International activity

Science is a global endeavour which bridges national boundaries and requires international discussion and collaboration.


The Royal Society has a long history of working internationally, and indeed established the post of Foreign Secretary in 1723, nearly 60 years before the British Government did.

Many of the world’s challenges are global and addressing them requires international collaboration. The Society helps to develop partnerships between UK researchers and  scientists based overseas as well as bring together policy makers and scientists from around the world.


Our policy work aims to provide timely, independent and authoritative advice to policymakers both in the UK and overseas. We use the expertise of international scientists, and tap into networks such as the InterAcademy Panel (IAP), the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC) and the International Council for Science (ICSU) to stimulate discussion, debate and action.

Many of our projects tackle global issue, such as nuclear fuel management, the governance of geoengineering or the changing patterns of human population and consumption. Together with partners we also map the changing landscape of science and technology in emerging scientific nations, for example through the Atlas of Islamic World Science and Innovation project.


We provide a number of grant schemes which foster collaborative links between UK researchers and the best scientists internationally.

The British Council’s Euraxess UK website has more information about opportunities to come to the UK for research, including a searchable database of international funding opportunities.

Since 1985 the Royal Society has funded the South East Asia Rainforest Research Programme (SEARRP), a multi-disciplinary programme involving collaborative research projects by leading British, European and Malaysian scientists.

Capacity building in Africa

Science can be a powerful tool for development. We have a number of ways in which we aim to build scientific capacity in Africa.

International networking

We have a number of ways in which we develop collaborative links between UK and international scientists.

  • Frontiers of Science:  A series of prestigious international meetings for outstanding early career scientists, organised by the Royal Society in conjunction with national academies and scientific organisations around the world.
  • India-UK Scientific Seminars: For mid-career scientists who want to organise a small three-day scientific seminar between groups of scientists from India and the UK.
  • The Sackler Forum: Every year, UK and US scientists work together on topics of worldwide scientific concern, jointly organised by the Royal Society and the National Academy of Sciences.

We are members of the European Academies Science Advisory Council (EASAC), the All European Academies (ALLEA), the IAP (the global network of science academies), the InterAcademy Council (IAC) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), and we support other networks including the Academy for Science for the Developing World (TWAS).

The Royal Society is a member of the UK academies human rights committee, along with the Royal Academy of Engineering, Academy of Medical Science, British Academy and Royal Society of Edinburgh. We also support the International Human Rights Network of Academies and Scholarly Societies and the International Council for Science’s (ICSU)Committee on Freedom and Responsibility in the conduct of Science (CFRS) and as supporters oppose blanket academic boycotts.