Mission Statement - URSI Keydates - History of URSI - Statutes of URSI - Structure - URSI Leaflet - Downloadable forms
Article 1. Radio science encompasses the knowledge and study of all aspects of electromagnetic fields and waves. The International Union of Radio Science (Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale), a non-governmental and non-profit organisation under the International Council for Science, is responsible for stimulating and co-ordinating, on an international basis, studies, research, applications, scientific exchange, and communication in the fields of radio science. Included within the objectives are the following:
a) to encourage and promote international activity in radio science and its applications, for the benefit of humanity;
b) to encourage the adoption of common methods of measurement, and the intercomparison and standardisation of the measuring instruments used in scientific work;
c) to stimulate and co-ordinate studies of:
- the scientific aspects of telecommunications using electromagnetic waves, guided and unguided;
- the generation, emission, radiation, propagation, reception, and detection of fields and waves, and the processing of the signals embedded in them.
d) to represent radio science to the general public, and to public and private organisations.
Article 2. The Members of the Union are the Committees whose applications for membership have been adopted at an Ordinary General Assembly.
Article 3. A Member Committee is established in a territory by its Academy of Sciences or Research Council, or by a similar institution or association of institutions.
Article 4. The Union can admit to membership a Committee that, in any territory, develops an activity in radio science.
Article 5. Member Committees, within their respective territories, have the same objectives as the Union. They have complete freedom in matters relating to their internal organisation.
Article 6. Each Member Committee appoints a Representative to the Council (See Article 21) and one Official Member to each Commission (See Article 30). The same Official Member can represent a Committee on more than one Commission.
Article 7. Each Member Committee is free to choose the Category in which it will adhere to the Union. The number of units of contribution payable annually to the Union by a Member Committee and the number of votes allocated to it in meetings of the Council are determined by the Category chosen, and are as follows:
The value of the unit of contribution is fixed by the Council.
Article 8. A Member Committee can transfer to a higher Category at the beginning of any financial year. A transfer to a lower Category can be made during an Ordinary General Assembly or during the three-month period after the end of an Assembly. The transfer takes effect from the beginning of the next financial year.
Article 9. Unless the Council decides otherwise, a Member Committee which has not paid its annual contribution for two years is considered to have resigned from the Union. The Committee may, however, apply for Associate Membership.
Article 10. A Member Committee can resign from the Union by giving notice in writing to the Secretary General. In the event of resignation, the Member Committee is liable to pay its annual contribution for the current year.
Article 11. A Member Committee that resigns from the Union, or that is considered as having resigned in accordance with Article 9, loses all rights to the assets of the Union and all voting rights.
Article 12. In the event of the dissolution of the Union, the Council decides on the disposal of the assets of the Union. The assets shall not be distributed among the Members.
Article 13. Associate Membership is reserved, as an option, for a) Committees which are established in accordance with Articles 3, 4 and 5, but are not yet ready for full membership; and b) Committees which, being already Members of the Union, wish to transfer temporarily to Associate Membership for financial reasons. Every Associate Membership will be reviewed at each General Assembly.
Article 14. Associate Member Committees are admitted to the Union at an Ordinary General Assembly.
Article 15. Associate Member Committees are not required to pay an annual contribution to the Union. They have no voting rights in the Council and in the Commissions, and have no rights to the assets of the Union.
Article 16. Each Associate Member Committee appoints one observer to the Council, and one observer to each Commission. The same observer can represent his or her Committee on the Council and on more than one Commission.
Board of Officers
Article 17. The direction of the affairs of the Union and the organisation of its work are the responsibilities of the Board of Officers, which acts in accordance with the resolutions and general guidance of the Council.
Article 18. The Board of Officers comprises the President, the Immediate Past President, four Vice-Presidents and the Secretary General. The President can invite Honorary Presidents to attend meetings of the Board in an advisory capacity.
Article 19. The Board of Officers meets during and between General Assemblies at the request of the President, or at the request of two of the Board’s members.
Article 20. During the interval between General Assemblies, the Board of Officers, acting in the name of the Union, can make decisions relating to urgent matters provided that these decisions do not conflict with the resolutions and general guidance of the Council. Decisions made in this way are subject to review at the next Ordinary General Assembly.
