action 1: Engaging ISC members and the global science community

Strengthening ISC membership engagement and outreach is a core priority for the ISC.

The ISC will implement a membership engagement strategy that includes a broad consultation with individual member organizations around the world. The goal will be for all ISC members to have at least one strategic conversation about their current relationship with the ISC and future engagement opportunities that are relevant to their priorities and the ISC Action Plan.

The ISC will also begin an internal assessment of the roster of ISC membership to ensure that the network represents the full range of scientific and science policy constituencies around the world, including next-generation science leader organizations for young scientists and early career scientists.

Action 2: Working with other international scientific organizations

The ISC shares its purpose of connecting science and society with other international science organizations and global institutions, both governmental and non-governmental, which have influence in the international landscape. This creates opportunities for the ISC as a leader in convening global partners for greater impact and effectiveness, and to amplify the ISC vision to advance science as a global public good.

The ISC will convene a leadership meeting with the Presidents and/or Chairs of key international scientific partner organizations including the IAP, TWAS, Global Young Academy (GYA), the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO), the International Council for Philosophy and Human Sciences (CIPSH), UN programmes and others, to exchange information about common priorities, using the Action Plan as a framework for collaboration.

Action 3: A forum of patrons of global influencers and opinion leaders

Patrons are individuals who assist organizations by lending their high-profile names to raise the visibility of a group or cause. In accordance with its Statutes (Article 33), the ISC will engage the patronage of a diverse group of individuals from within and beyond the scientific world who will be publicly supportive of the Council’s vision and mission.

The ISC has already recruited the first two patrons – Mary Robinson, the former President of Ireland, and Ismail Serageldin, Founding Director of the Bibliotheca Alexandrina. The patrons will serve as champions of the ISC in a variety of ways that are suited to their diverse and complementary backgrounds, areas of expertise and interests. The ISC will work with the new patrons to form a Forum of Patrons, which may include Nobel laureates, former heads of state or senior politicians, global celebrities, global youth activists, global citizens with policy interests and expertise, and major philanthropists, among others.

Action 4: Engaging the policy community

There are multiple policy communities, on scales from the global to the regional and local, that the ISC must reach in order to ensure that science is integrated into key decision-making and implementation. At the global level, the Governing Board has identified the establishment of a highlevel, dedicated ISC presence within the United Nations (UN) system as a route to:

  • Improve the use of evidence in policy  
  • Improve policies for science and innovation  
  • Address information disorder, particularly in the digital space, that lessens the impact of evidence-based science.

Further strengthening of the effective impact of the scientific community on these dimensions requires better engagement between science and society and more effective science-policy interfaces.

The ISC has appointed Dr Flavia Schlegel, former Assistant Director General for Science at UNESCO, as Special Envoy for Science in Global Policy, for a pilot period of one year. The aim is to establish the essential basis – in terms of networks, resources and strategic actions – for the longer-term deployment of a permanent, high-level ISC presence in the UN.

Action 5: Mobilizing the private sector and civil society

Through Projects 3.2 and 3.3, the ISC recognizes that the private sector and civil society are important communities for achieving its vision of science as a global public good.

The ISC will convene an international expert working group to frame these issues, identify possible knowledge-based solutions to inform the strategies ISC should adopt, and prepare a work and business plan for delivering a long-term campaign on the global public value of science.

Action 6: Raising the global profile of the ISC

As noted throughout this document, raising the global profile of the ISC – with strong messaging around its values, vision, and mission – will help enhance and strengthen the outcomes of its strategic actions. Greater global name recognition will also be invaluable to our membership. It will allow the ISC to highlight their expertise and knowledge and connect the member unions and academies more closely to the science and policy work needed to address global challenges, including the Sustainable Development Goals.

A strong communications plan that positions the ISC as the global voice of science will require investment in strategic messaging, to ensure that ISC is recognized as the trusted, ‘go-to’ global voice for science and science policy, on behalf of ISC members and broader global society.

To achieve this goal, a unified message and brand identity will need to be strengthened within a cache of communication tools that includes the ISC website, marketing materials including policy briefs and brochures, and right down to e-mail signatures that reinforce the ISC’s brand recognition.

Action 7: Developing the value proposition

A value proposition will be one of the outputs of the outreach and engagement strategy. But a robust and meaningful value proposition can only be fully developed after a consultation with existing and potential members. This value proposition will reflect the issues our members and potential members consider the most pressing, and provide a roadmap for addressing them. Underpinning the value proposition will be the unique convening power and authority that membership of the ISC represents on behalf of both science and society. This membership is uniquely placed to assist policymakers in creating solutions to global challenges, and to advance diplomacy through science.


Implementation has already started on outreach and engagement, however the strategy will be further developed by the ISC Outreach and Engagement Advisory Committee, and other ISC statutory committees formally created in July 2019. Holding conversations with a representative from every member is an ambitious but important task that will assist in the implementation of the Action Plan and ultimately, in realizing the vision of the ISC.


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