Basic Modes of Operation and Working Tools

ISSI’s operation mode is fivefold: International Teams, multi- and interdisciplinary Workshops, Working Groups, Visiting Scientists and Forums are the working tools of ISSI.

International Teams

International Teams are composed of about 10-15 (not less than 3) scientists from different laboratories, nationalities and expertise. They hold a series of two to three one-week meetings over a period of 12 to 18 months. The “raison d”être” of Teams is to carry out a research project leading to publications in scientific journals. The activity is directed and organized by a team leader who is also the initiator of the proposal to ISSI. Though in close contact with the scientific staff of the Institute, teams are largely autonomous in the execution of their project. Teams are set up in response to an annual call by ISSI. Proposals are evaluated and prioritized by the Science Committee. Over the past years the number of accepted Teams are about 30 per year.



Workshops are selected by the ISSI Directors in consultation with the Science Committee and the Science Community. Up to 50 invited scientists meet to exchanging their views on a scientific theme, typically during a week’s duration. Workshops always lead to a volume of the Space Science Series of ISSI (SSSI) and in parallel as issues in the journal Space Science Reviews or Survey in Geophysics. Up to four multi- and interdisciplinary Workshops are organized per year. 


Working Groups 

Working Groups are set up by the ISSI Directorate for specific tasks, often also of a technical nature. The results of the Working Groups activities are published as volumes of ISSI Scientific Report Series (SR) or in the scientific literature.



Forums are informal and free-ranging debates among some fifteen to twenty-five high-level participants on open questions of a scientific nature or on science policy matters. Forums do not necessarily lead to formal recommendations or decisions. They are generally held once a year at ISSI for 2–3 days.


Visiting Scientists

Visiting Scientists follow ISSI’s invitation or apply to the Directorate for periods of varying duration to pursue research and perform scientific tasks of relevance to ISSI’s agenda. The financial support for the invited scientists covers the local accommodation expenses and a per diem while in Bern.

Furthermore, ISSI supports Early Career Scientists (2 years before or after the Ph.D. degree) active in any space or Earth science discipline. The aim is to offer to these young scientists the possibility to have a direct contact with international scientists and to be involved with working in multidisciplinary research.

The Johannes Geiss Fellowship (JGF) is established to attract to ISSI – for limited duration visits – international scientists of stature, who can make demonstrable contributions to the ISSI mission and increase ISSI’s stature by their presence and by doing so will honor Johannes Geiss for his founding of ISSI and his contributions to ISSI, and for his many contributions to a broad range of space science disciplines.


How to use ISSI Tools

International Teams: A call for proposals is released every year in January. These proposals are evaluated and selected by the ISSI Science Committee.

Workshops, Working Groups, and Forums: There is no annual call due to the relatively small number of such events to ISSI can organize every year. The scientific community can suggest at any time future Workshops, Working Groups, and Forums by submitting a summary of maximum one page, explaining the proposal topic, the rationale to organize the event at ISSI and the list of proposers. The ISSI Science Committee will evaluate these suggestions and the ISSI Directorate will take a final decision.