Council, Commissions and Committees
Article 21. The Council comprises the President of the Union and Representatives of Member Committees and Scientific Commissions (Article 26). Each Member Committee that has complied with its statutory obligations appoints one Representative to the Council of the Union. The Scientific Commissions are represented by the Commission Chairs or their designates. A representative of a Member Committee cannot also represent a Scientific Commission. A member of the URSI Board of Officers cannot be appointed as Representative to the Council.
Article 22. The Council meets during General Assemblies of the Union to consider the agenda as referred to in Articles 63-65 or 72. Resolutions of the Council are adopted in the name of the Union.
Article 23. If the Representative of a Member Committee is unable to be present at a meeting of the Council, the Member Committee can appoint a substitute for that meeting. Notice of such a substitution must be given to the President or the Secretary General before the beginning of the meeting.
Article 24. If a Member Committee is unable to send any delegate to a General Assembly, the Committee can submit its vote in writing to the President on any item that appears in the agenda circulated in accordance with Article 65. Such a vote is valid only if it is received before the counting of the votes.
Article 25. The President invites the members of the Board of Officers to attend meetings of the Council in an advisory capacity. He or she may also invite, in the same capacity, Honorary Presidents, Vice-Chairs of Scientific Commissions, Chairs of Scientific Committees, and other interested parties.
Article 26. The achievement of the objectives of the Union within particular parts of the fields of radio science is the responsibility of the Scientific Commissions (also referred to simply as the Commissions), which are established by the Council. Scientific Committees of the Union are established by the Council to deal with matters which are of interest to several Commissions.
Article 27. The functions of a Commission are as follows:
(a) to review progress made in the achievement of the objectives referred to in Article 1;
(b) to arrange for the presentation and discussion of surveys of progress during Ordinary General Assemblies;
(c) to prepare programmes of work, resolutions, and recommendations for submission to the Council, in accordance with Article 29;
(d) to form Working Groups for the study of particular scientific subjects;
(e) to organise, between General Assemblies, scientific symposia and meetings of Working Groups that have been approved by the Board of Officers;
(f) to participate in Council activities.
Article 28. The Commissions meet during Ordinary General Assemblies. In special circumstances and with the approval of the Board of Officers, the Chair of a Commission can convene a Commission meeting at any time.
(a) The opinion of a Commission on any matter relating to the administration of the Union, or having financial implications, is submitted to the Council in the form of a recommendation.
(b) A Commission can adopt resolutions on matters within its terms of reference other than those specified in (a). Such resolutions are submitted to the Council for information.
Article 30. Each Commission comprises a Chair, a Vice-Chair, and the Official Members; one Official Member is appointed by each of the Member Committees.
Article 31. If an Official Member of a Commission is unable to be present at a meeting of the Commission, the Official Member may nominate a member of his or her delegation to represent him or her, or the Official Member may submit his or her vote on any item in writing to the Chair of the Commission. In the latter case, the Official Member’s vote will be valid only if it is received before the counting of the votes.
Article 32. The execution of programmes recommended by the Commissions or the scientific Committees is the responsibility of the Member Committees that agree to participate in them.
Article 33. Each Working Group, formed in accordance with Article 27 (d), is dissolved at the end of the General Assembly following that of its creation. A Working Group that has not completed its task by the date of the General Assembly can be reconstituted by the parent Commission.
Article 34. The Chair and the members of a Working Group are chosen by the Chair of the parent Commission, after consultation with the Official Members, by correspondence if necessary.
Article 35. Each Working Group prepares a report on its work including conclusions and recommendations. The date for the submission of this report is fixed by the Chair of the parent Commission.
Article 36. The Co-ordinating Committee comprises the Chairs of the Commissions and of the Scientific Committees, and the members of the Board of Officers. If a Chair is unable to be present at a meeting of the Co-ordinating Committee, he or she can authorise the Vice-Chair of the Commission to represent the Chair.
Article 37. The Co-ordinating Committee is responsible for:
(a) the co-ordination of the scientific activities of the Commissions, especially where joint action by two or more Commissions is desirable;
(b) the planning of the scientific programme of General Assemblies.
