COSPAR Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Coordination Officer (ICO)

Mary Snitch (USA), 2022 – 2026
(mary.snitch – at –

The COSPAR Strategic Action Plan 2019-2023 presented a call to action to define a roadmap to achieve Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) across the entire organization and its membership to enhance corresponding work.


As a first step to implementation, in the spring of 2022 COSPAR approved the appointment of the first IDEA Coordination Officer (ICO), reporting to the President and Bureau in a 4-year term to 2026. Ms. Mary Snitch was appointed by President Len Fisk to serve as the very first ICO in COSPAR.

The IDEA plan encompasses a comprehensive and forward-looking definition of diversity to drive growth and impact for COSPAR constituents well into the future. The aim is to develop a stronger culture of diversity and inclusion extending to COSPAR Assemblies and Symposia, Scientific Commissions and Panels, Honors and Awards, and COSPAR Governance. The IDEA initiative is envisioned to attract degreed scientists and general science enthusiasts from all economic sectors, to include diversity of gender, age, race and ethnicity and chosen academic fields. With IDEA principles being integrated into all aspects of COSPAR–events, governance, member recognition– the organization will be recognized as a global voice in welcoming the talent entering the field every year, where they will see themselves contributing to an environment that embraces those principles. A culture of IDEA begins within our own organizations, but it must also advance across the entire science and space community.

COSPAR is regarded around the world as a model for pushing the intellectual envelope on space research. Its membership and Associates represent the most highly esteemed scientists and scientific institutions and academies in the world. Since 1958, COSPAR has promoted international scientific research in space, with emphasis on the exchange of opinions and collaboration open to all scientists, for the issues affecting space research. A culture of diversity and inclusion will reinforce these achievements. IDEA will drive change, evolution and transformation for the organization with a broadly diverse and growing membership of new participants from industry, government, and academia. It will invite the best and brightest people, from young professionals to retirees, to become involved in the work and mission of COSPAR and to be part of its impact on the international scientific agenda and contribute to the scientific discourse.

At the 44th Scientific Assembly in Athens, GR (16-24 July 2022), an important workshop took place, “Enriching Scientific Discovery through Inclusiveness, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility – IDEA for Today and Tomorrow”.  Recognized experts who have devoted their life’s work to advocating for diversity and inclusion shared their perspectives,  discussing the critical imperative to cultivate diversity, and the way in which COSPAR can lead these efforts in the global scientific community.

Now the work of the Task Group on the IDEA Initiative begins. A first in-person meeting took place during the Scientific Assembly and we are proceeding to develop an IDEA Mission Statement and Strategic Recommendations for incorporating IDEA with the mission and goals of COSPAR. The Strategy and Implementation will be presented at the next scheduled COSPAR Council. If you are interested in knowing more about IDEA or joining the Task Group, we welcome you.