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IUPAC Strategic Plan -- 2000-2001

Goals and Strategic Thrusts - 2000-2001

To further its mission, IUPAC has established a set of long-range Goals and has formulated strategic thrusts that are aimed at achieving each of the Goals. These strategies are intended to guide the development of operational plans and the setting of priorities for optimal use of the Union's resources, both human and financial.

1. IUPAC will serve as a scientific, international, non-governmental body in objectively addressing global issues involving the chemical sciences. Where appropriate, IUPAC will represent the interests of chemistry in governmental and non-governmental forums.

  • IUPAC will conduct projects pertaining to the chemical aspects of important issues of international concern. In addition to projects initiated within IUPAC, input for new projects of scientific and industrial importance may come from international governmental and non-governmental bodies and from appropriate public groups. Examples are the series of CHEMRAWN conferences, special issues of Pure and Applied Chemistry on chlorine and endocrine disrupters, and studies of methods for disposal of chemical weapons. IUPAC will not undertake projects that cast it in the role of policy development or as an advocate for special interest groups.

  • Collaborations with international governmental bodies, such as UNESCO and the World Health Organization, should continue and be strengthened. The IUPAC/UNESCO International Council for Chemistry will serve as the central forum for planning and coordinating work with UNESCO. Collaborations with other individual scientific Unions, with international scientific societies, and with the International Council for Science (ICSU) should be enhanced to plan and carry out projects of an interdisciplinary nature.

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2. IUPAC will provide tools (e.g., standardized nomenclature and methods) and forums to help advance international research in the chemical sciences.

  • The importance of standardized nomenclature, symbols, terminology, and methodology is critical to communication in the chemical sciences. To remain the recognized international authority in this area, IUPAC must ensure that important problems are recognized and treated fairly and expeditiously. Collaborations with national and regional chemistry societies, with governmental bodies, and with commercial information organizations should be augmented. Greater efforts should be made to encourage adoption of IUPAC recommendations through contacts with authors, editors, and publishers.

  • The biennial IUPAC Congress has become a recognized forum for presenting outstanding relevant developments in modern chemistry and inspiring high research standards. Future Congresses should adhere to the high standard set in recent years.

  • An assessment should be made of IUPAC sponsorship of specialized symposia in order to strengthen this well-accepted program. New significant research fields in chemistry should be highlighted by the initiation of relevant high-quality symposia.

  • Special attention should be devoted to improving the scope and quality of the Union's scientific publication program. IUPAC should take advantage of advances in electronic publishing methods to ensure high quality publications that are disseminated in a rapid and cost-effective manner.

  • Policies should be developed for IUPAC's role in the preparation and dissemination of critically evaluated databases, from atomic weights to thermodynamic and other chemical data.

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3. IUPAC will assist chemistry-related industry in its contributions to sustainable development, wealth creation, and improvement in the quality of life.

  • IUPAC is unique among the International Scientific Unions in including within its scope a large industrial base. IUPAC is often perceived as being oriented primarily toward academic institutions, but industry benefits equally from much of the Union's work in standardized symbols, nomenclature, and terminology, as well as from critically evaluated data. Greater efforts should be made to demonstrate the ways in which IUPAC serves industrial needs directly and indirectly. In addition to the present links provided by the Committee on Chemistry and Industry, serious efforts have begun and should continue to engage leaders in the chemical industry and national and international industry associations in dialogue to explore ways in which IUPAC and industry can enhance mutually beneficial interactions.

  • IUPAC should be particularly alert to projects that help develop the scientific basis for practices and procedures that protect society while encouraging responsible and sustainable development. Such projects may be initiated in the basic chemistry Divisions, as well as in the mission-oriented Divisions [Chemistry and the Environment, and Chemistry and Human Health].

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4. IUPAC will facilitate the development of effective channels of communication in the international chemistry community.

  • The vast potential of the Internet should continue to be utilized to enhance information transfer between IUPAC and chemists in many countries. The Fellows Program and Affiliate Member Program already provide a base, which should be expanded many-fold.

  • The decision by IUPAC in 1999 to assume direct responsibility for its printed publications, rather than relying on a commercial publisher, now provides great flexibility to enhance the scope, quality, and circulation of Pure and Applied Chemistry and Chemistry International and to promote the book publication program more widely. The important material traditionally published in PAC should be augmented by timely special topics, and CI should be developed as a forum for highlighting important problems and advances in chemistry and for discussion of science policy and global issues in chemistry.

  • Increased efforts should be made to provide information on IUPAC activities and news about important matters of international chemistry to major scientific journals and national and regional chemistry newsmagazines, which routinely reach hundreds of thousands of chemists worldwide. Feedback should be encouraged.

  • In order for IUPAC to play an appropriate role in addressing global issues, the Officers of the Union should organize regular meetings with the leaders of National Chemical Societies and Regional Chemical Federations so that their respective roles may be clarified from time to time and plans and projects of international scope agreed.

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5. IUPAC will promote the service of chemistry to society in both developed and developing countries.

  • CHEMRAWN Conferences have long provided the principal mechanism for IUPAC to address issues that transcend pure science and have important socio-political aspects. Such Conferences should continue to be promoted, along with follow-up Future Action Programs.

  • IUPAC bodies should continue to be alert to projects on matters of societal importance (e.g., chemical weapons disposal, environmental cleanup) that depend heavily on chemical sciences and technology.

  • Within its limited funds, IUPAC should consider ways to foster chemistry in developing and economically disadvantaged countries. In many instances, IUPAC's initiative and scientific expertise has been paired with outside funding sources (e.g., recent UNESCO-supported work in the least developed countries and the UNESCO/UNIDO/IUPAC program in chemical safety) to produce valuable results, and this model should be further elaborated.

