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Home > About ICSU > Structure > Committees > Freedom & Responsibility

Freedom & Responsibility

Mission and Activities

The Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS) serves as the guardian of the ICSU Principle of Universality of Science, which is enshrined in Statute 5 and adherence to which is a condition for ICSU Membership. To raise international awareness for the freedom and responsibility aspects related to the conduct of science, CFRS provides advice to the scientific community by issuing advisory documents that are usually the result from workshops and conferences. It also considers cases of individual scientists whose right to free movement, to freely associate and to communicate is infringed. This takes place in close liaison with the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies.

CFRS holds meetings twice a year, proceedings of which are available in CFRS meeting reports. In its work, the Committee is guided by its Terms of Reference and Work Plan.


  • 1963: formation of the Standing Committee on Free Circulation of Scientists (SCFCS)
  • 1996: name change to Standing Committee on Freedom in the Conduct of Science, leaving the acronym SCFCS
  • 1996: Standing Committee on Ethics and Responsibility in Science (SCRES) established
  • 2006: Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS), established as a merger of SCFCS and SCRES, following a strategic ICSU review
  • 2008: publication of the booklet "Freedom, Responsibility and Universality of Science"

See also the short history of CFRS and its predecessor organisations, written by Peter Schindler, a former CFRS Executive Secretary, in 2009.



CFRS Secretariat
c/o Swiss Academy of Sciences SCNAT
Schwarztorstrasse 9
CH-3007 Berne

Tel +41 31 310 40 23
Fax +41 31 310 40 29


by Jacinta Legg

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