International Council for Science

ICSU is a non-governmental organization, founded in 1931 to bring together natural scientists in international scientific endeavour. It comprises 95 multidisciplinary National Scientific Members (scientific research councils or science academies) and 25 international, single-discipline Scientific Unions to provide a wide spectrum of scientific expertise enabling members to address major international and interdisciplinary issues. ICSU also has 24 International and 4 Regional Scientific Associates.

The Council seeks to break the barriers of specialization by initiating and coordinating major international interdisciplinary programmes and by creating interdisciplinary bodies which undertake activities and research programmes of interest to several members. A number of bodies set up within ICSU also address matters of common concern to all scientists, such as capacity building science, development and the freedom in the conduct of science.

The Council acts as a focus for the exchange of ideas and information and the development of standards. Hundreds of congresses, symposia and other scientific meetings are organized each year around the world, and a wide range of newsletters, handbooks and journals is published. One of ICSU's greatest strengths is the time contributed freely by thousands of scientists committed to the objectives of the Council. The principal source of ICSU's finances is the contributions it receives from its Members. Other sources of income are grants and contracts from UN bodies, foundations and agencies, which are used solely to support the scientific activities of the ICSU Unions and interdisciplinary bodies. The total budget of ICSU, the Unions and interdisciplinary bodies amounts to over 14 million US dollars a year.

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