Article 38. The Co-ordinating Committee meets at least one year before each Ordinary General Assembly to define the scientific programme for the Assembly. The President convenes meetings of the Co-ordinating Committee during a General Assembly.
Article 39. The President of the Union presides at meetings of the Board of Officers, the Council, and the Co-ordinating Committee. If the President is absent or unable to preside the immediate Past President presides.
Article 40. The Board of Officers nominates one of the Vice-Presidents as Treasurer of the Union. The Treasurer manages the finances of the Union in accordance with the directives issued by the Council. The Treasurer must delegate to the Secretary General the powers necessary to deal with day-to-day financial matters.
(a) The Secretary General is responsible for the management of the affairs of the Union, and for the organisation of its work under the direction of the Board of Officers. In particular, the Secretary General is responsible for the implementation of Resolutions adopted during General Assemblies, for maintaining contact with the Member Committees, the Associate Member Committees, the Commissions and other organs of the Union, and for the publications of the Union.
(b) The Board is empowered to appoint, upon nomination by the Secretary General, an Assistant Secretary General, who will serve from the date of his or her appointment until the end of the next Ordinary General Assembly. The Secretary General may delegate some of his or her duties to the Assistant Secretary General.
Article 42. All documents that are formally binding on the Union and that have been approved by the Board of Officers shall be signed by two members of the Board, one of whom must be the President or the Secretary General.
Article 43. The Board of Officers can nominate one of its members to act for the Union in legal proceedings.
Article 44. The formal admission of new Member Committees by the Council takes place only at an Ordinary General Assembly. Provisional membership, without voting rights, can be authorised by the Board of Officers from the date of payment of the first annual contribution to the Union.
Article 45. The formal admission of new Associate Member Committees by the Council takes place at an Ordinary General Assembly. Provisional admission to Associate Membership can be authorised by the Board.
Article 46. The Members of the Board of Officers are elected by the Council during an Ordinary General Assembly. Each member holds office from the end of the Assembly at which he or she is elected until the end of the next Ordinary General Assembly.
Article 47. Candidates for membership of the Board of Officers are nominated by Member Committees. A candidate is not eligible for election unless:
(a) either the candidate has been nominated by two or more Committees, or the candidate has been nominated by one Committee and has later been supported by at least one other Committee; and
(b) the candidate has confirmed to the Secretary General that he or she is willing to stand for election.
Article 48. The final list of eligible candidates is prepared in accordance with the following procedure:
(a) Not later than six months before the beginning of an Ordinary General Assembly, the Secretary General invites every Member Committee to nominate one candidate for each of the following offices: President, four Vice-Presidents, and Secretary General.
(b) On the basis of the nominations he or she received not later than five months before the Assembly, the Secretary General sends to the Member Committees two provisional lists showing the names of the candidates and the Committees which nominated them:
List A, consisting of candidates nominated by two or more Committees;
List B, consisting of candidates nominated by one Committee only.
(c) In addition to a contribution to List A, any Committee can support the nomination of one of the candidates in List B for each of the offices mentioned in (a)
(d) The final list of eligible candidates is sent to Member Committees not later than two months before the Assembly.
Article 49. If the Secretary General is not re-elected, the Board of Officers is responsible for making all the necessary arrangements for the transfer of responsibilities from the outgoing to the incoming Secretary General within a period not exceeding six months after the end of the General Assembly.
Article 50. The President can not be elected for a second term, but the Vice-Presidents can be re-elected for at most one second term.
Article 51. A vacancy that occurs in the Board of Officers can be filled by the President after consultation with the Board of Officers and the Member Committees. An Officer appointed in this way holds office until the end of the next Ordinary General Assembly. Election of this officer to the Board can occur even if the Officer replaced was not eligible for re-election.
Article 52. The Council can confer the title of Honorary President on not more than five people who have been former members of the Board of Officers or former Chairs of Commissions, and who have made notable contributions to the achievement of the objectives of the Union.
