Committee on International Activities

Photo of ACS Committee on International Activities (IAC) in New Orleans, March 2018
ACS Committee on International Activities (IAC) in New Orleans, March 2018

The 15-member Joint Board-Council Committee on International Activities (IAC) was established by action of the ACS Board of Directors on June 27, 1962 and was upgraded in 1974 to a joint Board-Council Committee. The IAC is responsible for studying and recommending appropriate SOCIETY participation and cooperation in international undertakings pertaining to chemical education, professional activities, and scientific matters of interest to chemists and chemical engineers, and coordinating its efforts with those of other organizations.


The mission of the Committee on International Activities is to assist scientists and engineers worldwide to communicate and collaborate for the good of the chemical and chemically related sciences, chemical engineering, and their practitioners.


Through their enduring volunteer service and commitment, members and associates of the Joint-Board Council Committee on International Activities continue in their remarkable efforts to further the obligations expressed in Article II, Section 3, of the ACS Constitution, "the SOCIETY shall cooperate with scientists internationally and shall be concerned with the worldwide application of chemistry to the needs of humanity."

Through its subcommittees on Africa and the Middle East, the Americas, Europe, and Asia Pacific Basin, the Committee continues its work to help ACS be more welcoming to chemists and allied scientists and engineers with global interests and advance its strategies that serve the international priorities of the Society.

The committee is well positioned to work in the following areas to assure success and impact as ACS continues on its journey towards a relevant, science-driven, and sustainable global presence.

  • Advance and serve the growing community of ACS International Chapters.
  • Review ACS membership structures, policies, and activities that can accelerate and/or hinder fulfillment of the ACS brand promise to our member volunteers, chemists, chemical engineers, and chemical educators with global interests.
  • Expand awareness and presence of ACS International Activities across ACS technical divisions, local sections, committees, meeting attendees, award recipients, ACS Fellows, and editorial and author communities.
  • Assure a committee environment that welcomes and supports open communication and service opportunity where a diversity of thought, opinion, and contribution is nurtured.

The following is the IAC Chair oral report to Council

ACS Joint Board-Council Committee on International Activities (IAC)
March 21, 2018-New Orleans, USA

Councilor Colleagues; Mr. President,

At its meeting in New Orleans on Saturday, March 17, 2018 the Committee on International Activities (IAC) worked as a community of dedicated, globally connected volunteers to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.

IAC began the day with presentations from its members, associates, and consultants sharing their global networks, scientific interests, and their aspirations for elaborating and refining ACS global presence.

At its Open Meeting, the Committee welcomed dignitaries from our sister societies and partners from Canada, Germany, Hungary, Nigeria, the UK, as well as leadership of the US National Committee of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC), and the Federation of African Societies of Chemistry.

Notably, the Committee welcomed and heard prepared remarks from the Director General of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons who in 2013 received the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the organization.

At our luncheon, the Committee welcomed the 2019 ACS President Elect who provided an overview of her emerging presidential interests and priorities and asked the Committee to share and discuss their ideas and insights in furthering ACS global presence and stature.

The Committee heard a final report on the ACS Asian Pacific International Chapters Conference, held November 2017 in Jeju, South Korea.  It is increasingly evident that there are enhanced capacities of our ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters to organize and deliver regional meetings with global impact.

The US National Committee of IUPAC also shared their planning interests and priorities for the 100th Anniversary of IUPAC and celebration of the International Year of the Periodic Table in 2019.   

At our Sunday, IAC Welcome Reception, we hosted over 600 international meeting attendees.  We also organized a networking event for international post-docs.

In recognition of the remarkable growth in ACS International Student Chapters - currently at 50 - the Committee created a working group to assure their efforts are nurtured and co-aligned with the interests of ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters and the national chemical societies in their respective countries.

The Committee also reviewed an application from Colombia to establish an ACS Chapter there and recommended it move forward for Council consideration and action in Boston.

Finally, IAC seeks approval from our Councilor colleagues for the establishment of ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters in Jordan and Qatar.  The petitions can be found on page 90 of your agenda book.  Please note that a typo in the first paragraph of the second petition has been identified and corrected; the country name has been changed to Qatar.

The applications were initiated and signed by ACS members in good standing and residing in the respective countries.  The applications meet all requirements of Bylaw IX of the Society, and include statements that the applicants are familiar with and will abide by all governing documents of the Society. The applications have been reviewed and approved by the ACS Committee on International Activities,

Mr. President, IAC requests ACS Council action on the motion to establish an ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter in Jordan. (Motion slide displayed and proceedings move to Peter for vote).