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6. IUPAC will utilize its global perspective to contribute toward the enhancement of education in chemistry and to advance the public understanding of chemistry and the scientific method.

  • Scientists everywhere recognize the critical role played by formal and informal education at all levels, from kindergarten through graduate school, not only for future scientists but also for the general public. The problems associated with such educational programs are enormous. Educational systems, administration, and curricula vary drastically by country, locality, and individual school and teacher. IUPAC cannot hope to make an impact on detailed curricula or outreach activities in individual countries and localities, but it may be able to complement the efforts of national chemical societies and to coordinate exchange of information. IUPAC has begun to examine carefully what long-range role it can realistically play in international science education and to develop appropriate policies. Meanwhile, a number of specific activities can usefully be initiated or continued, as described below.

  • The Committee on Teaching of Chemistry (CTC) has been effective in carrying out its program on exchange of information on teaching methods, equipment, etc. CTC should continue to serve as the focal point for IUPAC's programs in this area, but its programs should be broadened. In addition, IUPAC Divisions should be invited to develop complementary projects to enhance education at all levels and to coordinate them with CTC.

  • IUPAC should cooperate in whatever ways are feasible with educational programs established by ICSU and other scientific Unions, which will endeavor to disseminate information on science teaching and science education for the public.

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7. IUPAC will make special efforts to encourage the career development of young chemists.

  • It is apparent that the future development of the chemical sciences lies largely in the hands of the younger generation of scientists, who often encounter severe obstacles in an era of constrained resources. The IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists now gives specific recognition to the accomplishments of graduate students, and IUPAC should be alert to other opportunities to assist younger chemists.

  • IUPAC should encourage developing and economically disadvantaged countries to create opportunities for young researchers that will reduce their exodus from the field of chemistry and from their home countries. IUPAC should also use its Internet and other resources to help young chemists from developing countries, including those who return after advanced training elsewhere, to maintain contact with contemporary research.

  • The Union should strongly encourage organizers of the IUPAC Congress and IUPAC-sponsored symposia to provide travel support for younger scientists and to include younger scientists among the invited lecturers.

  • The IUPAC Secretariat should explore the use of the web site as a central point for announcing the availability of postdoctoral research positions in chemistry worldwide. Young scientists in many parts of the world could benefit significantly by having such information accessible in one place, and by accessing the web site they will learn also about other IUPAC programs.

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8. IUPAC will broaden the geographical base of the Union and ensure that its human capital is drawn from all segments of the world chemistry community.

  • The 45 National Adhering Organizations (NAOs) and 16 Associate NAOs that currently comprise IUPAC are broadly distributed throughout the world, but there are several geographic regions with little or no representation in the Union and a number of countries with substantial academic and industrial developments in chemistry that do not adhere to the Union. IUPAC should encourage such countries to apply for membership. In addition, IUPAC should stimulate less developed countries to seek Associate NAO status.

  • The Union has long had a formal policy of "fair geographical representation" among Elected Members of the Bureau and informally strives to obtain geographic diversity among IUPAC and Division Officers. While maintaining the focus on expertise, IUPAC's scientific bodies should make efforts to recruit younger chemists, women chemists, and chemists from recently developed regions. Several NAOs now provide travel support for younger scientists to participate in IUPAC activities as Associate Members, National Representatives, or Observers; other NAOs should be encouraged to follow this lead.

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9. IUPAC will encourage worldwide dissemination of information about the activities of the Union.

  • Much of the valuable work done by IUPAC bodies is published only in Pure and Applied Chemistry or in specialized books and journals. Although such formal and archival publication is essential, greater efforts should be made by individual IUPAC bodies, the Secretariat, and the NAOs to disseminate this information as early and as widely as possible to the relevant scientific community. In many instances, high-quality reports from symposia, workshops and Commission activities should be prepared not only as formal scientific publications but also as semipopular documents emphasizing applications. For topics that warrant attention in the popular scientific press, carefully drawn news releases are needed.

  • Contacts with major national chemical societies, regional chemistry federations, industrial associations, and government/ industry/ university consortia should be expanded to ensure that these organizations are fully aware of IUPAC activities and can provide credit to the Union where its activities complement theirs.

  • Improved two-way communication with NAOs concerning science policy, planning, and implementation of projects and other activities is needed. Special efforts should be made to prepare suitable material describing IUPAC programs and accomplishments in a form that will assist NAOs in recruiting Company Associates.

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10. IUPAC will assure sound management of its resources to provide maximum value for the funds invested in the Union.

  • The Union can undertake its many activities only because of stable financial support from its National Adhering Organizations, which in turn usually obtain their resources from government and/or industrial sources. IUPAC has a continuing responsibility to demonstrate to its sponsors that all relevant management tools, including the use of modern information technology, are employed to maximize productivity in the administration of the Union.

  • The decision to focus much of IUPAC's scientific work in time-limited projects should improve effectiveness and accountability, but IUPAC leadership must develop and implement procedures for optimizing the flexibility of the new system.

  • IUPAC should encourage philanthropic donations to the Union's endowment. With continued wise investment strategies that assure maximum return consistent with reasonable safety, the endowment and operating reserves will provide a continuing source of funding that augments and leverages the subscriptions from the NAOs.

  • Officers of IUPAC bodies and the Secretariat should continue to be alert to possible sources of funds for specific projects from outside groups (e.g., UNESCO, ICSU, charitable foundations and industry) to augment the base funds provided by NAO subscriptions.

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> IUPAC Strategic Plan -- 2000-2001 - index page

> Mission Statement
> Long-Range Goals
> Goals and Strategic Thrusts -- 2000-2001
> Implementation and Updating of the Strategic Plan

Page last modified 25 April 2000.
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