The scientific core elements of IASC are its five Working Groups (WGs). The main function of the WGs is to encourage and support science-led international programs by offering opportunities for planning and coordination, and by facilitating communication and access to facilities. Each WG is composed of up to two scientists from each IASC member country, appointed by the national adhering bodies. The members are experts in their field, with an international reputation, and from different scientific disciplines so that the full range of Arctic research is represented in the WGs.
Though the WGs are disciplinary, they also address cross-cutting science questions by initiating activities which involve at least two WGs. The objective of this WG-spanning program is to promote system-scale activities within IASC and to encourage the WGs to explore interdisciplinary activities, in particular across the natural and social sciences.