The Pacific Science Association (PSA), which is dedicated to the science of and in the Pacific, is the oldest Asia-Pacific regional inter-disciplinary science association. The PSA has been an influential organisation in the region over the course of its eight decade history. It has also served as a seedbed for other organisations and projects. The changing contexts of the late 20th century posed challenges for the PSA as they did for other scientific organisations. The complexity of current demographic, environmental and development concerns demands inter-disciplinary approaches to contemporary challenges. The PSA, an inter-disciplinary organisation from its inception, must review its mission, address its policy relevance, adopt new communication strategies and become a scientific resource for the future.