A History of the International Biological Programme (1964 – 1974) call for symposium

ESHS 11th Conference, Barcelona 4-7, September 2024
A History of the International Biological Programme (1964 – 1974)
call for symposium.

Organisers: Mauro Capocci, University of Pisa; Daniele Cozzoli, Pompeu Fabra University; Fabio De Sio, Universitätklinikum Düsseldorf

Contact: mauro.capocci@unipi.it

This symposium invites scholars to think over the history of the IBP (International Biological Programme), which was carried out between 1964 and 1974. The organisers aim to use the workshop to prepare a book proposal on the history of the IBP to be submitted to a major international publishing house.
The IBP originated from discussions between Sir Rudolph Peters, president of ICSU (International Council of Scientific Unions), Giuseppe Montalenti, president of IUBS (International Union of Biological Sciences) and C. H. Waddington, who succeeded to Montalenti as President of the IUBS. After the success of the IGY in 1959 they aimed to set up an analogous programme for biological sciences. Although there were different aims and visions beyond the IBP, it was finally established that its aim was to study “the biological basis of productivity and human welfare,” therefore encompassing disciplines and fields of study which had been separated hitherto.
The IBP studied how the biosphere “can be ‘harnessed’ by attempting to discover the biological bases of productivity and human welfare.” Within the IBP 7 programmes were established: Conservation of Terrestrial Communities (CT); Human Adaptability (HA); Productivity of Freshwater Communities (PF); Productivity of Marine Communities (PM); Production Processes (PP); Productivity of Terrestrial Communities (PT); Use and Management of Biological Resources (UM). In 1965 two more programmes were added: Environmental Physiology (EP); Systematics & Biogeography (SB). It was also created an International Information Centre for the Ecology of Small Mammals in Warsaw at the Institute of Ecology of the Polish Academy of Sciences.
To disseminate results and information two publications were set up: IBP News, a quarterly publication in English and Biosphere, a four-page journal in French and English. The project should last until 1972 but was extended until 1974.
It was planned a planning phase from 1964 to June 1967 and an operational phase from June 1967 to 1972.
We invite scholars to send an abstract of max 250 words along with a short bio of 50 words by 15 December 2023 to mauro.capocci@unipi.it on any aspect of the history of IBP. Proposal may concern one of the projects developed within the framework of the IBP, an area of research, the contribution of a national representative or of individuals.
We are particularly interested in proposals addressing the following topics:

– the relations between the IBP and other initiatives in the field of human ecology and environment;
– the role the Soviet Union played in orienting the IBP’s aims towards human welfare;
– the tensions between the different aims and perspectives within the IBP initiative
– the relations agriculture/fishery within the IBP;
– the IBP, the European Integration process and the scientific relations between East and West Europe;
– the role IBP played in transforming disciplinary boundaries. Indeed, the IBP meetings were often in-between symposia and technical meetings, producing; handbooks and technical reports, which played a part in cross-disciplinary dialogue;
– how IBP modified national research agendas. Certain countries, like the Scandinavian countries and a number of East African countries (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania) formed federations within the IBP;
– data centres of IBP.

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