Governance of the IAMC

Jump to sections on IAMC governance:

There are three elements to the organizational structure of the IAMC. The Scientific Steering Committee (SSC) is the principal governing body of the IAMC and the principal point of contact for the IAMC. The SSC organizes and oversees the work of the IAMC. Most of the work of the IAMC is implemented through Scientific Working Groups (SWGs) that draw on IAMC members. The SSC will also create the Advisory Council, a consultative body, which provides advice and counsel to the IAMC.

The Scientific Steering Committee

View the current members of the Scientific Steering Committee.

Although most of the work of the IAMC will be carried out through SWGs, the SSC provides the leadership for the IAMC and is ultimately responsible for the governance and all of the work of the IAMC. In specific, the responsibilities of the SSC include:

  • Identify potential research priorities and opportunities based on input from IAMC member organizations and the IAMC Advisory Council.
  • Identify issues to be addressed by SWGs and form, oversee, approve, and communicate work by SWGs;
  • Review and recommend activities brought to it by IAMC member organizations and potential partner organizations;
  • Serve as a point of contact of other external bodies, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
  • Secure and shepherd the resources necessary to successful conduct the business of the IAMC.
  • Establish an IAMC Secretariat to help with administrative tasks.

The SSC takes decisions by consensus.

Membership in the Scientific Steering Committee: The SSC is a small group that insures that work gets done through SWGs. There are two types of Scientific Steering Committee members: Sustaining members and At-Large members. There is no difference in the responsibilities and authorities vested in Sustaining and At-large members. Membership in the SSC is held at the institutional level, with points of contact identified for each member organization.

Sustaining Members of the IAMC are organizations that have provided leadership to the integrated assessment modeling community over many years, have a long history of influential publications in the area of integrated assessment modeling and research, and which develop and maintain extensive, integrated, and comprehensive IAMs. To be a Sustaining member of the SSC requires that the organization participate actively in SWGs.

The IAM community is home to a wide range of organizations with sub disciplinary expertise, such as energy economic modelers, smaller integrated assessment modeling groups or modelers with particularly important regional foci. At large members represent these key contributors to IAM development that are not otherwise represented in the Sustaining Membership.

Selection and Governance of the Scientific Steering Committee: Membership in the SSC is determined every three years. Membership is selected in a three-step process that begins with the Sustaining members.

Selection of the Sustaining members for the Scientific Steering Committee: The Sustaining members of the SSC are selected by the present Sustaining members of the SSC. Every existing Sustaining member is up for re-election every three years. The process begins with the existing Sustaining members.

The SSC will establish a process by which voting can be done through a secret ballot and outside of a SSC meeting process. Every existing Sustaining member votes as to whether or not every other existing Sustaining member continues to meet the criteria of a Sustaining member. This process is intended to account for potential changes that can occur over time in IAM research organizations. Members continue to be regarded as Sustaining members if two-thirds of the other Sustaining members vote for their retention.

Retained members meet to discuss additional teams that might be recognized as Sustaining members and invited to become Sustaining members of the SSC. Voting to add new candidate Sustaining members proceeds in the same way as voting to retain existing Sustaining members. Results of the balloting are reported to the Secretariat and the retained Sustaining members of the SSC.

There are two ways that at-large members are brought into the SSC.

Election of the At-Large IAMC members to the Scientific Steering Committee: All of the IAMC members that are not on the SSC are polled for their choice of At-Large SSC members. The three organizations with the highest number of ballots become At-Large SSC members.

Appointment of At-Large IAMC members to the Scientific Steering Committee: The retained Sustaining members of the SSC plus the newly elected At-large members of the SSC meet and appoint three of the remaining IAMC members for membership in the SSC.

Chairman of the Scientific Steering Committee: The fully constituted SSC will appoint a chairperson from among the full SSC membership, who is charged with ensuring that the SSC meets as necessary to execute the business of the IAMC and at least annually.

Continued membership on the SSC is subject to review at any time.

Scientific Working Groups

View the current scientific working groups.

Most of the work of the IAMC will be carried out through Scientific Working Groups (SWGs). SWGs bring together a subset of members of the IAMC, and possibly external participants, to carry out activities that have one or more of the following characteristics:

  • are of benefit to the IAM community as a whole
  • engage with other research communities on behalf of the IAMC
  • advance areas of research that are of high priority for the IAMC
  • support research relevant to the IAM community through the development of data, protocols, or tools


Any IAMC member may propose an SWG by submitting a proposal to the SSC. The proposal should contain a description of

  • the goals of working group
  • planned activities and how these would be carried out
  • how the group would meet the criteria for an SWG listed above
  • the anticipated time period over which goals would be achieved
  • the proposed chairs of the group and planned participants

The SSC will review and vote on proposals. Approval requires a 2/3 vote of the full SSC. A decision is not final until all members of the SSC have had the opportunity to vote. SSC members not present at the time of the vote will have two weeks to cast their votes. After that time, the decision will be reached based on votes received.


Any IAMC member can sign up to participate in a working group. In addition, co-chairs may invite participants from outside the IAMC. Working group chairs should announce planned activities and invite participation via the IAMC mailing list so that all IAMC members have the opportunity to join. IAMC annual meetings provide another opportunity to communicate working group activities and solicit participants.

In exceptional circumstances SWG co-chairs can make a request to the SSC that a participant’s membership in the group be revoked.

Governance and duties

Working groups should typically have more than one chair in order to share duties and/or provide expertise in additional areas relevant to the group’s activities. At least one chair person should be from an institution that is represented on the SSC.

Co-chair responsibilities include:

  • ensuring that all members of the IAMC have the opportunity to join the SWG
  • coordinating SWG activities
  • periodically updating the full IAMC membership on its activities via the IAM mailing list
  • updating the SSC on progress periodically, at least once per year
  • present the activities and achievements of the SWG at the IAMC annual meeting

The Advisory Council

The Advisory Council is a body whose job is to provide advice and counsel for the SSC. For example, the SSC may solicit the opinions of the Advisory Council on potential research priorities. Members of the Advisory Council are drawn from outside of the IAMC membership.

The Advisory Council helps the IAMC and the SSC to identify and coordinate potential resources to help the IAMC fulfill its mission.

The Advisory Council is also a potential source of information about activities in other research communities, such as the climate modeling community or the impacts research community, that are relevant to IAMC activities.

The Advisory Council also exists to assist the SSC in coordinating with and communicating results to other research communities.

The initial set of Advisory Council members will be appointed by the SSC of the IAMC. One member will be designated the Advisory Council Chairperson, who will serve as the point of contact for the SSC. The term of a membership will be 3 years. Membership is renewable.


Partnerships and Collaborations

The IAMC will also work with and through other organizations, including both member organizations and external organizations. In addition to communications and coordination, the SSC is the point of contact for partnerships and collaborations.

Member organizations may propose to undertake activities that benefit the community and the IAMC may choose to recommend those activities to its members, or the AIM team may choose to undertake a coordinated exercise consistent with the broader objectives of the community. Or, alternatively, the IAMC may wish to encourage one of its members to undertake activities that further critical research goals.

The IAMC may also team with other organizations (e.g. AIMES) to undertake programs of mutual interest.

Finally, the IAMC may also work with external organizations such as for example, the IPCC.