The organization and management of IUPAC's
scientific work will soon begin a transition to a system that emphasizes
individual projects, rather than allocation of Titular Members among a
large number of Commissions and Committees. By a vote of 20-0, with two
abstentions, the Bureau has approved an integrated program proposed by
the Strategy Development and Implementation Committee (SDIC) and the Committee
on Project Evaluation Criteria (CPEC) that will (i) assign to greatly
strengthened Division Committees the primary responsibility for overseeing
the initiation, approval and management of scientific projects, and (ii)
establish a uniform procedure for evaluating and funding such projects.
Some aspects of the new program will begin immediately, but there will
be a gradual phase-in over the next three years, as Division Committees,
Commissions and other IUPAC bodies develop plans for long-range implementation
of the new system, as well as proposals for specific new projects.
The program approved by the Bureau is designed to give clear direction
for the Union to
- revitalize its scientific activities,
- ensure the selection of only high quality
projects to bear the IUPAC label,
- encourage participation by the worldwide chemistry
- optimize the use of IUPAC's limited financial
- simplify management and accountability.
There are five principal components of the new program:
1. The Union will gradually replace its long-time practice of
allocating resources by assignment of Titular Members to Commissions and
Committees with a system in which funds are directly allocated to carry
out approved projects. The purpose of the change is to ensure that high
priority projects are adequately funded and can be started and completed
as expeditiously as feasible. Uniform IUPAC-wide procedures will be implemented
by January, 1999 to evaluate proposed projects for quality and suitability,
and to fund them within individual Divisions or from central IUPAC funds.
Generally, each project will be carried out by a limited-term Task Group.
The new system is designed to simplify management, reduce bureaucratic
rules and clarify accountability. The Executive
Summary of the report by the Committee on Project Evaluation Criteria can
be found here.
2. Division Committees have been given the responsibility for
seeking out ideas for projects, evaluating the proposals and managing approved
projects. The Division Committees will be strengthened by new procedures
for nomination of their Members. The Bureau has given approval, effective
immediately, for interim modification of Division Committees as needed
to ensure necessary expertise and breadth. During the next three years,
existing Commissions are expected to continue to provide the primary source
of new projects, but efforts will start immediately to solicit ideas and
interested participants for new Task Groups from the worldwide chemistry
3. Beginning in 2002, there will be a major redistribution
of funds, with increase in Division budgets, establishment of a central
pool of money to support interdisciplinary projects and projects that
require resources beyond the scope of an individual Division or Standing
Committee, and termination of separate budgets for the General Assemblies.
Council will be asked to amend Bylaw 4.307, which currently describes
the "right" of Titular Members to receive travel reimbursements,
irrespective of responsibility for projects or other activities.
4. The role of Commissions will change drastically beginning
in 2002. As an initial step, Council will be asked in 1999 to exercise
its responsibility under Bylaw 4.302 to decide not to continue any
existing Commission beyond the end of 2001. This action will permit
each Division Committee to utilize the period 1999-2001 to take a
fresh look at its overall programs, to consider how best to allocate
its resources, and to determine the optimum way to provide for oversight
of activities and continuity of programs. During this period (and
thereafter) if a Division Committee believes that a new Commission
is needed for a particular purpose, it may request the Bureau and
Council to form such a Commission by making a persuasive case under
the procedures of Bylaw 4.301, including specification of the life
of the proposed Commission. Such a Commission might be established,
for example, to generate a long-term strategy and develop IUPAC's
role in a new area or to accomplish an important short-term task.
Funding will be provided as needed to accomplish the objectives.
5. After 2002, it is anticipated that there will be a substantial
reduction in the number of Commissions and a significant increase
in the number of short-term Task Groups. These changes will require
reconsideration of the "membership" of the Divisions - currently
defined in the Bylaws as the Titular and Associate Members
of Commissions and Division Committees. The Secretary General
and Division Presidents have been charged by the Bureau to develop
proposals that could be acted on by Council in 2001. In addition,
the role of National Representatives will be reexamined. The plan
approved by the Bureau includes provision for a limited number of
non-voting National Representatives on Division Committees, but additional
mechanisms are to be developed to enhance participation by a large
number of scientists from both large and small countries.