The International Science Reserve is building an operating model to support scientists as they work to solve or mitigate global crises across three stages: preparation, response, and recovery.

The Three Stages of the ISR Crisis Response Model

Preparation & the Importance of Readiness Exercises


A fundamental goal of the International Science Reserve is to prepare communities of science experts and science resource providers to work together during a global crisis such as the next pandemic, a big cyber-attack, or climate-related disasters. Readiness exercises are a key part of this preparation, giving key stakeholders and science experts a chance to consider different kinds of crises and prepare an appropriately-resourced and effective scientific response.

Why We Conduct Readiness Exercises

Developing crisis scenarios is a critical initial step in the ISR’s crisis preparedness process. Every readiness exercise has real-world crisis scenarios that were created in consultation with subject matter experts. These readiness exercises have several objectives, including: 

  • To prepare scientists to rapidly respond to crises by giving scientists an opportunity to develop their research ideas and get comfortable with ISR’s processes without the urgency of an actual crisis.
  • To build a sense of community within the ISR between science and policy experts, so that the crisis community can be more effectively mobilized in the event of a crisis. 
  • To surface learnings to help improve the ISR in the event of a declared active crisis. Specifically, to allow for key stakeholders in the crisis community to better understand how different types of resources will need to be deployed in future crises. 
  • To produce recommendations to share publicly that contribute to crisis preparation and increase scientific understanding of anticipated impacts from crises across the world.

Types of Readiness Exercises

The ISR engages with crisis preparation experts and the science community to continually refine its approach. We conduct several types of readiness exercises, such as: 

  • Concept Proposal Matching Exercises: The ISR declares a simulated crisis and invites scientists to submit online conceptual proposals for research that would address a crisis scenario, along with a request for resources that would help them accomplish their research. A panel of experts reviews the proposals to assess their quality, viability, and credibility. This simulates the review process that would take place in a real (declared) crisis. Reviewers also collectively identify gaps in existing procedures and resources, and develop guidance for improvements. These exercises help scientists, ISR Members, and other stakeholders identify opportunities and challenges and practice their responses, so that they may be fully prepared when a crisis happens. 
  • Focused Expert Exercises: These exercises are based on the same crisis scenarios as the concept proposal matching exercises, but bring together small groups of experts to focus on specific aspects of the scenario response, such as access to resources, engagement with stakeholders, or mechanisms for turning the results of ISR projects into actions. For example, these small group exercises may identify specific obstacles to scientists accessing available resources, predict new resource needs, or propose different forms of engaging the scientific community. Other group exercises may focus on evaluating and strengthening how ISR resource proposals will result in better outcomes for the people most affected by the simulated crisis, or longer-term impacts on climate change or other global threats. These facilitated sessions not only guide the ISR itself and the scenario crisis but also help build collective knowledge of the role of science during a time of crisis.



During the response phase, scientists submit proposals to help mitigate a declared crisis at hand and the ISR connects them to resources to accelerate their work. 



In the recovery phase, we continue to share knowledge resulting from the accepted proposals. 

What We Do

Explore the International Science Reserve’s mission and values, and read an overview of what we aim to achieve.

How We Declare a Crisis

See how ISR leadership conducts detailed research and analysis on what types of crises fall within the scope of our work.