Although developing countries account for 80% of the world's population, only 28% of the world's scientists hail from these countries. This fact reflects the lack of innovative potential necessary to solve real-life problems affecting poor nations.
A chronic lack of funds for research often forces scientists in developing countries into intellectual isolation, jeopardizing their careers, their institutions and, ultimately, their nations.
Scientists in developing countries tend to be poorly paid and gain little respect for their work because the role that scientific research can play in development efforts is underestimated. This in turn leads to brain drain in favour of the North that further impoverishes the South.
Research institutions and universities in the South are under-funded, forcing scientists to work in difficult conditions and often with outdated equipment.
The founding members of TWAS therefore decided to set up an organization that would help to:
Recognize, support and promote excellence in scientific research in the South;
Provide promising scientists in the South with research facilities necessary for the advancement of their work;
Facilitate contacts between individual scientists and institutions in the South;
Encourage South–North cooperation between individuals and centres of scholarship;
Since its inception, TWAS's operational expenses have largely been covered by generous contributions of the Italian government; since 1991 UNESCO has been responsible for the administration of TWAS finance and staff on the basis of an agreement signed by the director general of UNESCO and the president of TWAS.
It was named "Third World Academy of Sciences" until 2004 and "TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world" before September 2012,
when it was renamed to is current name, "The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries".
A bronze rectangular plaque embedded on a red base
← TWAS-Lenovo Science Prize
The TWAS Prize is an annual award instituted in 1985 by TWAS to recognize excellence in scientific research in the global South. At inception, the award was titled TWAS Awards in Basic Sciences and was awarded in Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics categories but was merged with the TWNSO (Third World Network of Scientific Organizations) Prizes in Applied Sciences in 2003 to form the present-day TWAS Prize, which is awarded in nine categories viz. Agricultural Sciences, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Sciences, Engineering Sciences, Mathematics, Medical Sciences, Physics and Social Sciences. The award carries a plaque and a cash prize of US$ 15000 and is open to scientists living and working in a developing country.
The World Academy of Sciences
The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) is a global science academy headquartered at the premises of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) in Trieste, Italy. The academy, founded in 1983, promotes science and engineering for sustainable prosperity in the developing world. It was originally named TWAS, the academy of sciences for the developing world at inception but was renamed as The World Academy of Sciences in 2004.