The IAS was initiated 1980 together with the International Council of Scientific Development (ICSD) in Munich by Robert Spaemann (until 1987), Michael Michailov and Reinhard Löw with 42 scientists from LMU*, TU*, GSF*,Max Planck Society and Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities. The Munich "nucleus" founded the international Initiating Committee (IC). Until 1990 (foundation phase) more than 700 academicians (from more than 80 National Academies of Sciences), including over 100 Nobel Laureates accepted membership in the IAS-ICSD.

Foundation has been supported by Linus Karl Pauling (Natl. Acad. Sci., USA), Sir John Kendrew (Royal Soc.) , Yurhio Ikemi (ICPM, Tokyo), Andrej Sacharow, Ilya Prigogine (Founding President of the IAS), M.Mikhailov (GSF, Germany), Bal Anand (Indian Natl. Sci. Acad.), Angel Balevski (Bulgarian Acad. Sci.), Matti Bergsröm (Finnish Acad. Sci.), Jean Dausset (Acad.des Scienes, Paris), Johann Deisenhofer (Howad Hughes Insitut), Arthur Kaufmann (Bay.Acad. of Science), Robert Spaemann (LMU-Munich), Reinhard Löw(FIPH), Aelxander Prokhorov (Russian Acad. of Science), Partrap S. Srivastara (Indian Natl. Sci. Acad.), Lord Aleaxander Todd (Royal Soc.), Jean-Marie Lehn (Acad. Sciences, Paris) and many other well known scientists.

Linus Karl Pauling was the Honorary President of IAS till the end of his life. Honorary Presidents of the Academy are or were: Jean Dausset (France), Johann Deisenhofer (Germany), Brian Josephson (UK), Jerome Karle (USA), Yuan T. Lee (Taiwan/USA), Heinrich Rohrer (Switzerland), and Yujiro Ikemi (Japan) and Georg Kahn-Ackermann (Germany).

Until his selection as President of the International Council for Science Yuan T. Lee supported as President of the Academia Sinica the international development of the IAS.

* Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (LMU) Munich , * Technische Universität München(TU), * National Research Center for Environment and Health (GSF), Munich