About the Third World Network of Scientific Organizations



TWNSO's Secretariat is located on the top floor of ICTP's "Adriatico Guesthouse"



Ms. Helen Martin
TWNSO Secretariat
ICTP Adriatico Guesthouse, 7th floor
Strada Costiera 11
34014 Trieste, Italy

Phone: +39 040 2240-683
Fax: +39 040 2240-689
E-mail: info@twnso.org



The Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO) is a non-governmental organization founded in 1988 by ministers of science and technology and higher education and heads of science academies and research councils in developing countries to promote science-based sustainable economic development in the South. The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) led the drive for the creation of TWNSO, which in 1990 acquired consultative status with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

At present TWNSO has 149 members, including 38 ministries of science and technology and higher education, 48 science academies, 38 research councils and 25 other organizations in 77 countries in the South. In addition, it has 9 associate members in 4 countries in the North.

The affairs of TWNSO are supervised by an executive board, elected every three years by the members. To facilitate its work, TWNSO national committees have been established in 23 countries in the South.

TWNSO maintains close links with TWAS. The two organizations share a common secretariat, and a number of TWNSO’s activities are co-sponsored by TWAS. The two organizations also work closely with the South Centre in Geneva, Switzerland, and the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS) in Islamabad, Pakistan.

More recently, TWNSO has collaborated with the Special Unit for Technical Cooperation with Developing Countries (TCDC) of the United Nations Development Programme as well as with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the GEF, the Global Environment Facility (see Activities section below).


  • Assist in designing S&T strategies in developing countries and integrating these strategies into national development plans.
  • Promote the sharing of experiences and best practices in harnessing S&T for sustainable development in the South.
  • Support collaborative programmes between scientific institutions and science-based development organizations in the South in areas of critical importance to development.
  • Strengthen relationships between scientific institutions in the South and their counterparts in the North through bilateral links and exchange programmes.

Executive Board

President of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)
Vice-President (Africa):
Federal Minister of Science & Technology of Nigeria
Vice-President (Arab Region):
Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Jordan
Vice-President (Asia):
Minister of Science and Technology of China
Vice-President (Latin America & Caribbean):
Director General of the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT) of Mexico
Secretary General:
Executive Director of the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS)
Secretary of Science and Technology of Argentina
Minister of Science & Technology of Brazil
President of the Indian National Science Academy (INSA)
Minister of Science, Research and Technology of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Minister of Scientific Research of Senegal
Minister for Science, Technology and Higher Education of Tanzania
Ministry of Scientific Research, Technology and Development of Competences of Tunisia


Grants for Joint Research Projects

With financial support from the OPEC Fund for International Development, TWNSO has established a competitive research grants scheme designed to encourage and support joint research projects involving research and training institutions from different countries in the South. To ensure maximum benefit to least developed countries (LDCs), at least one of the co-operating institutions in any proposed project must be located in a LDC. The largest research grants total US$30,000 and are given for up to 2 years. Funds can be utilized to purchase scientific equiment, consumable materials, specialized literature or any other project-related items needed by the co-operative institutions, especially those in LDCs. The programme provides support for research projects in both basic and applied fields. Preference is given to joint projects likely to generate direct benefits to the South.

• Promoting Best Practices

In cooperation with a variety of international organizations, TWNSO and TWAS have since 1999 sponsored a series of workshops and encouraged the formation of a number of networks focussing on critical science-related development issues in the South. The goal has been to highlight innovative experiences in the application of science and technology to address fundamental social and economic problems in the developing world. Topics have included the conservation and wise use of medicinal plants, application of appropriate technologies to provide better access to safe drinking water, strategies for the protection of dryland biodiversity, the application of technologies to harness renewable sources of energy, knowledge sharing for local development in the South, disaster mitigation in Small Island Developing States, and capacity building for sustainable development.

• The Celso Furtado Prize in Political Economy

With financial support from the Brazilian government, TWNSO has established an international award in the field of political economy, to provide recognition, encouragement and support to researchers and practitioners who have made substantial contributions to socio-economic development in Third World countries. The prize, named after the Brazilian economist Celso Furtado, consists of a plaque and a cash award of US$ 10,000. It is given every three years at the general assembly of TWNSO.


Profiles of Science Ministries, Academies and Research Councils in the South
Every three years TWNSO publishes a directory with detailed information about its member institutions. The publication, the only one of its kind, provides useful information on the status and prospects of science and technology in the South.The latest issue was published in 2003.
Profiles of Institutions for Scientific Exchange and Training in the South
In 2003, TWNSO, in collaboration with the South Centre, published the third edition of a monograph containing 525 detailed profiles of world-class research and training institutions in 59 countries of the South. The publication is designed to help increase scientific collaboration both among centres of research in the South and between them and their counterparts in the North.

Series of Monographs: Sharing Innovative Experiences

  • Examples of Successful Initiatives in Science and Technology in the South (1999)
  • Conservation and Wise Use of Indigenous and Medicinal Plants (2001)
  • Promoting Best Practices in the Conservation, Management and Sustainable Use of Water Resources in the South (2002)
  • Examples of Successful Uses of Renewable Energy Sources in the South (2003)
  • Examples of the Successful Conservation and Sustainable Use of Dryland Biodiversity (2004)
  • Examples of the Development of Pharmaceutical Products from Medicinal Plants (2004)
  • Examples of Successful Experiences in Providing Safe Drinking Water (2005)
  • Examples of Local Development: Applications of Knowledge Networks in the South (forthcoming)

Other volumes

  • Conserving Biodiversity in Arid Regions (2003)
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