Article 53. The Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Commissions are elected by the Council on the recommendation of the respective Commissions. Each Chair assumes his or her responsibilities at the end of the Assembly at which he or she is elected, and serves until the end of the next Ordinary General Assembly.
Article 54. A Chair of a Commission who is also an Official Member for the same Commission must nominate another member of his or her Delegation to act as Official Member during a General Assembly.
Article 55. Each Commission may elect one French-speaking and one English-speaking Secretary from the delegates present at a General Assembly.
Article 56. The Chairs of the Scientific Committees are elected by the Council on the recommendation of the Board of Officers.
Article 57. The representatives of the Union to other international bodies are elected by the Council on the recommendation of the Board of Officers.
Extraordinary General Assembly
Article 70. In special circumstances and with the approval of the majority of the votes of the Member Committees, the President can convene an Extraordinary General Assembly. He or she must do so on receipt of a request supported by at least one-third of the votes of all Member Committees.
Article 71. At an Extraordinary General Assembly, there are meetings of the Council as defined in Article 21, to which the President can invite members of the Board of Officers, Honorary Presidents, and other interested parties in an advisory capacity.
Article 72. The agenda, the date, and the place of an Extraordinary General Assembly are communicated to the Member Committees and Associate Member Committees by the Secretary General not less than three months before the beginning of the Assembly.
Ordinary General Assembly
Article 58. The Union holds an Ordinary General Assembly, normally at intervals of three years. At each Ordinary Assembly there are:
(a) Meetings of the Council, the Co-ordinating Committee, and the Board of Officers;
(b) Business meetings of the Commissions;
(c) Plenary meetings attended by all Delegates appointed by Member Committees and Associate Member Committees, and Observers appointed by the Board;
(d) Scientific meetings of the Commissions, and Symposia;
(e) Meetings of Working Groups established by the Commissions.
Article 59. The Ordinary General Assembly is attended by:
(a) Members of the Board of Officers;
(b) Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Commissions;
(c) Chairs of Scientific Committees;
(d) Delegations of Member Committees, each of which comprises the Council Representative, Official Members of Commissions, and ordinary delegates;
(e) Delegations of Associate Member Committees, each of which comprises the Observer to the Council, Observers to the Commissions, and delegates;
(f) Honorary and Past Presidents of the Union; and
(g) Representatives invited in accordance with Article 61.
Article 60. Scientific meetings of Commissions, and Symposia, are open to all scientists (including students) who have registered as participants of the General Assembly. The total number of registrants may be restricted by the host Committee so that the meeting can be accommodated within the facilities available.
Article 61. The President of the Union can invite representatives nominated by international organisations to attend the General Assembly as observers.
Article 62. The date and place of the General Assembly are communicated by the Secretary General to Member Committees and Associate Member Committees not less that six months before the beginning of the Assembly.
Article 63. The agenda for the meetings of the Council are based on the proposals submitted by the Member Committees, the Board of Officers, the Co-ordinating Committee, the Scientific Commissions and Committees of the Union.
Article 64. Items for inclusion in the agenda for the meetings of the Council must be received by the Secretary General not later than four months before the beginning of the General Assembly. Items received after this date can be added to the agenda only upon approval by at least half of the votes of those present at the meeting.
Article 65. The Secretary General prepares the agenda for the meetings of the Council, and communicates them to the Member Committees and Associate Member Committees not less than three months before the beginning of the Assembly.
Article 66. For each Ordinary General Assembly, the Secretary General prepares:
(a) for the Council, a detailed report on the affairs of the Union, including the accounts of income and expenditures since the previous Ordinary General Assembly, and the budgetary estimates for the three years following the Assembly;
(b) for all Delegates, a general report on the activities of the Union since the previous Ordinary General Assembly.
Article 67. The Council has full power to make decisions regarding any activity of the Union relating to the objectives defined in Article 1.
In particular, it has the following powers and obligations:
(a) to review the direction of the affairs of the Union by the Board of Officers since the previous Ordinary General Assembly;
(b) to elect:
(c) to create or abolish Commissions and Scientific Committees, and to decide the titles and the terms of reference of these bodies;
(d) to consider and, if thought fit, to approve programmes of work, resolutions, and recommendations submitted by the Commissions and Scientific
(e) on the proposal of the Board of Officers, to examine and, if thought fit, to accept applications for membership of the Union;
(f) on the proposal of the Board of Officers, to examine and, if thought fit, to accept applications for Associate Membership of the Union;
(g) to decide the year and place of up to the limit of the next two Ordinary General Assemblies;
(h) to appoint a Standing Finance Committee, charged with:
(i) to approve the accounts and the budget, on the proposal of the Finance Committee, and to consider recommendations made by this Committee;
(j) to decide the unit of contribution defined in Article 7;
(k) to make rules for the conduct of the work of the General Assembly;
(l) on the proposal of the Board of Officers, to approve proposed amendments to the Statutes;
(m) to take action on any other matter affecting the activities of the Union.
Article 68. Resolutions adopted by the Council and the Commissions during a General Assembly are submitted to the closing plenary meeting of all delegates and observers, for information only.
Article 69. In the absence of any relevant provisions in the Statutes, or in extraordinary circumstances, the Council is authorised to make decisions on all matters relating to the activities of the Union. These decisions must not contain provisions contrary to the terms of the Statutes.
Finances and more
(a) In meetings of the Council, only the Representatives of Member Committees and Scientific Commissions can vote.
(b) The number of votes allocated to each Member Committee Representative is determined by the Category of his or her Committee, in accordance with the schedule given in Article 7.
(c) Each Commission has two votes. The Scientific Commissions participate in all votes except the election of the Board, the status of Members, the value of the unit of contribution and other matters affecting the dues. In no circumstance shall the total of the votes of the Scientific Commissions be equal to or greater than the total of the votes of the Member Committees.
(d) Resolutions of the Council are adopted by a simple majority of votes, with the exception of those relating to modifications of the Statutes, for which a two-thirds majority is required.
(e) In meetings of Commissions, each Official Member present, or representative thereof in accordance with Article 31, has one vote.
(f) In meetings of the Board of Officers, the Co-ordinating Committee and Committees, each member present has one vote. Any member of the Board of Officers receiving remuneration for services to the Union has no vote.
(g) In meetings of the Board of Officers, the Council, the Co-ordinating Committee, Commissions, and Committees, decisions are based on the affirmative and negative votes of those present and taking part in the vote. In the case of equal numbers of affirmative and negative votes, the Chair of the meeting decides. Votes submitted in writing in accordance with Arts. 24 and 31 are admissible only in meetings of the Council and of the Commissions.
Article 74. In meetings of the Board of Officers and of the Council, half the membership constitutes a quorum. In meetings of the Co-ordinating Committee, half the members of the Board and the representatives of half the number of the Commissions constitute a quorum.
Article 75. If the members present at a meeting of the Council do not constitute a quorum, the President can convene an extraordinary meeting timed to begin not less than 24 hours later. Under these circumstances, twelve members shall constitute a quorum, Article 74 notwithstanding.
Article 76. The income of the Union is derived from:
(a) annual contributions received from Member Committees in accordance with Article 7;
(b) revenue from an Ordinary General Assembly, and from symposia of the Commissions in which the Union has a financial interest.
(c) donations and grants made by Member Committees;
(d) subventions, donations, grants, levies, and legacies accepted by the Board of Officers on behalf of the Union, in accordance with Article 20.
Article 77. Funds derived from donations and grants are used in accordance with the wishes expressed by the donors. All other funds are used to meet the expenses of the Union incurred in accordance with its objectives.
Article 78. The ordinary expenses of the Union may include:
(a) expenses of an Ordinary General Assembly
(b) allocations to the Commissions in support of their scientific objectives.
(c) expenses relating to travel of the Officers of the Board, Chairs and Vice-Chairs of Commissions, and members of the Secretariat, when on business of the Union;
(d) the cost of editing and printing the publications of the Union;
(e) administrative expenses;
(f) other expenses authorised by the Council.
Article 79. The financial year of the Union begins on 1 January and ends on 31 December.
Article 80. The official languages of the Union are French and English. All administrative documents are issued in both languages.
Article 81. In any question relating to the interpretation of these statutes, the French text is regarded as authoritative.