What we do


We are committed to leading, coordinating, facilitating, conducting, and sharing science that advances and shapes understanding of marine ecosystems and provides evidence and solutions to support conservation and management.

​Scientists contribute to ICES in many ways. Most science is led and conducted by approximately 150 Expert Groups. These groups, which attract more than 1500 individual scientists from 350 institutions annually, are often described as “the engine of ICES”. The diversity of nations and institutions represented in expert groups encourages innovation, increases the credibility and legitimacy of our science, and adds value to projects and national programs. 

The science conducted by expert groups, and by ICES community more widely, spans seven interrelated topics: ecosystem science, impacts of human activities, observation and exploration, emerging techniques and technologies, seafood production, conservation and management science, and sea and society. These topics are described in our science plan. The scientific work of the expert groups and ICES more widely is facilitated and supported by a Data Centre and professionals in ICES Secretariat.

Some scientists in ICES community work at the frontiers of knowledge, making discoveries, developing new technologies, and shaping the future marine science agenda. Others work collectively on more mature science topics, generating thorough, reproducible, and transparent advances through credible, salient and legitimate processes that increase real-world impact. Many scientists share their knowledge through ICES publications, conferences and training courses, and also contribute the evidence that underpins ICES advice. Thus there are many opportunities to get involved in ICES work.

ICES scientists collaborate with regional and global partners​​, extending the reach of our science into the Mediterranean, Black Sea, Arctic, North Pacific Ocean and globally. Partnerships bring mutual benefits, by strengthening the contribution of regional expertise to larger-scale and global processes. ICES often engages with partners to meet joint scientific goals; by developing joint expert groups, co-sponsoring conferences and conference sessions, and contributing to cooperative overviews and assessments of the state and uses of the marine environment.

The Science Committee (SCICOM) guides work on all aspects of marine science in ICES, while the Advisory Committee (ACOM) oversees the application of science in advice on the state and sustainable use of the seas and oceans. Steering groups facilitate interactions between these committees and the expert groups and strengthen coordination of ICES scientific work. 

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International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) · Conseil International pour l'Exploration de la Mer (CIEM)
ICES Secretariat · H. C. Andersens Boulevard 44-46, DK 1553 Copenhagen V, Denmark · Tel: +45 3338 6700 · Fax: +45 3393 4215 · info@ices.dk
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