Hundreds of developing world scientists gather at TWAS 16th General Conference

TWAS is a UNESCO programme that works to support sustainable prosperity through research, education, policy and diplomacy. TWAS General Conferences are showcases for scientific excellence in the developing world, and highlight the importance of scientific research to human prosperity. The theme of this year’s conference is “Basic sciences for evidence-based decision-making and sustainable development in the global South”, complimenting the momentum created by the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, a key moment for global mobilization on a priority of great importance to TWAS.

The Conference, hosted by Zhejiang University (ZJU), in Hangzhou, China, is being organized in a virtual format in collaboration with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and the China Association for Science and Technology (CAST).  More than 800 participants are expected to join the event this year, including TWAS Fellows and members of the TWAS Young Affiliates Network (TYAN) from all around the world. Together, they will discuss the latest in scientific findings and innovations in science policy as well as plan the future of the Academy.

Chinese President Xi Jinping sent a congratulatory letter to Conference that was read and broadcasted from the headquarters of the Conference’s host, Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou, China. The President pointed out that China attaches great importance to the development of basic science, and is willing to work with other countries in the world, including developing countries, to further enhance the openness, trust and cooperation of the international scientific community. The ultimate aim is to benefit the people of all countries through scientific development, and contribute to promoting the Global Development Initiative, implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and building a community with a shared future for humankind.

A message from UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay stressed the fact that scientific endeavor is key for human well-being.

“Science is omnipresent and ubiquitous, from the food we eat, to the phones in our pockets. It is a driver for development, needed everywhere all the time, and everyone has the right to benefit from it. For this reason, science should know no borders, no boundaries,” read the message, which was delivered by UNESCO Deputy Director-General Xing Qu.

“The Academy has gone far and achieved so much. By providing funding and equipment it has helped to ensure the right working conditions for scientists in the global south. By nurturing the potential of young people, especially women, it has helped to create a diverse community of highly qualified scientists,” highlighted the message.

TWAS and its partners offer more than 400 PhD and postdoctoral fellowships per year to support scientists from the global South wishing to earn a doctorate or conduct postdoctoral research. It also provides more than 80 research grants per year to aid the purchase of specialized equipment and consumable supplies, and awards that are among the most prestigious given for scientific work in the developing world.

From the founding of TWAS in Trieste in 1983 to the present day, Italy has provided essential encouragement and support to the Academy. In his address, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy Edmondo Cirielli stressed that “the Academy promotes education, invests in knowledge and training, encourages cooperation to the benefit of developing countries and scientists’ communities at large.”

 “The key issues prioritized by the United Nations in the Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development are among the principles and focal points on which TWAS shapes its role in the international scientific research landscape,” he added, pointing out that basic sciences are key to the sustainable development “we owe to the future generations.”

The Conference will mark the end of the current TWAS Council’s term, and will welcome the new TWAS President Quarraisha Abdool Karim and the new Council, who will take office on 1 January 2023. The TWAS 16th General Conference will continue until 24 November.

Leave a Comment