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 basic and applied research, higher education, scientific policy and diplomacy.

TWAS was founded in 1983 by distinguished scientists from the developing world, under the leadership of Abdus Salam, a Pakistani physicist and a 1979 Nobel laureate in physics. From the start, the Academy has received essential support from the Italian Government and international associations.

Through almost four decades, TWAS mission has remained consistent, while adjusting its pace to match the overall developments in the outside world. TWAS goals are to:

  • 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 share experience for the resolution of major challenges facing developing countries.

TWAS's elected membership, currently almost 1,300 Fellows (192 women) from 105 countries includes 11 Nobel laureates and elite scientists and engineers from the developing world. In addition, the TWAS community includes more than 350 Alumni and Young Affiliates, selected on merit to participate in Academy affairs for five-year terms. After that period they become alumni.

To advance scientific excellence in the developing world, the Academy offers a range of grants, fellowships and prizes. TWAS publicizes its initiatives and opportunities through its website ( and social media, including Twitter (@TWASnews), FaceBook (@TWAS.Science), YouTube (TWASvideos), Flickr (TWAS) and LinkedIn (TWAS).

TWAS website allows to download and print TWAS Newsletters and other of publications, subscribing to the e-bulletin TWAS Plus and consulting past issues.

The TWAS Council is composed by 15 members from different countries and is led by a president who is elected for a three-year term. 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 Italian Government 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 2020 the TWAS, IAP and OWSD staff was 38 people.
Other facts and figures: 

Project Funding: €155,575.00

N. of projects

H2020: 1

N. scientific meetings & public events (2020): 125

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.

In 2020 TWAS and its partners -the InteracademyPartnership (IAP) and the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD)- have delivered 478 awards, grants and fellowships. In particular, 158 Awards, 60 Grants (of which more than 60% were delivered to scientists from the least developed countries), 260 PhD and Postdoc Fellowships.

TWAS prizes and awards are a prestigious recognition of the best scientific work in the developing world. From 1985 through 2020, 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 the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), the programme has an increasing number of partners and activities, including a renowned annual summer course organized 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 2020 included:

** AAAS-TWAS summer course on science diplomacy, seventh edition, online, 21-24 September,  attended by 75 participants from 45 countries. 

** Science Diplomacy Alumni Review Meeting, online,  9-12 November, attended  by 30 alumni from 24 countries, and held to monitor the impact of the science diplomacy programme.

** ESOF 2020: The Academy participated in a EuroScience Open Forum 2020 session organized by S4D4C titled “Beyond the Lab: Career paths between science & policy”. S4D4C -Using Science for/in Diplomacy for Addressing Societal Challenges works to support European science diplomacy and European Union foreign policy goals.

**  A project on refugee and displaced scientists was established through a partnership between TWAS, the International Science Council (ISC) and the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), under the umbrella of Science International, and launched in 2020. The project aims to form a network and build an advocacy campaign bringing together scientists, policymakers and organizations to address the needs of refugee and displaced scientists.

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.

TWAS collaborates with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the International Center for Genetic Engeneering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), the United Nations Technology Bank for the Least Developed Countries (UN Technology Bank), Science International and the International Science Council (ISC).

Contacts and Social Media/Network: 

President: ABDOOL KARIM Quarraisha (South Africa)

Executive Director: prof. Romain Murenzi (Rwanda)

Public Information Office: Raffaella De Lia, Phone +39 040 2240-512 - E-mail:

Staff Writer and Communication Assistant : Cristina Serra, Phone +39 040 2240429, email:


Address: Strada Costiera, 11 | 34151 Trieste, Italy



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