Recognise, 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 and its partners offer 500 fellowships per year to scientists in the developing world who want to pursue PhDs and postdoctoral research. TWAS prizes and awards are among the most prestigious given for scientific work in the developing world.
TWAS distributes more than USD1 million in research grants every year to individual scientists and research groups. It supports visiting scientists and provides funding for regional and international science meetings. The TWAS Council, elected by members every three years, sets the broad policy and programmatic direction.
The Secretariat is headed by an Executive Director that assists the Council in the administration and coordination of TWAS programmes. It issues a range of publications on topics related to science in the developing world.
TWAS has established five regional offices to help organise activities and disseminate information. They are located in Alexandria, Egypt; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Beijing, China; Pretoria, South Africa; and Bangalore, India. Under a 1991 agreement, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) assumed responsibility for administering TWAS funds and personnel. Legally, TWAS is a programme unit within UNESCO.
The Italian government passed a law in 2004 that ensures an annual financial contribution to TWAS. Representatives of the Italian government and UNESCO are members of the TWAS Steering Committee, which meets annually to discuss financial matters.
In 2004, a name change was approved for TWAS, so that it became known as the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World. To reflect TWAS's global engagement and networks, the name was changed again in September 2012 to The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries.
In addition to the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), TWAS also works in association with two other organisations:
1. The Organisation for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD).
Since its founding in 1989, OWSD has been recognised as the first international forum uniting women scientists from the developing and developed worlds. Today, OWSD has nearly 4 000 members. Its objective is to strengthen the role of women in the development process and promote their representation in scientific and technological leadership.
2. The InterAcademy Partnership (IAP)
Established in 1993 as the ‘InterAcademy Panel on international issues’, the IAP unites more than 100 science academies worldwide. It provides high-quality independent information and advice on science and development to policymakers and the public. It also supports programmes on scientific capacity-building, education and communication. The IAP leads efforts to expand international science cooperation. In March 2016, three academy networks, the IAP, the InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP) and the InterAcademy Council (IAC) formed the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP), with the three component parts renamed as IAP for Science, IAP for Health and IAP for Research, respectively. The new partnership will enable IAP (the old acronym is being maintained) to speak with one voice on issues of science advice and thus, hopefully, have a greater impact in both national and international policy-making communities.