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Board on International Scientific Organizations
Policy and Global Affairs
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine
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Tel: +1 202-334-2807
Fax: +1 202-334-2231

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BISO Events Calendar

Events of US National
Committees and
international unions
associated with BISO


U.S. National Committee to the International Union of Biological Sciences (USNC/IUBS)

Representing the community of United States biologists and working
to promote the biological sciences

The U.S. National Committee to the International Union of Biological Sciences is part of a network of five U.S. National Committees in biology. 


Beyond BIO2010: Celebration and Opportunities
May 21-22, 2010
National Academy of Sciences
Washington, DC

This two day conference will celebrate progress made by the mutual effort of biologists and mathematicians to address challenges laid down in the 2003 NRC report BIO2010: Transforming Undergraduate Education for Future Research Biologists, including development of new curricular materials, collaborative research initiatives, national institutes, professional development workshops and digital libraries, and chart a path for the future.


About the Union
About the USNC
Activities & Events
Current Membership

Contact the USNC/IUBS
Katherine Bowman, Program Officer


The International Union of Biological Sciences (IUBS) is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation, established in 1919. Its objectives are:

  • to promote the study of biological sciences;
  • to initiate, facilitate and coordinate research and other scientific activities necessitating international, interdisciplinary cooperation;
  • to ensure the discussion and dissemination of the results of cooperative research, particularly in connection with IUBS scientific programmes;
  • to support the organisation of international conferences and assist in the publication of their reports.


The U.S. National Committees (USNCs) represent the United States scientific community in the international structure of the unions, work to promote positive international engagement and collaboration, and serve as bridges between the National Academies, the many disciplinary societies, scientific funding agencies, and individual American scientists.

The U.S. committee to IUBS supports the growth of biology by:

  • Serving as a neutral venue where representatives of U.S. professional societies, government agencies, and other important stakeholders can meet to discuss trends in their disciplines
  • Acting as a communication bridge between the U.S. and international scientific communities
  • Initiating and facilitating activities on important disciplinary and trans-disciplinary issues
  • Collaborating with other national and international organizations interested in the advancement of the biological sciences

Activities & Events

 Representing the U.S. in the International Newtork of the Union

The U.S. National Committee nominates scientists for leadership positions in the union, votes on union business matters, and sends a delegation of scientists to represent the U.S. in the triennial IUBS General Assemblies.  U.S. members are actively engaged in IUBS leadership and chair IUBS scientific programs on Biology and Traditional Knowledge, Human Dimensions of Biodiversity, and Biology Education.  John Jungck (Beloit College) also serves as an IUBS Vice-president. 

The 30th General Assembly was held October 8-15, 2009 in Cape Town, South Africa in conjunction with the second Diversitas Open Science Conference, which was held October 13-16.  Diversitas is an international scientific program that promotes research about, and examines policy implications of, biodiversity issues.  The IUBS was one of the founding sponsors of this program, which now maintains an independent secretariat in France.

The 29th IUBS General Assembly was hosted by the U.S. National Committee to IUBS in Washington, DC on May 9-13, 2007.  The U.S. was represented at the meeting by John Jungck (Beloit College; Chair of the USNC), Joel Cracraft (American Museum of Natural History), Jan Salick (Missouri Botanical Garden), Kamal Bawa (University of Massachusetts, Boston), Daphne Fautin (University of Kansas), James Hanken (Harvard University) and Marvalee Wake (University of California, Berkeley; IUBS Past-president).

 Biological Science for the 21st Century: Meeting the Challenges

Biological Sciences for the 21st Century: Meeting the Challenges of Sustainable Development in an Era of Global Change

A symposium sponsored by the U.S. National Committee to the International Union of Biological Sciences as a component of the 29th IUBS General Assembly
May 10 – 12, 2007
Washington, DC
The 2.5 day symposium was organized by the U.S. National Committee to IUBS and by a Scientific Steering Committee Chaired by William Clark (Harvard University). The sessions explored exciting developments in biological sciences research and how these developments could be harnessed to address world-wide challenges of promoting sustainable development in an era of global change.

 Supporting Education and Opportunities for Younger Scientists

John Jungck, Beloit College, chairs the IUBS program on biology education.

Christchurch, New Zealand
February 12 – 16, 2009

The meeting brought together scientists and educators from across the world to discuss the science and teaching of evolution, including its contribution towards current understanding of the origins of life, people and their languages, biodiversity and its conservation in a time of change, and the spread of disease.  The Conference was held under the patronage of The IUBS Commission for Biological Education (IUBS-CBE), UNESCO, the Royal Society of New Zealand, and the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution.  USNC/IUBS Chair John Jungck (Beloit College) was Chair of the BioEd 2009 Scientific Committee, along with co-Chairs Pete Lockhart and David Penny (Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution). Visit the conference website for further details.

 Developing Disciplinary and Multidisciplinary Scientific Programs

Jan Salick, Missouri Botanical Garden, chairs the IUBS program on biology and traditional knowledge. 

The Second William L. Brown Symposium
St. Louis, Missouri, USA
November 6 – 7, 2008

This two day symposium focused on how integration of knowledge systems can be facilitated to inform science, capacity building, sustainable development, and policy.  The symposium was part of the activities held through the IUBS program on biology and traditional knowledge, chaired by USNC/IUBS member Jan Salick (Missouri Botanical Garden). 
The symposium organizing committee also included USNC/IUBS member Will McClatchey (University of Hawai’i at Manoa) along with Rainer Bussmann (Missouri Botanical Garden).  Additional information is available from the symposium website. 

June 12 – 13, 2008
Ghent, Belgium

An international conference on building an integrated infrastructure in microbial research dealing with issues such as bioinformatics, intellectual property rights, material transfer agreements, text mining, and integration with genomics databases


 Fostering Responsible Conduct of Biology

The IUBS program on bioethics is chaired by John Buckeridge, RMIT University, Australia and the current IUBS President.  The International Centre for Environmental and Bioethics (ICEB), focuses on developing and to implementing guidelines and best practice for the ethically sound and sustainable management of global biota and ecosystems. 

March 30 – April 2, 2008
Budapest, Hungary
More than 80 people from 31 countries participated in the Forum and discussed challenges and opportunities for the scientific community in fostering policies that promote both scientific progress and security.  An NRC report on the workshop was released in 2009.


The National Academies currently convenes five U.S. National Committees in the biological sciences, one committee for each union to which it adheres.  Members of the committees are scientists from academe, government and industry who represent the U.S. research community and who have a strong interest in international science.  Members generally serve for 3-year terms and are eligible for re-appointment to a second 3-year term.  Members of the Executive Boards of the biology unions who reside in the U.S. serve as ex-officio members and are also invited to be actively involved with the committees.  Nominations for new members are sought from a variety of sources, including the members and other Boards within the National Academies, scientific societies, and the scientific community at large.





Support for the five U.S. National Committees in the biological sciences is provided by the Directorate for Biological Sciences
of the National Science Foundation.

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