Grants for Joint Research Projects

Grants to Institutions in the South for Joint Research Projects



Least Developed Countries (LDCs)

The United Nations has designated 50 countries as least developed:

Afghanistan, Angola, Bangladesh, Benin, Bhutan, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cape Verde, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Comoros, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, Kiribati, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Rwanda, Samoa, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan, Timor-Leste (as of December 2003), Togo, Tuvalu, Uganda, the United Republic of Tanzania, Vanuatu, Yemen and Zambia.

Source: The Least Developed Countries Report, 2004, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)



Grants to Institutions in the South for Joint Research Projects


With financial support for the OPEC Fund for International Development, the Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO) has established a competitive joint research project scheme designed to encourage and support joint research projects involving 2-3 competent research and training institutions from different countries in the South. The aim of the scheme is to encourage and foster cooperation between the best research centres in the South.



TWNSO will award grants to Joint Research Projects with well-defined objectives that are undertaken jointly by two to three research institutions from S&T-lagging developing countries. To ensure maximum benefit to the Least Developed Countries (LDCs, see sidebar), at least one of the cooperating institutions in any proposed project must be located in a least developed country. Only joint research projects involving institutions with well-established expertise and adequate basic equipment will be considered for the grants. Project selection will be based on scientific merit and on the benefits of the project to the industrial and socio-economic development of the countries concerned.

The following items are NOT covered by the research grant:

  • local expenses (such as staff salaries);
  • hiring of equipment and/or cars for travel to field sites;
  • custom duties and related storage costs pending customs clearance.

A research grant amounting a maximum of USD 30,000 will be awarded for up to 2 years. Should the amount awarded not be utilized within the above timeframe from the date of signature of the contract agreement between TWNSO and each institution, a one-time extension of 12 more months will be taken into consideration.

The research grant can be utilized by the research institutions (in particular for those located in LDCs) for purchasing scientific equipment, consumable materials (such as laboratory consumables), specialized literature and any other research supplies necessary for successful completion of the joint project. Moreover, funding may be allocated to cover travel costs (return APEX airfare) for exchange visits of personnel and research scientists involved in the project. In addition, the grant may also be utilized to cover expenses related to the organization of small training and research workshops at any of the institutes involved. Accommodation costs and living expenses will be provided by the local entity involved.

Please contact TWNSO directly if any other clarification is required.


Research Fields

TWNSO will provide support for research projects in both basic (Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics) and applied fields. These include:

• Biotechnology
• New materials
• Microelectronics, Information Technology
• Space Technology
• New and Renewable Energies
• Biodiversity, Soil Erosion and Desertification
• Floods and Earthquakes
• Atmospheric Pollution
• Toxic and Chemical Waste
• Fresh Water Resources, Safe Drinking Water
• Nanotechnology
• Medicinal Plants/Natural Product Chemistry



Joint research proposals submitted to TWNSO by two or three institutions in the South will be sent for peer review to international experts. A panel of advisors will then convene to review the feedback received and rank each proposal. The final selection will be made on the basis of the innovative value of the proposal and the potential to stimulate permanent cooperative linkages between the institutions involved. Those short-listed will then be reviewed by the OPEC Fund, which will then select the proposal(s) to be funded. Selected institution will provide their written consent to administer the grant awarded in accordance with the terms of a formal agreement signed between themselves and TWNSO. Each institution will be required to submit an interim report after the first twelve months and a final report upon official termination of the project. Upon completion of the joint project any equipment, expendables or literatures acquired with the funding of TWNSO will remain the property of the institution and shall be made available to the scientists of the institution in further research.

Completed forms should be sent to the TWNSO Secretariat by 1 December of each year. For inquiries please contact:

Sheila Khawaja
Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO)
c/o The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP)
Strada Costiera 11
34014 Trieste

Phone: +39 040 2240-685
Fax: +39 040 2240-689



  • pdf icon Application form. This is a plain pdf file, meant to be printed out and used as a standard paper form.
  • pdf icon Application form. This is a Word document which can filled in electronically.
  • pdf icon General instructions. A one-sheet summary with guidelines on how to complete the application form for the TWNSO Joint Research Project scheme.


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