The International Carbohydrate Organization Constitution

Article I: Name
Article II: Purpose
Article III: Membership
Article IV: Observers
Article V: Officer
Article VI: Activities
Article VII: Meeting
Article VIII: Voting
Article IX: Amendment


The name of this organization shall be The International Carbohydrate Organization (hereinafter referred to as ICO).


This organization is founded to encourage research, communication, and education in glycoscience. Specifically ICO will

  1. Ensure that International Carbohydrate Symposia (hereinafter referred to as ICS) are held in a continuing, regular, and orderly manner.
  2. Provide for selection of the recipient of the Roy L. Whistler International Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry and presentation of the
    award in a continuing, regular, and orderly manner.
  3. Provide for selection of the recipient of the ICO Young Researcher Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry and presentation of the award in a continuing, regular, and orderly manner at the immediately following International Carbohydrate Symposium.
  4. Encourage summer schools and other courses teaching any aspect of glycoscience (without any financial obligations).
  5. Promote equality, diversity and inclusivity in all ICO activities.

ARTICLE III: Membership

A. Voting Members (National Representatives)

ICO shall determine when a country has sufficient activity in carbohydrate research for representation. When it is determined that a country has sufficient active carbohydrate research, an appropriate national organization in the country will be invited to name a National Representative to represent it as a voting member of ICO.

The responsible body naming the National Representative shall determine the method of choosing the National Representative and the term of office.

There shall be written documentation concerning the designation of the National Representative, the method of selection, and the term of office from each organization naming a representative.

A proxy representative may represent the National Representative and the carbohydrate scientists of his/her country if he/she is unable to attend an ICO meeting. Such a proxy representative shall have full voting rights. The method of designating a proxy representative shall be determined by the body designating the National Representative.

If a country fails to be represented at two consecutive ICO meetings, the Secretary shall ask the appropriate national body if it wishes to continue to be represented and ask for a response by a set date. Any country either responding negatively or failing to respond by the prescribed date will no longer be entitled to a national Representative, but could be invited to rejoin ICO at a later date.

When a National Representative retires from his/her professional position, he/she shall inform the Secretary immediately. In normal practice the out-going representative should assist in the process of nomination of a new representative for their nation. The new representative must be endorsed by the national body. In the absence of the outgoing representative facilitating the appointment of a new representative, the Secretary shall write the appropriate national body suggesting that a new representative be selected.

B. Non-voting Members

Past-presidents who are no longer National Representatives shall be members with voice, but without vote.

Chairs of the current and the next following ICS, if not National Representatives, shall be co-opted as non-voting members and invited by the Secretary to attend the ICO meeting.

ARTICLE IV: Observers

The President may invite persons to attend a specific ICO meeting as observers for special reasons.

ARTICLE V: Officers

A. President

The President shall be the National Representative of the country that most recently hosted an ICS. The President shall serve from the conclusion of the ICS hosted by his/her country to the conclusion of the next symposium. The President shall set the agenda for, and preside over, ICO meetings. The President, or someone designated to do so by the President, shall represent ICO to other organizations such as IUPAC and IUBMB.

The Whistler Award Selection Committee will be comprised of six members: the President, the immediate Past President (Committee chair), the President-elect, the Secretary, and two co-opted members. Funds for the award are provided by the US Advisory Committee for the International Carbohydrate Symposia (USACICS).

The Young Researcher Award Committee will be comprised of five to six members of ICO appointed by ICO President: the President, the Secretary and the President-elect, and two to three coopted members. Funds in support of the award are to be provided by the Chair of the ICS at which the award is to be conferred unless other arrangements are made.

B. Secretary

The Secretary shall preferably be a National Representative and shall be elected by voting members. The term of office shall be six (6) years, commencing January 1 of the year following the ICO meeting at which the election was held and continuing until December 31 of the year in which the next election is held. The Secretary shall communicate in English and have the resources to communicate by modern means. The Secretary shall prepare minutes of ICO meetings, maintain ICO records and the list of National Representatives and non-voting members, handle communications with ICO members, handle communications with appropriate national bodies as described elsewhere in this constitution, and solicit items for meeting agenda. The Secretary shall serve as secretary to committees as required.

Nominations for the office of Secretary shall be solicited from all voting and non-voting members by the Secretary prior to and at the ICO Board meeting immediately prior to the termination of the term of the present Secretary. The list of nominees shall be circulated to all voting and non-voting members and votes collected during the ICS meeting immediately prior to the termination of the present Secretary, for announcement before the end of the ICS meeting.

ARTICLE VI: Activities

ICO activities shall be:

  1. International Carbohydrate Symposia
  2. The Roy L. Whistler International Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry
  3. The ICO Young Researcher Award in Carbohydrate Chemistry
  4. Encouragement of summer schools and other courses in glycoscience (without financial obligation)
  5. Maintenance of an up-to-date website

ICO shall adopt guidelines and/or policy statements covering its activities.


An ICO meeting shall be held at the time of each ICS. The meeting shall be held on the day preceding the official opening of the ICS unless the President determines that another time is more appropriate. The agenda for the meeting shall be e-mailed to each voting and non-voting member and to the observers at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting. A request for agenda items shall be made earlier. Additional meetings to consider special business may be held during, but not after the close of an ICS, if ICO authorizes such a special meeting at its regularly called meeting.


Voting shall be done by an accepted method. An affirmative vote of a majority of those voting shall be required to adopt a seconded motion.

Ballots may be conducted between meetings 1) if the President determines that it is necessary to do so or 2) if ICO at the previous meeting authorized an e-mail ballot for a specific action. The Secretary shall conduct such a vote and allow thirty (30) days for return of the e-mail ballots.

ARTICLE IX: Amendments

The Constitution may be amended at any ICO meeting. A copy of the proposed amendment must be received by the Secretary at least sixty (60) days prior to an ICO meeting. The Secretary shall communicate the proposed amendment to each voting member at least thirty (30) days prior to the meeting and request prompt responses with regards to amendments to the amendment and/or alternative proposals so that all amendments to be acted upon are provided with the agenda at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting. An affirmative vote of a majority of members voting shall be necessary to adopt an amendment.

Adopted 17 July 1994

Amended August 1998

Amended July 2018

ICO constitution_pdf