Mr. President, IAC requests ACS Council action on the motion to establish an ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapter in Qatar. (Motion slide displayed and proceedings move to Peter for vote).

Mr. President, this concludes my report.

Other Activities

IAC Stopover Grants 
The IAC Stopover Grant program is for ACS members to make "stopover" visits during planned international travel.  Grants (up to US$500) are available to reimburse costs of local travel, accommodations, and incidentals for visits to work with existing and prospective scientific partners (and their students) for the purposes of conducting lectures, training, and building research collaborations. The grant program launched as a pilot in 2016 and operates on a rolling deadline.

International Chemical Sciences Chapters 
With the ACS Board approving new ACS Chapters at its December 2017 meeting, the number of ACS Chapters now stands at 19 with three chapters currently petitioning for a charter. The staff management and operational support for ACS Chapters has moved to ACS Member Communities in the ACS Membership Division. Chapter development, application, and annual report review will stay with IAC and IA.  

ACS Science and Human Rights
On the chemical faculty of Widener University in Pennsylvania, Professor Ismail Kul was arrested on August 2, 2016 for alleged involvement with the July 2016 coup attempt and association with Fethullah Gulen. If convicted, he faces a sentence of 15 years in prison. His case has been postponed several times with the most recent court date set postponed until April 2018. IA staff is in contact with Professor Kul’s son, State Department Bureau of Democracy, Labor and Human Rights; and the US Embassy in Ankara in our monitoring the case to assure he is afforded timely due process with access to legal counsel, family and medical care, under internationally recognized standards in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the European Convention on Human Rights, to which the Republic of Turkey is party. IA coordinated recognition and ACS Board approval of a resolution honoring Scholars At Risk (SAR) at the Saturday ACS Board Dinner in New Orleans. SAR is an international network of institutions and individuals whose mission it is to protect scholars (including chemists) and promote academic freedom.

ACS International Center
The ACS International Center (IC) continues to be a leading, authoritative source for information related to scientific mobility, exchange and collaboration for STEM practitioners worldwide. The IC supports these ideas by providing a curated, searchable directory of funding and collaborative opportunities. With over 600 programs listed across the six experience levels (from high school to senior professional), there is something for all chemistry practitioners on the site. In 2017, the International Center welcomed three additional Affiliate partners-Mitacs (a Canadian organization dedicated to scientific training and exchange), BiLAT 4.0 (the E.U. organization tasked with promoting Horizon 2020 collaboration in the United States) and DLR-the German Space Agency (responsible for managing the BiLAT and other Horizon 2020 initiatives).  The International Center produced two webinars in the latter half of 2017 featuring IC Affiliate partners Euraxess and the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science. The International Center plans to feature an exploratory webinar with Mitacs and NCURA in the first half of 2018.

Members of the International Center Advisory Group (ICAG) met in Loveland, Colorado (during the 2017 Rocky Mountain Regional Meeting) to discuss future planning for the International Center and the final implementation of “Phase II” programming.

The International Center exceeded goals for 2017 unique visitor traffic with 41,620 daily unique visitors and 90,521 page views on the site. Traffic from the United States continues to lead the site (52%), followed by other leading countries such as India (8%), United Kingdom (3%), Japan (3%), Germany (2%), China (2%) and Canada (2%).

Chemical Sciences and Society Summit (CS3) 
Since 2008, ACS has served as the lead for the U.S. delegation to the Chemical Sciences & Society summit series. Joined by China, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom, CS3 is a unique venue to explore topics of frontier chemistry featuring chemical societies, leading chemistry practitioners and funding agencies from the respective countries. This unique nexus brought together leading minds to explore challenges and opportunities in frontier chemistry topics.

featured a three-day symposium on advances in the field and new ideas to address challenges in research. The proceedings of that summit will be made publically available through the form of a white paper on Monday, March 19 at the conclusion of the press conference (Monday, March 19 2:30pm, Great Hall C of the Convention Center)In 2017, the Chinese Chemical Society (CCS) hosted the 7th CS3 summit in Dalian, China. The topic, Solar Energy & Photonics for a Sustainable Future .

The U.S. delegation has been supported by the National Science Foundation since the beginning. In late 2017, NSF Chemistry Division informed ACS that going forward (following the publication of the 2017 report), CHE would no longer fund the CS3 project. International Activities staff continues to work with NSF CHE to explore new ways of supporting international research and collaboration.

