I  U  P  A  C


Vice President's critical Assessment - 1997



The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry constitutes a global, international, nongovernmental, scientific, non-profit, voluntary organization. It is a privilege to extend deep appreciation to all of the 1200 volunteers all around the world for their personal commitment to the objectives, goals and activities of IUPAC. Their contributions promote, perpetuate and enhance the impact of the Union's activities on the international level, both in scope and in intrinsic significance. It is by the expertise and dedication of these extensive and intensive voluntary activities that IUPAC can serve, and will continue to serve, the world chemical research and industrial community as the outstanding international authority on pure and applied chemistry.

The present report consists of two parts. The first part addresses the science policy of the Union. It provides core comments on principles, general activities and possible present and future directions of the Union. In view of recent deliberations on the scientific policy and future of the Union, a more general overview and evaluation of the state of affairs of IUPAC is attempted, formulating goals and principles and assessing core activities. The second part addresses the structure and function of the Union. The organization of the Union should rest on the objectives and goals, on the principles of science policy and on the closing of existing gaps in current IUPAC activities. The report then proceeds to provide recommendations on the structure and activities of the divisions.

Input information for this report has been derived from the following sources:

  • Vice president's critical assessment 1994, which contains input from an ad-hoc international advisory board, established by Professor A. Fischli.
  • Future Scientific Policy of the Union - Prof. G. den Boef (1021/gdB/SH, October 5, 1995).
  • "Brain Storming" Session of Executive Committee, Guilford, UK (August 7, 1995).
  • Reports of Division Presidents to the Bureau (August 1995 - July 1996).
  • IUPAC Current Programs and Revision Sheets (1996).
  • Meetings on Future Directions of IUPAC (Elkridge MD, USA, June 1996 and London, England, February 1997).

This report constitutes a departure from the past format of the Vice President's Critical Assessment (VPCA). One of the past procedures to evaluate the activities of the Union was the biennial VPCA. It has been mentioned that this is a unique opportunity for the Vice President to become thoroughly acquainted with the activities of the Union, and, indeed, it was a privilege for me to learn about the broad spectrum of the Union's activities. The purpose of past VPCAs has been to examine critically the activities of the Divisions / Sections and the Standing Committees. I have great respect for each of these past critical assessments. However, such critical assessments do each remain a personal view, while a broader perspective is required. IUPAC serves international scientific endeavour in the realm of Chemistry in the dual function of a basic science and mission-oriented Union. In an attempt to provide new ways of planning and assessment, the present VPCA will not address the details of the extensive activities of the Divisions and of the Standing Committees. Rather, general issues of goals, science policy, core activities and structure and function of the Union will be addressed in an attempt to define the areas in which IUPAC will continue to make substantial contributions to the advancement and understanding of chemistry and to the service of chemistry to world needs.

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