International Union of Biological Sciences

Formation 1919
Headquarters Paris, France
44 national members, 80 scientific members
Nils Chr. Stenseth

The International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) is a non-profit organization and non-governmental organization, founded in 1919, that promotes the biological sciences internationally. As a scientific umbrella organization it was a founding member of the International Council for Science (ICSU).


The union has several key objectives:

Networking and cooperation

The Union was a founding member of the ICSU Scientific Committee and works closely with UNESCO. It also maintains relations with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It cooperates with the European Commission and numerous other organizations, agencies and foundations.


The Union currently consists of:

The national and the academic members identify promising areas of biological science and bring them to the attention of the Union and in the reverse, promote the programs of the Union in their own country to stimulate research projects. The Union reviews the member's suggestions, checks them against the international academic and scientific-political background and develops the programs, if they have sufficient support. Approval is given in the General Assembly and the project progresses through international conferences for accreditation and then implementation through national or international funding agencies.


The Executive Committee consists of: the President, the former President, two Vice-Presidents, the Secretary, the Treasurer and other members of the Extended Board. The Board meets annually. The Secretariat, with its Executive Director coordinates the programs and activities.

General Assembly

In the General Assembly, each national member has one vote. The scientific members are invited to send one representative each to the talks and make programmatic proposals. The General Assembly elects the Executive Board for the proposed projects, selects the scientific programs of the Union, reviews the progress of scientific programs, collaborates with other international organizations and decides on the allocation of funding. The General Assembly takes place in parallel to a scientific conference, organized in cooperation with the National Union Committee of the host country.


The scientific programmes of the General Assembly are approved in accordance with the Statutes of the Union. Where necessary and possible, the EU has granted start-up funding for individual programs, that supports the further funding from national or international donors or by negotiated agreements with the Union.

Examples of programmes

Diversitas, Human Dimensions of Biodiversity, Climate Change Integrative Biology (ICCB), Systematics Agenda, Biological Education (BioED), IUBS Bioethics Ethics Committee earlier, Bionomenclature, Biology and Traditional Knowledge, Biological Consequences of Global Change (BCGC) Darwin200, Biosystematics, Species 2000, Genomics and Evolution, Modernizing the codes to meet future needs of scientific communities (Biocode), Biology Research and Education Resources in Africa, Reproductive Biology, Aquaculture, Bio-Energy and Towards an Integrative Biology (TAIB).


The institution publishes four times a year Biology International and other publications such as IUBS Monograph Series, Methodology Manual Series and the Proceedings of the IUBS General Assemblies.

The International Union of Biological Sciences is non-profit and does not pursue economic goals. It is funded from the following sources:

The activities of the Union are within an annual budget of about 340,000, - € (2006). Of these, the salaries of a director and a secretary are paid, who run the Union's office in Paris. All other offices (President, Secretary General, Treasurer, etc.) are honorary offices for which only the direct expenses will be paid for.


The Union was founded in 1919 following the work of the Conference of Allied Academies of Sciences held in Brussels. Originally the 'S' was not for science but for Societies. After defining its constitution and organization in 1925, the IUBS adheres to the International Research Council (International Council for Science), which is now known by the acronym ICSU (International Council of Scientific Unions). From 1925 to 1939, the IUBS worked on two main themes: information science and the environment. This second project resulted in the creation of the World Conservation Union or IUCN. After being dormant for 1935 to 1949, the IUCB developed a highly original program of international research:

See also

Programmes of the IUBS

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