Appendix 1: Summary Overview of Current ISC Activities

The full list of initiatives, programmes, events, and partnerships where the ISC is involved.

1. International scientific initiatives (co-)sponsored by the ISC

The ISC sponsors a number of high-profile international scientific initiatives. Many of these are cosponsored by other international scientific partners, including UNESCO and other specialized UN agencies.

  • The International Network for Government Science Advice (INGSA) provides a forum for policy-makers, practitioners, and scientists to advance the theory and practice of using scientific evidence to inform policy at all levels of government.
  • International Research Programmes promote international scientific collaboration and science-policy interfaces related to specific global challenges.
    • Comparative Research on Poverty Programme (CROP
    • Future Earth
    • Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Programme (IRDR)
    • Urban Health and Wellbeing Programme (UHWB) uhwb
    • World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)
  • International Scientific Committees coordinate international science in specific thematic fields.
    • Frequencies for Radio Astronomy and Space Science (IUCAF)
  • International Data Bodies develop and promote global policy in data science, build data science capacities, and bring together and make openly available relevant global data sets to enable scientific analysis across scientific domains.
  • Global Observing Systems collect global sets of internationally agreed key data, which provide the basis for scientific analysis and assessment and support global modelling and projection activities.
    • Global Climate Observing System (GCOS) programmes/global-climateobserving-system
    • Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS) php?option=com_content&view =article&id=8&Itemid=109

The work of these initiatives contributes in important ways to the delivery of the ISC’s strategic objectives by promoting international, inter- (and, in some cases trans-) disciplinary research and related science-policy interfaces, supporting capacity building, and developing and advocating policy frameworks for national and regional science systems throughout the world. Additional benefits for the ISC of sponsoring these initiatives include:

  • Access to wider networks of scientific research and expertise, which strengthens the ISC’s capacity to deliver on its own projects and campaigns, and to provide input into global policy processes;
  • Visibility for the ISC amongst the scientific and policy communities convened by these bodies; and
  • Partnership development opportunities with other international scientific organizations and UN agencies that co-sponsor them.

The ISC’s role as a sponsor includes the following responsibilities:

  • Strategy and activity development: Contributing to the development of strategic plans, facilitating partnership building and activitybased synergies across ISC sponsored initiatives
  • Quality assurance: Conducting regular reviews of scientific quality and impact, monitoring progress on the delivery and outcomes of activities
  • Governance and Management: Providing legal hosting facilities and/or managing hosting agreements in support of International Programme Offices or Secretariats, participating in governance meetings and appointing advisory/steering committees
  • Resource mobilization: Advising on resource mobilization strategies and funding opportunities (but not assuming direct fundraising responsibilities)
  • Communications and outreach: Providing access to UN policy processes, publicizing achievements and events via the ISC website and other media tools

2. International research funding initiatives managed by the ISC

The ISC manages two international funding initiatives, both of which are supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida). They include:

  • The Transformations to Sustainability Programme (T2S): This initiative was established by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) in 2014 with the goal of increasing social science contributions to solving global environmental change and sustainability challenges. The first phase of the programme ended in 2017. A second phase, which was launched in January 2017, is being managed by a consortium of funding agencies from the Belmont Forum and the NORFACE network of European social science funders. With the support of Sida, the ISC is a partner in this consortium, which is supporting 12 international research projects for the period 2018-2021. https:// transformationstosustainability. org/
  • The Leading Integrated Research for Agenda 2030 in Africa Programme (LIRA2030): This is a five-year initiative, which was launched by the International Council for Science (ICSU) in early 2016 and is implemented in collaboration with the ISC’s Regional Office for Africa and the Network of African Science Academies (NASAC). The programme seeks to increase the production of high-quality, integrated (inter- and transdisciplinary), solutionsoriented research on global sustainability by early career scientists in Africa. It currently supports 28 collaborative research projects focusing on various issues of sustainable urban development in Africa.

In addition, the ISC currently supports three international projects that were selected for funding under the former ICSU Grants Programme.

They include:

  • A global approach to the gender gap in mathematical and natural sciences: How to measure it, how to reduce it (led by the International Mathematical Union and International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry)
  • Trans-disciplinary research oriented pedagogy for improving climate studies and understanding (led by the International Unions of Biological Sciences and the International Union of Quaternary Research)
  • Utilisation of light source and crystallographic sciences to facilitate the enhancement of knowledge and improve the economic and social conditions in targeted regions of the world (led by the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics and the International Union of Crystallography)

Further information on each of these three projects is available at: https://

3. The ISC’s work with global policy frameworks, assessments and inter-governmental networks

The ISC is a lead coordinator of the UN Major Group for Science and Technology. In this role the Council works with the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO) to secure a mandate for science at the UN and to integrate science in major global policy processes, assessments and inter-governmental networks, including:

  • The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
  • The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
  • The Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction
  • The New Urban Agenda
  • The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES)
  • The International Resource Panel (IRP)
  • The Group on Earth Observations and Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS)

The ISC’s engagement in these processes includes a wide range of actions related to the following roles and responsibilities:

  • Enabling the participation of scientists in inter-governmental meetings that are typically open only to accredited nongovernmental organizations
  • Representing the international scientific community by participating in UN events and preparing and issuing statements during such events on behalf of the Major Group for Science and Technology
  • Convening and coordinating scientific inputs (e.g. briefings, reports, etc.) on the need for evidence-based decision-making and/or relevant scientific expertise on the specific policy domains covered
  • Advising the UN on and participating in science-related processes and advisory structures such as the Technology Facilitation Mechanism
  • Supporting representatives of the scientific community’s direct engagement in global policy processes by providing information on how these processes work and assisting with the identification of UN priority agendas and associated opportunities for engagement, so that they can target their own advocacy or research
  • Leading the development of relevant independent activities, which typically involves the design and delivery of expert advisory reports

4. International Events

The ISC endorses or co-sponsors and participates actively in many international scientific events, including International Years or Decades of Science initiated and implemented by ISC members and/ or partners. Current Years/Decades endorsed by the Council include:

  • International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements: 2019

Organized under the leadership of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

  • International Year of Basic Sciences for Development: 2020

Organized under the leadership of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics

  • UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development: 2021- 2030

Organized under the leadership of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO

The ISC is also a co-organizing partner of the biennial World Science Forum, which was initiated by the Hungarian Academy of Sciences with the support of UNESCO and the International Council for Science, and which now includes as partners the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and the Inter-Academy Partnership (IAP).

5. International Partnerships

Through the various activities outlined in points 1 to 4 above the ISC partners with a wide range of regional and global scientific organizations, as well as specialized UN agencies and programmes. The nature of those partnerships varies, from co-sponsoring international initiatives or co-organizing international events to collaborating in the context of specific joint projects. Partnerships of a more formal nature are held with UNESCO, the Belmont Forum (an international consortium of science funders) and, in the context of a series of Science International initiatives, with the IAP and TWAS.


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