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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter January 11, 2016

IUPAC’s New Strategic Plan

  • Mark Cesa EMAIL logo
From the journal Chemistry International

A task group chaired by Mark Cesa has completed a review of IUPAC strategy, with a focus on defining IUPAC’s unique role in the chemical enterprise and enabling it to contribute effectively in the coming years. Survey input from a broad range of IUPAC volunteers, members, and stakeholders, as well as scientists outside the Union, informed the development of a new vision and mission statement, and new core values, goals, and objectives. Constructive comments and support from members of the Bureau and the NAOs have helped refine the elements of this new strategy, which was presented in August 2015 to the Council and to our volunteers in the Divisions and Standing Committees as they direct their efforts toward achieving these goals.

The strategic plan aims to define IUPAC’s unique role and value within the chemistry community so that the Union’s contributions have maximal impact. This new vision will focus our work on issues of strategic importance to our Union.

The new strategic plan answers the following questions:

  1. How should IUPAC balance its emphasis on its traditional strengths in chemistry with new and emerging science?

  2. How should IUPAC distinguish itself from other organizations serving aspects of the chemistry community?

  3. How can IUPAC make its knowledge and expertise usable to benefit the greater society, and in particular the developing world?

The plan defines the unique role of IUPAC within the chemistry community and its commitment to solving critical world problems through its in-depth knowledge of the chemical sciences.

A web-based survey assessed the current state of IUPAC and ideas for a strong future. Respondents emphasized the importance of IUPAC’s contributions in nomenclature, terminology, symbols, standards, analytical methods, and conferences—the things for which IUPAC is best known. They noted IUPAC’s reputation for objectivity and consensus-building. They also showed concern about the effectiveness of IUPAC’s internal and external communication, the IUPAC website, IUPAC’s finances, and about the Union’s relative slowness in reacting to changes in the field. They encouraged IUPAC to strengthen its contributions to the developing world, to enhance chemistry education efforts, and to emphasize greater diversity in its membership with respect to age, gender, geography, and training. They asked for greater participation by industrial scientists, and called for greater transparency in IUPAC’s work processes, particularly the recruitment and retention of volunteers and members.

The task group articulated IUPAC’s unique role in the world chemistry community:

  1. A focus on those aspects of chemistry where global consensus is essential for progress in research, commerce and policy

  2. Respect for objectivity and scientific excellence, providing access to the highest levels in the scientific, industrial, and policy communities to represent global chemistry

  3. A worldwide base of volunteers with the best skills and background, recruited by transparent and well-understood processes

The new strategic plan was built on the basis that IUPAC’s unique role in the worldwide chemistry community and its global reach, can effectively address global needs through contributions from the chemical sciences. This is summarized here.

The core values provide the foundation of the strategy. They are principles that guide the conduct of the Union and its relationships with its stakeholders. IUPAC’s core values emphasize scientific excellence, communication, transparency, diversity, and ethical behavior. These behaviors are practiced by all of the Union’s volunteers, staff, and stakeholders.

The mission statement articulates IUPAC’s purpose for its stakeholders. It describes what IUPAC does (provide chemistry expertise and develop essential tools,) how it does these things (by fostering sustainable development, providing a common language, and advocating free exchange of information,) and why (for the benefit of humankind and the world.)

The vision statement describes how IUPAC wishes to be regarded by its stakeholders. It builds upon the Union’s core values and mission, and emphasizes the value of IUPAC to the global chemistry community.

The long-range goals are the basic framework, derived from the strategy, and they are the focal points of the Union’s efforts. They address the major issues raised in the survey and the SWOT analysis.

The shorter-term objectives are the highest priority tasks for the coming years. They demonstrate an emphasis on IUPAC’s unique role in the world chemistry community. Some of the objectives are focused on specific bodies of the Union, such as the Secretariat and supporting groups; others will call on efforts from all of the Divisions and Standing Committees.

Both the Bureau and the Council have endorsed the strategic plan, and we are now working actively to implement it. Divisions and Standing Committees are encouraged to align their activities with the strategy, with the goal of generating new projects, particularly in collaboration with each other and with those outside the chemistry community to solve world problems. At the same time, the Secretariat is aligning with the new plan as it establishes new work processes; the Finance Committee has established a collaboration with professional financial advisors to manage and grow our investments; our publications are moving towards a beneficial effect with our partner De Gruyter; and the website is being redeveloped with improved communication, stability, data access, transparency, and user-friendly design.

The strategic plan is intended to be a “living document,” and regular reviews and adjustments will be required to assure continued alignment with the rapidly evolving field of chemistry and the needs of the worldwide chemistry community.

The members of the strategic plan task group are: Mark Cesa (chair), Richard Hartshorn, Javier Garcia Martinez, Jung-Il Jin, Laura McConnell, Fabienne Meyers, Lynn Soby, Natalia Tarasova, and Maria van Dam-Mieras.

For more information contact Marc Cesa <>

IUPAC Strategic Plan 2016


IUPAC is an indispensable resource for chemistry.


The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry is the global organization that provides objective scientific expertise and develops the essential tools for the application and communication of chemical knowledge for the benefit of humankind and the world.

IUPAC accomplishes its mission by fostering sustainable development, providing a common language for chemistry, and advocating the free exchange of scientific information.


  1. We serve humankind by advancing chemistry worldwide.

  2. Scientific excellence and objectivity are the cornerstones of all our work.

  3. We value collaboration and communication among all our stakeholders.

  4. We strive for diversity and inclusiveness in all forms.

  5. We respect each other and the Union.

  6. We uphold the highest standards of transparent, responsible and ethical behavior.

GOALS (short and long term)

  1. Provide scientific expertise to address critical world needs

  2. Increase the value of our products and services

  3. Improve the vitality, effectiveness and efficiency of our Union

OBJECTIVES (short term)

  1. Brand IUPAC in the minds of stakeholders

  2. Improve quality and frequency of communication with stakeholders

  3. Increase revenues and improve long-term financial stability

  4. Expand and retain member base

  5. Enhance interdivisional interaction and collaboration

  6. Emphasize multidisciplinary projects addressing critical global issues

  7. Support chemistry education in developing countries

Published Online: 2016-1-11
Published in Print: 2016-1-1

©2016 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston

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