IAC in Brief

Mobilizing the world's best science to advise decision-makers on issues of global concern

Expert Advice. The InterAcademy Council (IAC) is a multinational organization of science academies created to produce reports on scientific, technological, and health issues related to the great global challenges of our time, providing knowledge and advice to national governments and international organizations. Sound scientific, technological, and medical knowledge is fundamental to addressing critical issues facing the world today.

Sharing Knowledge. At the United Nations in February 2004, the IAC released its first report, Inventing a Better Future – A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology. A second IAC report, commissioned by the U.N. Secretary-General and published in June 2004, was titled Realizing the Promise and Potential of African Agriculture – Science and Technology Strategies for Improving Agricultural Productivity and Food Security in Africa. A third report was published in June 2006, Women for Science. A fourth report was published in October 2007, Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future. A fifth report was published in fall 2010: a review of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as requested by the U.N. Secretary-General and Chair of the IPCC. In 2012, IAC and IAP jointly published a report Responsible Conduct in the Global Research Enterprise.

Global Experience. The IAC embodies the collective expertise and experience of national academies from all regions of the world. The current eighteen-member InterAcademy Council Board is composed of presidents of fifteen academies of science and equivalent organizations—representing Argentina, Australia, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus the African Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)—and representatives of IAP - the global network of science academies, the International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences (CAETS), and the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP) of medical academies. Official observers on the IAC Board include the presidents of the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).

Independent Judgment. When requested to provide advice on a particular issue, the IAC assembles an international panel of experts. Serving on a voluntary basis, panel members meet and review current, cutting-edge knowledge on the topic; and prepare a draft report on its findings, conclusions, and recommendations. All IAC draft reports undergo an intensive process of peer-review by other international experts. Only when the IAC Board is satisfied that feedback from the peer review has been thoughtfully considered and incorporated is a final report released to the requesting organization and the public. Every effort is made to ensure that IAC reports are free from any national or regional bias.

Diversified Funding. IAC projects are funded by multiple sponsors, including national governments, private foundations, and international organizations. Administrative overhead is covered by special grants from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the host organization for the IAC Secretariat. Participating academies contribute not only intellectual resources but also funding for developing new projects and special activities.