IUBS 1919 to 2019 : The Journey Of A Century

Year 1919

The IUBS was established in 1919 at the Royal Academy of Sciences, in Brussels, Belgium by the "Assemblée Générale Constitutive" that founded the "Conseil International de Recherches", which now is the International Council of Science (ICSU). Its establishment follwoed the recommendations of the "Conférences des Académies Scientifiques Interalliées", held in Brussels, Belgium.


Statutes and structure were formalised.


IUBS was formally admitted as a member of the International Research Council, which is now the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU).

1925 - 1939

The Union’s two major fields of activity were the promotion of scientific information and the environment. Its information project was later developed into "UNISIST", and its work onenvironmental issues contributes towards establishment of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). New ideas were pursued in the areas of evolution and genetics.

1935 - 1947

During World War II the Union was inactive.

1947 - 1967

With modern biological disciplines, such as evolutionary biology, genetics, cell biology ecology and developmental biology, coming to the fore, IUBS developed into an exemplary international forum for biology. The International Biological Programme IBP was initiated by IUBS and later taken over and coordinated by ICSU. This was the first serious effort to develop an international programme in the life sciences.


This period witnessed the creation of many IUBS scientific programmes of a multidisciplinary nature – Decade of the Tropics, Bioindicators, Biological Complexity, and Biological Diversity (cf. Accomplished Programmes).


The development of IUBS Scientific Programmes continues in the Nineties, with the birth of Diversitas, Biosystematics, Species 2000, Bionomenclature, Reproductive Biology and Aquaculture. The IUBS 26th General Assembly, held in 1997 in Taipei, adopts a new programme "Towards an Integrative Biology" TAIB (cf. Current Programmes).


Researching scientific solutions for problems the whole world faces, like losses of biodiversity or organisms reactions to global change the fostering and coordination of international research is getting more and more important (cf. Current Programmes). This is even more true since neither organisms ? besides humans – nor climate or other natural processes are able to perceive the borders of countries.