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  • Association Affairs


A. ICSU-ISSC Merge to Become the International Science Council

The International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) have approved a historic merger of the two organizations. The merger creates a new, unified organization called the International Science Council (ISC), whose vision is to advance all sciences as a global public good.

The merger was overwhelmingly approved by ICSU and ISSC members in a joint General Assembly in Taipei in October 2017. The vote in favor of the merger was 97.6% for ICSU and 90% for ISSC and came at the end of two days of intensive discussions on issues ranging from the new strategy, statutes and governance arrangements and the legal framework.

The new organization will provide a strong foundation for advancing science across the disciplinary spectrum and in all parts of the world and promoting its vital role in shaping humanity’s future on planet Earth. The ISC will be formally launched at a founding General Assembly to be held in Paris, France, in 2018, and thenceforth its Secretariat will be based in Paris, France. Its mission will be to serve as the global voice of science, providing leadership in catalyzing, incubating, and coordinating international action on issues of major public concern. To mark the occasion, the new Council will inaugurate a new interdisciplinary international science summit, which will be a flagship event.

Gordon McBean, President of ICSU, said: “ICSU has been a pioneer in the twentieth century for interdisciplinary science programs and policy impact. I am immensely proud that our members have voted to endorse this historic merger, which carves out a new space for our proud historic legacy—to be the global voice of all sciences in a digitally connected world.”

Alberto Martinelli, President of ISSC, said: “This vote comes at a crucial moment for science. Now more than ever before, a powerful and credible voice is needed to advocate the value and values of all science to society. The challenge of living sustainably and equitably in a rapidly changing world means that the need for scientific understanding has never been greater. The unified science council will champion all the sciences and their role in responding to today’s global challenges.”

Commenting on the outcome, Philip Campbell, Editor-in-Chief of Nature, said: “I welcome such a merger because it reflects the inevitable and essential greater proximity and even [End Page 285] joining up of all branches of research to achieve new intellectual and societal aims. We, in the Nature group of journals, are moving in exactly the same way.” Further background information on the merger is available on the ICSU and ISSC websites.

PSA is a Scientific Associate (nonvoting) member of ICSU. This merger will certainly have important ramifications for how international and multidisciplinary science is conducted. PSA Executive Secretary Burke Burnett attended the Taipei General Assembly and will present a report in the next Association Affairs. PSA has strongly supported this merger, and we are keen to find ways to support the new organization in the pursuit of multidisciplinary science that supports U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Asia-Pacific region.

B. Valentin Sergienko Elected VP of Russian Academy of Sciences

PSA congratulates PSA Board Member Academician Valentin Sergienko on his election as Vice President of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Academician Sergienko also remains Chairman of the RAS Far Eastern Branch, based in Vladivostok, and will continue to serve on the PSA Executive Board.

PSA congratulates Academician Sergienko for this esteemed recognition and wishes him much success in his new role.

C. China-Beijing and Korea Upgrade Membership Status

China-Beijing, represented by the Chinese Academy of Science and Technology, and Korea, represented by the Korean National Academy of Sciences, have decided to upgrade their membership in PSA. China-Beijing was formerly a Category II-C Adhering Organization (with two voting representatives) and is now a Category III-A member with three voting representatives. Korea was formerly a II-A Adhering Organization (with two voting members) and is now a II-C member (i.e., still two voting representatives).

PSA is grateful to both of these organizations for their continued and enhanced...