Project SEED Global Pilot Program
In celebration of Project SEED’s 50th anniversary, the IAC approved a one-year pilot program to support the global expansion of the Project SEED program to locations outside of the United States at the DC National Meeting in August 2017. The idea of the project is to collaborate with ACS International Chapters around the globe to host Project SEED students locally at university, government or industry labs.

In consultation with the Project SEED IAC Working Group, International Activities released a call for proposals to ACS International Chemical Sciences Chapters to host Project SEED students in 2018. Out of 19 chapters worldwide, two submitted competitive proposals. Each proposal was meticulously reviewed by the working group and awarded the pilot program. Through the ACS Project SEED Global initiative, ACS will fund two students at the ACS Chapter in Malaysia and ACS Chapter in Nigeria.

Project SEED Global will commence in May/June 2018 and conclude by August. Chapter and student reports on their training and experience will be due to the working group at the end of the internship. Working group members will conduct a thorough review of the student and chapter experiences and make a recommendation on next steps, including the possibility of moving forward with a Program Funding Request to expand the program.

With support from the Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP), the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (PITTCON) and the Wallace H. Coulter Foundation, ACS International Activities coordinated competitive selection of the 2017 ACS PittconTravel Grant with 10 participants from Latin America – 6 women and 4 men from Colombia, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay to attend Pittcon 2017, March 4-9, 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.  India and Pakistan were selected by IAC for the 2018 PITTCON countries and applications reviewed and awardees selected for Orlando next year.

Global Innovation Grant (GIG)
The ACS International Activities Committee sponsored Global Innovation Grant assists ACS Technical Divisions, Local Sections, International Chapters and Committees with travel, projects and events. Grants between $1,000 and $5,000 are available annually (pending budget approval) in support of IAC strategic interests and priorities and to catalyze new international collaborations and partnerships dedicated to solutions to global challenges. In 2017, 12 applications were received and 5 applications awarded.

6th FASC Conference in Arusha, Tanzania on September 8-15, 2017
Hosted by the Tanzania Chemical Society (TCS), the Conference was co-convened with the 3rd Annual TCS International Conference, and a pre-conference, locally organized ACS Festival took place.  ACS President-Elect Peter Dorhout attended the gatherings and presented to the FASC General Assembly and Executive Committee on the topic of ACS activities and interests in Africa and opportunities for engagement.  Staff also met with ACS members at the conference chemical society leadership in northern, southern, and eastern Africa.  Dorhout also participated in the student poster judging, and the participants and winners received a joint ACS/FASC Certificate. 

Global Chemists Code of Ethics 
2017 workshop participants have held events in their home countries with over 8,000 attendees for follow-up activities. Each participant was required to conduct a workshop upon returning to their home country on one of the modules from their workshop: Publishing Ethics, Communicating Science, Chemical Lab Safety, and Chemical Security. These events were a requirement of participation in the 3 workshops held in 2017 in Morocco, Kenya, and Australia. 

ACS Visa Policy Statement 
IAC is leading the process of revisiting and revising by year end the narrative of the Society’s  policy statement last revised in 2014, IAC, the Society Committee on Education, Committee on Science, and Committee of Corporation Associates have been asked to work on this effort, and the IAC Chair has been tasked with leading the writing team to revise the current document in consultation with professional and learned societies including the  National Academies of Science, American Association of Universities, National Association of Foreign Student Affairs, American Geophysical Union, and the American Physical Society.  The statement is was reviewed approved by PA&PR at its December 2017 meeting.

This inaugural conference drew 169 registrants with participation and representation from all 10 ICSCs in the region. APICC also had registrants/participants from countries that do not have an international chapter; namely, Canada, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Philippines, Russia, and UAE. ACS President Allison Campbell hosted a members-only reception (with 65 attendees) which allowed members attending APICC the opportunity to speak directly with ACS governance. In addition to sponsorship from ACS Publications, APICC also received sponsorship from some ACS technical divisions; namely, ORG, GEOC, and AGFD.

International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT)

IA has facilitate a working relationship with the IUPAC National Committee to inventory and co-align ACS OSGC External Affairs & Communication and ACS Education Division activities for contributions to the 2019 International Year of Periodic Table (IYPT). Discussions are centering on a complementary IYPT opening ceremony in the US; sponsorship; briefing ACS member communities on IYPT; having an IYPT presence at the IAC Reception in NOLA; requesting approval for an IYPT Resolution by the ACS Board of Directors; joint NAS / ACS efforts for outreach to other Unions and US chemistry groups; and a coordinated ACS / IUPAC web presence.