Science Academies Establish Global Council

The world's science academies agreed at a 14 May confab in Tokyo to establish an international version of the U.S. National Research Council. The new InterAcademy Council (IAC) will organize expert panels to provide scientific advice to the United Nations, World Bank, and other international organizations on issues ranging from food safety to emerging diseases (Science, 11 February, p. 943).

The IAC, to be based at the Netherlands Academy in Amsterdam, will produce peer-reviewed reports by scientists who serve without compensation, and who will communicate mainly via e-mail. The enterprise "is envisioned as an electronic one," said U.S. National Academy of Sciences president Bruce Alberts.

The council's budget is still uncertain, but reports will be paid for by commissioning organizations. Member academies will chip in to cover the salary of an executive director, to be hired after an international search. Alberts says the IAC's "first few projects will be critical" to determining its success.