Taking care of soils since 1924

How IUSS works

The IUSS is based on two pillars:

  • it is a union of national societies or academies (the Full members)
  • it is an organization of soil scientists (individual members).

The main contribution of Full Members to the society’s activities is through the Council, while the individual members participate in the events and activities organized by the IUSS and through the activities of the IUSS Divisions, Commissions and Working groups that they join, and the organizational bodies where they serve.

The administrative hierarchy of the IUSS is broadly as follows

  1. An individual soil scientist is a member of Full Member (normally a National Soil Science Society, but in some cases the Full Member is a National Academy). Where individuals are members of more than one National Society they must indicate the Full Member within which they wish to vote on matters relating to IUSS.
  2. Full Members are the National Soil Science Societies (or equivalent) or National Academy Members. It is the responsibility of Full Members to undertake elections amongst their membership for the positions of President Elect and Division and Commission Chairs and the nomination of potential candidates to be President Elect and Honorary Members of IUSS.
  3. The Council is the supreme body of the IUSS, and carries general responsibility for the efficient functioning and the success of the IUSS. The Council consists of the Executive Committee, one accredited representative from each Full Member, and three elected representatives of the Honorary Members.
  4. Full Members are the national representatives on the Council of IUSS and must nominate an individual to be their representative on Council and notify the Secretariat of their name. Council meets at the World Congress of Soil Science and at the Inter-Congress Meeting and electronically in intervening years. Council Members will vote on changes to Statues and Bye-Laws and for the selection of Honorary Members consider actions by the Executive Committee and where appropriate approve those actions and suggest candidates for the membership of Standing Committees.
  5. In addition to the representatives of Full Members, Council Membership consists of three Honorary Members (elected by the Honorary Members) and the members of the Executive Committee.
  6. Votes of Council are (from 2022) undertaken electronically via a secure system.
  7. The Executive Committee membership is: The President, The President-Elect, the Past President, Vice-President (Congress), the Four Divisional Chairs, Standing Committee Chairs (Budget and Finance, Structure and Statutes; Prizes and Awards; Presidential Elections), the Treasurer and Secretary (non-voting).
  8. The Executive Committee operates in a manner similar to the Board of Directors of a Public Company dealing with day-to-day decisions. Major decisions (e.g. changes to Statutes and Bye-Laws) are passed to Council for voting, either at the Congress or Inter-Congress meetings or by electronic voting in intervening periods.
  9. The legal representative of the IUSS is Brian L. Anderson and the registered office is deWitt LLP in Madison, Wisconsin (USA). The legal representative is mainly responsible for tax issues of the IUSS in the USA. The responsibility for the accounts of the society and the provision of the annual audit lies with the board of finances and the treasurer.
  10. The operational headquarter of the IUSS is placed by the professional address of the Secretariat.

Science in IUSS

  • The Strategic Plan provides the broad framework for the ongoing and future developments of IUSS.The IUSS President and the President’s Committee are responsible for drafting the IUSS Strategic Plan. The Strategic Plan shall be refreshed at least every four years; the President will determine if a more frequent review is required based on the progress made against objectives and the changing landscape in which IUSS and its members are working. The Strategic Plan will be presented to the Executive Committee for discussion, enrichment and final drafting by consensus. The Strategic Plan must be approved by the Executive Committee by a simple majority; it will then be presented to the Council for its approval at their meeting. The Strategic Plan forms a major part of the IUSS Council Policy.
  • The IUSS President and the President’s Committee are responsible for drafting the Implementation Plan. The Implementation Plan must be presented to the E. C. for discussion and contributions for its improvement to get the final document which must be approved by the Executive Committee by a simple majority. This Implementation Plan will then be presented to the Council for its approval at their meeting.
  • The implementation of the Strategic Plan and the scientific activity of IUSS are undertaken through the Divisions, Commissions and Working Groups. There are Four Divisions, each with a number of 5-6 Commissions each and a variable number of Working Groups.
  • Working Groups are part of one or more Division(s)/Commissions. Members with common interests in topics not specifically addressed by Divisions or Commissions may propose the establishment of a Working Group. The Working Group will normally exist for a short period of time as long as it maintains an active program of scientific work, but normally will not exist beyond 8 years.
  • Divisional Officers – Each Division has a Chair elected in a ballot and two Vice-Chairs nominated by the next host of the World Congress.
  • Commission Officers – Each Commission has a Chair and Vice-Chair elected in a ballot.
  • Each Division is responsible, through the Divisional Nominating Committee, with drawing up a list of candidates for Division and Commission Officers and submit this list to the Electoral Committee.
  • Voting for Division and Commission Officers – The Division Chairs and Commission Chairs and Vice-Chairs are elected in a vote by individuals organised and managed by Full Members. The Full Member returns to the Secretariat the name of the individual receiving most votes for each position in their nationally organised ballot.
  • The recently established Research Forum aims to identify emerging scientific themes; providing a cross-cutting commentary of the Strategic Plan; identification of cross-cutting issues of the Divisions; communication of key (research) findings done by the Commissions and Working Groups to the scientific community.