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:

•             Recognize, support and promote excellence in scientific research in the developing world;
•             Respond to the needs of young scientists in countries that are lagging in science and technology;
•             Promote South-South and South-North cooperation in science, technology and innovation;
•             Encourage scientific research and sharing of experiences in solving major problems facing developing countries.

TWAS's elected membership, currently over 1,200 Fellows, includes the elite scientists and engineers of the developing world.

To advance scientific excellence in the developing world, the Academy offers a range of fellowships, prizes, publications 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).

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.

TWAS hosts and works in close association with three other partners on the ICTP campus:

  • The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) brings together three renowned global networks of academies of science and medicine, representing more than 130 academies worldwide. Two of these 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). At its founding in 1989, OWSD was the first international forum uniting women scientists from the developing and developed worlds. Today, OWSD has 6,000+ members who work to strengthen the role of women in the development process and promote them in scientific and technological leadership.
  • 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.
Other facts and figures: 

Financial situation:

  • 2018 TWAS budget USD 5.9 million

Other Facts and Figures:

  • Budget for R&D Activities (2017): USD 3.6 million

Personnel (2017):

  • Technical/Admin: 30

N. scientific meetings & public events (2017)

  • "Refugee Scientists: Transnational Resources" workshop, Trieste, March 2017
  • AAAS-TWAS Course in Science Diplomacy, Trieste, July 2017
  • Trieste Next, Trieste, September 2017

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

Libraries and n° of available publications/journals: ICTP-Marie Curie Library contains some 72,000 books, as well as 120 subscriptions to print journals and electronic access to 3,177 journals, (shared with ICTP)

Canteen / Coffe bar: 2 / 3 (shared with ICTP)

Other facilities: Leonardo Building 8365 m2; Enrico Fermi Building 3790 m2; Multidisciplinary Lab 712 m2; Adriatico Guest House 2900 m2, Galileo Guest House 1000 m2 (shared with ICTP)

TWAS in numbers:

  • 1983: 42 elected Fellows (nine Nobel laureates)
  • 2018: 1,200+ elected Fellows (14 Nobel laureates)
  • Fellows come from more than 95 countries
  • 83% of Fellows come from developing nations
  • 150+ women Fellows
  • 265+ current and former Young Affiliates
  • 2,530+ research grants distributed (1986-2017)
  • 835+ scientific meetings supported (1986-2016)
  • 500 PhD and postdoctoral fellowships per year
  • 1,140+ prizes (1985-2017)
  • 27 General Meetings (1983-2017)
Fellowships, PhD Courses, Master, Summer School, etc.: 

TWAS and its Partners offer more than 500 fellowships per year to scientists in the developing world, to pursue PhDs and postdoctoral research. This is the largest South-South PhD and post-doctoral research fellowship programme in the world.

TWAS provides more than USD 1.5 million in grants annually to individual researchers and research groups in developing countries to buy specialized equipment, consumable supplies and to support publications. Since 1986, TWAS has distributed more than 2,530 grants.

TWAS prizes and awards are prestigious recognition of the best scientific work in the developing world. From 1985 through 2017, the Academy and its partners awarded 1,140+ prizes.

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

Science Diplomacy Programme: 

Since 2012, TWAS and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have run an international programme in science diplomacy. The programme includes the annual Paolo Budinich Science Diplomacy Lecture, named for the Italian physicist who helped build the Trieste System. Further, it offers workshops, courses and prizes to build a bridge between the worlds of science and diplomacy. It exposes participants to key concepts on the interaction between the scientific and diplomatic communities, with presentations by high-level science diplomats and policymakers, and through role-playing and other exercises.

Branch Offices (Regional, National, International): 

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

Information for international students: 
International Partnerships: 

2017 - Within the science diplomacy programme, TWAS organized the event "Refugee Scientists: Transnational Resources". The meeting gathered leaders more than 50 science and policy experts, leaders of scholar-support organizations and scientists displaced by war to discuss challenges, policy and solutions for scientists, engineers and students in science-related fields. The workshop inspired the documentary film "Science in Exile", directed by Italian filmmaker Nicole Leghissa and produced by TWAS.

TWAS General Meetings are held almost every year to showcase scientific excellence in the developing world. The first General Meeting took place in Beijing in 1987. Through 2017, TWAS has organized 27 such events. An average of 300 participants, including science and government leaders at the highest levels, attend the meetings.

Contacts and Social Media/Network: 

President: Prof. Bai Chunli

Executive Director: Prof. Romain Murenzi

Public Information Officer: Edward W. Lempinen, +39 040 2240512, email:

For inquiries in Italian: Cristina Serra, +39 040 2240429, email:

Address: Strada Costiera, 11 | 34151 Trieste, Italy



Digital bulletin: TWAS Plus

Social media / social network: