Scope & Impact

The world faces many potential crises, and each will require a customized response according to its scope and impact. The ISR will not respond to all crises, but those it does address will be determined using the following two criteria:

Global impact: The crisis type includes events of a transnational scale that could benefit from a global response.

Ability to effect solutions through science: The crisis type is one where scientists can make a difference using key resources that the ISR can help mobilize.

More information can be found on the How We Declare a Crisis page.

The International Science Reserve leadership team conducts detailed research and analysis on what types of crises should fall within the scope of our work. For more specific information see:

More information can be found on the How We Declare a Crisis page.

The structure of the ISR is flexible and able to adapt to needs before, during, and after a complex global crisis. Its role is to augment the capacity of the global community to respond to complex global crises by:

  • Facilitating access to specialized scientific and technical resources to accelerate responses.
  • Conducting scenario planning exercises to increase preparedness and anticipation of impacts.
  • Convening and coordinating scientists from around the world to build institutional memory in crisis management and response.

In the long term, the ISR will increase coordination with institutions and key stakeholders around the world, engaging a “crisis community” which regularly participates in preparedness exercises to better understand the role of science in crisis mitigation, and influence policy regarding the role of science in crisis preparation, response, and recovery.


The unprecedented impact of human activity on the planet is causing more complex, novel, and often transnational crises. As we have seen from COVID-19 and the recent impacts of more intense storms, good preparation and prompt response, free of the burden of conflicting interests and politicization, are crucial to identify the problem quickly and provide solutions for effective response and mitigation. The ISR pre-establishes an empowered network of scientific experts that can be used effectively at the earliest signs of a global crisis.

Existing organizations specialize in a specific type of crisis, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), or specific phases of multiple crises, such as the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination team (UNDAC), which helps the United Nations and governments of disaster-affected countries during the first phase of a sudden-onset emergency.

The value of the ISR is its singular focus on mobilizing scientists to augment existing response organizations as they address complex global crises whenever and wherever they arise. The ISR does not compete with but serves these organizations by providing rapid access to and deployment of scientific resources to address complex crises.

Scientific Community

The International Science Reserve’s community is a borderless network of leading scientists from around the world working together to accelerate research to address complex global crises. More information can be found on the Science Community page.

Complete the Join the Community form to stay updated and connected.

Readiness exercises are well-recognized in emergency management for strengthening individuals, organizations (including scientific advisory groups), and countries’ preparedness and response to major, often rare crises.

Readiness exercises can be discussion-based (e.g., seminars, workshops, tabletop exercises) or operations-based (e.g., drills, functional exercises, and full-scale exercises). ISR readiness exercises will ensure that our scientific community knows what to do to engage with – and utilize the resources of – the ISR in the case of a crisis.