The membership of SCAR comprises the appropriate bodies of those national scientific academies or research councils which are the adhering bodies to ICSU and which are, or plan to be, active in Antarctic research, together with the relevant scientific Unions of ICSU. It includes the original twelve members and an increasing number of subsequent members.
There are three categories of membership: Full Members, ICSU Scientific Unions Members and Associate Members. Full Members are those countries with active scientific research programmes in Antarctica, currently 31; unions members are those ICSU scientific unions that have an interest in Antarctic research, currently 9; and Associate Members are those countries without an independent research programme as yet or which are planning a research programme in the future, currently 6. In addition, there are the Honorary Members of SCAR; those individuals who have, over many years, rendered outstanding service to SCAR and scientific research in the Antarctic.
The National Committee of each Full Member of SCAR appoints a Permanent Delegate and an Alternate Delegate to SCAR; ICSU Unions appoint a single Union Delegate; and Associate Members appoint a Delegate. These delegates attend the bi-ennial SCAR Delegates Meeting.