The IAMS (International Association for Media in Science) was formally born in Zaragoza (Spain) in April 1992 during the 42nd ISFA / AICS Congress and Festival.

The ISFA / AICS (International Scientific Film Association / Association Internazionale de Cinéma Scientifique) in turn, was founded in Paris in October 1947 of the joint efforts of the ICS (Institut de Cinématographie Scientifique) created in Paris by Jean Painlevé in 1930 and by the SFA (Scientific Film Association) founded in London in 1943 by the Scientific Cine Clubs and by the Trade Union of Scientific Workers

Thanks not only to Painlevè, but to other “noble fathers “of scientific cinema such as the Dutch Joris Ivens, the Englishman John Maddison, the Spanish Francisco Giner Abati, the Italian Virgilio Tosi, the German Hans-Karl Galle and the Polish Jan Korngold, ISFA / AICS managed with difficulty not to get involved in the cold war and to maintain a bridge over the iron curtain.

Among the aims of the Association: “…Raise standard and promote use of scientific films and related material throughout the world in order to achieve widest possible understanding and appreciation of scientific method and outlook, especially in relation to social progress; promote international exchange of information on production and use of films and on technical equipment; encourage international coordination of scientific film production and adoption of standard international system of documentation and appraisal.”

The Association was born statutory bilingual: ISFA (International Science Film Association) in English and AICS (Association Internationale du Cinema Scientifique) in French.

ISFA / AICS was organized as an “International Federation of National Associations“, which could be either state institutions such as the IWF (Institut für den Wissenschaftlichen Film) of Göttingen in Germany, or voluntary associations such as ICS (Institut du Cinema Scientifique) in France, or “Scientific Cinema Associations” of different nations such as Holland, the United Kingdom, Spain or Italy, or “Scientific Cinema Institutes” within the various Academies of Sciences of Socialist Countries (Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, Hungary, Poland).

From the initial 12 nations, the number of associates reached a maximum of 30 in 1962 with the accession also of the People’s Republic of China.


In the past ten years of ISFA / AICS, three issues severely divided the associates:

– how to deal with the fact that, while the number and weight of scientists who used cinema as a research tool decreased, the number of producers specialized in making scientific films for dissemination increased. 

– how to deal with the upcoming role of media producers, like audiovisual centers of universities, research centers and university hospitals with a main focus of media for education

– how to orient the future prospects of the Association whether to favor research films or focus on educational and popular films

– how to deal with emerging magnetic video technologies and new interactive media

A solution was reached during the 42nd and last ISFA / AICS Congress at the aforementioned Zaragoza Congress from 20 to 24 April 1992 where the numbers required by statute to close ISFA / AICS and to found a new Association were finally reached.

The list of Founding Members included 14 Organizations and 23 Individual Members.

Thus was born the IAMS – International Association for media in Science, with registered office in Paris-Meudon, at ICS (1).

The first President was Jan T. Goldschmeding, with Werner Grosse (Secretary General), Murray Weston (Treasurer), Francisco G. Abati, Johan van Heddegem and Edoardo Ventimiglia (Members)

The IAMS office was hosted in Utrecht (Institute for Educational Media of the University) then moved to BUFVC (2) in London, then to ENEA (3) in Rome, then to CERIMES in Paris (4 ) and today he is in Madrid at ASECIC (5)

Currently IAMS cooperates with numerous Scientific Film Festivals all over the world, also assigning its own trophy (IAMS Award) and following the evolution of media and film languages by participating in debates, conferences and publications.

This in collaboration with some National Associations and with the WAHMF (World Association of Health and Medical Films)


In recent years, therefore, we have witnessed and participated in the radical change in the use of the media in scientific research, teaching and dissemination.

The deep changes brought by digital technologies and the role of the internet have made the language of moving images a very widespread for anyone and an immediate means of communication with commonly used tools such as computers and smartphones.

The market for scientific films and documentaries for teaching and for television has also changed profoundly. Streaming media had a major impact on dissemination, retrieval and use. This great development of new working environments with digital media has led to a profound transformation in the traditional organization of work and in the related media associations for science.

Many national associations have disbanded, others have found new paths in different or complementary sectors as well as the audiovisual production centers of Universities and Research Centers.

This diaspora, albeit in different ways, has occurred in all environments and in all countries and has led to a dispersion of the original body of the IAMS.

Today the IAMS as well as some National Associations, is essentially made up of a network of knowledge, people and professionalism linked by the common interest for the study and use of all media, analog and digital, in the areas of Scientific Research, of Didactics and Dissemination.

Currently, the Association Board is made up of Alessandro GRIFFINI – Italy, President, David CLEVERLY – United Kingdom, Secretary General, Gerardo Ojeda – Castañeda – Massico / Spain, Treasurer, Jan T. GOLDSCHMEDING – Netherlands and Irma ATTME de CEBALLOS – Argentina Members.

 (1) – ICS – Institut de Cinématographie Scientifique

(2) – BUFVC – British Universities Film & Video Council

(3) – ENEA – National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Economic Development


(4) – CERIMES – Center de ressources et d’information sur les multimédias pour l’enseignement supérieur

(5) Asociación Española de Cine and Imagen Científicos

NB. Due to COVID 19, the Association’s activities are suspended for the year 2020

An organization conference / congress is scheduled in Madrid in 2021.

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