TWAS - The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries – is a global science academy based in Trieste, working to support sustainable prosperity through research, education, policy and diplomacy.

TWAS was founded in 1983 by distinguished scientists from the developing world, under the leadership of Abdus Salam, the Pakistani physicist and Nobel laureate. From the start, the Academy had essential support from Italian scientists and political leaders.

Through more than three decades, TWAS's mission has remained consistent:

  • Recognizing, supporting and promoting excellence in scientific research in the developing world;
  • Responding to the needs of young scientists in countries that are lagging in science and technology;
  • Promoting South-South and South-North cooperation in science, technology and innovation;
  • Encouraging scientific research and the sharing of experiences in solving major problems facing developing countries.

TWAS's elected membership, currently almost 1,300 Fellows (177 women) from 104 countries includes 14 Nobel laureates and elite scientists and engineers from the developing world. In addition, the TWAS community includes more than 310 Alumni and Young Affiliates, selected to participate in Academy affairs for five-year terms.

To advance scientific excellence in the developing world, the Academy offers a range of grants, fellowships and prizes. TWAS publicises its initiatives and opportunities globally through its website, its digital bulletin TWAS Plus, social media, the TWAS Newsletter and films.

The TWAS Council is led by a president who is elected to a three-year term. The Council includes 14 other members from different countries in the developing world. The Secretariat is headed by an executive director and is located on the campus of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Trieste, Italy.

The Government of Italy provides core funding and has been a steadfast partner throughout the Academy's history. The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) provides essential programmatic funding. TWAS is a programme unit of UNESCO, which administers the Academy's finances and personnel.

In 2019 the TWAS, IAP, OWSD, GenderInSITE staff was 38 people.
Other facts and figures: 

N. scientific meetings & public events (2019): TWAS and its partner organizations, IAP and OWSD, have organized/co-organized 11 national events and organized/coordinated with their international networks more than 70 international events abroad

Digital bulletin: TWAS Plus


Headquarters c/o ICTP Campus - Strada Costiera 11 (Trieste)

Fellowships, PhD Courses, Master, Summer School, etc.: 

TWAS and its partners offer over 400 fellowships per year to scientists in the developing world, to pursue PhDs and postdoctoral research. This is the largest South-South PhD and postdoctoral research fellowship programme in the world.

TWAS provides more than USD 1 million in grants annually to individual researchers and research groups in developing countries to buy specialized equipment and consumable supplies; to support the training of young scientists at the masters degree level; to participate in conferences as well as to purchase scientific books and publish scientific articles. Since 1986, TWAS has distributed more than 2,630 grants, including 48 in 2019 (35 to Least Developed Countries).

TWAS prizes and awards are a prestigious recognition of the best scientific work in the developing world. From 1985 through 2018, the Academy and its partners awarded more than 1,180 prizes.

TWAS supports visiting scientists, helping them to travel and pursue collaborative research and international partnerships.

TWAS's partner, the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World, has offered 27 new PhD fellowships to women from developing countries to pursue their PhDs in scientific subjects. It also launched a new fellowship for early career researchers providing up to USD 50,000 in research funding; in the first year of this new initiative, 19 fellows were awarded.


Science Diplomacy Programme: 

Since 2012, TWAS has been implementing an increasing number of science diplomacy activities, including workshops, courses and lectures designed to build a bridge between the worlds of science and diplomacy. 

Thanks to seed funding from Sida, Sweden, the programme has an increasing number of partners and activities, including a renowned annual summer course with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). These training sessions expose participants (mostly young scientists from developing countries) to key concepts on the interaction between the scientific and diplomatic communities, with presentations by high-level science diplomats and policymakers.

Major science diplomacy activities in 2019 included:

* a Paolo Budinich Science Diplomacy Lecture, featuring Lassina Zerbo, the executive secretary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO), held in Trieste;

* the Bibliotheca Alexandrina-TWAS-AAAS Regional Workshop on Science Diplomacy, held in Alexandria, Egypt;

* the AAAS-TWAS Train the Trainers Course on Science Diplomacy, held in Trieste, Italy;

* with the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), TWAS co-organised the OPCW-TWAS-IAP Policy and Diplomacy for Scientists: Introduction to Responsible Research Practices in Chemical and Biochemical Sciences, in Trieste;

* TWAS also hosted an S4D4C Science Diplomacy Workshop in Trieste, in October,  and participated in another in Vienna, Austria, in November (S4D4C, an EU Horizon2020-funded project, stands for Using Science for/in Diplomacy for Addressing Societal Challenges, works to support the European science diplomacy, the European Union foreign policy goals and the development of solutions for global challenges);

* Finally, in December, TWAS has organized a high-level science diplomacy workshop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank.

TWAS has also joined in partnership with the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on events in the science diplomacy sphere. TWAS was also active in efforts to establish Trieste as the European City of Science for 2020 (ESOF 2020).

Branch Offices (Regional, National, International): 

TWAS has five Regional Partners to help organize activities and disseminate information. They are located in Alexandria, Egypt; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Beijing, China; Pretoria, South Africa; and Bangalore, India.

International Partnerships: 

TWAS is a programme unit of UNESCO. The Academy hosts and works in close association with three affiliated partners on the ICTP campus:

  • The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) Under a recent reorganisation, 140 national and regional academies work together to support the special role of science and its efforts to seek solutions to address the world's most challenging problems. Two of IAP's three core networks, 'IAP for Science' and 'IAP for Health', are hosted by TWAS in Trieste.
  • The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD). Founded in 1987, OWSD was the first international forum uniting women scientists from the developing and developed worlds. Today, OWSD has over 5,300 members, who work to strengthen the role of women in the development process and promotes their roles in scientific and technological leadership. It provides research training and career development opportunities for women scientists throughout the developing world at different stages in their careers.
  • GenderInSITE is an international initiative to demonstrate how applying a gender lens to science, innovation, technology and engineering can improve policy and programmes for development.
Contacts and Social Media/Network: 

President: prof. Mohamed Hassan (Sudan)

Executive Director: prof. Romain Murenzi (Rwanda)

Public Information Officer: Cristina Serra, phone +39 040 2240429, e-mail:

Address: Strada Costiera, 11 | 34151 Trieste, Italy



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