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. In addition, the TWAS community includes over 250 current 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, digital bulletin, 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).

  • 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.
The TWAS, IAP, OWSD, GenderInSITE staff was 34 people
Other facts and figures: 

N. scientific meetings & public events (2018): 11

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 more than 460 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 1.0 million in grants annually to individual researchers and research groups in developing countries to buy specialized equipment and consumable supplies; to support training of young scientists at the master's degree level; to participate in conferences as well as to purchase scientific books and publish scientific articles. Since 1986, TWAS has distributed more than 2,530 grants, and 76 in 2018.

TWAS prizes and awards are prestigious recognition of the best scientific work in the developing world. From 1985 through 2018, the Academy and its partners awarded more than 1,160 prizes, including 27 in 2018.

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 18 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, which was awarded to 19 fellows in its first year.

Science Diplomacy Programme: 

Since 2012, TWAS and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) have run an international training programme in science diplomacy. It offers workshops and courses to build a bridge between the worlds of science and diplomacy. The training sessions expose participants to key concepts on the interaction between the scientific and diplomatic communities, with presentations by high-level science diplomats and policymakers.

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

Within the science diplomacy programme, TWAS organized the event "Refugee Scientists: Transnational Resources" in 2017 and subsequently has carried out a range of international engagements related to the issues of scientists, engineers and advanced students in flight from war and conflict. This initiative has continued to develop new networks of support for displaced researchers. The TWAS documentary film "Science in Exile", directed by Italian filmmaker Nicole Leghissa, focuses on the journeys of scientists from Syria, Iraq and Yemen who have been displaced by war. Through 2018, the film has shown in more than two dozen countries on six continents, at major scientific meetings, elite film festivals, cultural events and universities.

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, more than 130 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 1989, OWSD was the first international forum uniting women scientists from the developing and developed worlds. Today, OWSD has 7,000+ 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

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

Address: Strada Costiera, 11 | 34151 Trieste, Italy



Social media / social network: