Promoting awareness of advances in science in the Third World: prizes to scientists from the developing countries


17 April 2002

The Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) prizes, which were launched in 1985, are among the most coveted prizes in science in the developing world. TWAS has announced that it will expand the fields in which the prizes are to be given. Prizes will now be granted in the following fields: biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, agricultural sciences, earth sciences, engineering sciences and medical sciences. The Academy is now encouraging individuals and scientific organizations of excellence to submit nominations. All proposals are welcome and they will be thoroughly evaluated by the Prize Committees made up of renowned scientists. Each prize carries a US$10,000 award and a plaque highlighting the recipient’s major contributions in his or her field. The prizes usually are given at a major event – for example, the TWAS General Meeting – where recipients are asked to present a lecture to mark their receiving the prize

In chapters addressing fundamental research and science education (paragraphs 13, 48), the Science Agenda-Framework for Action, a principal outcome of the WCS, highlighted the important role of international academies in promoting research and public awareness of science. Action to these issues are particularly relevant in the Third World, whose scientific community is nowadays making a significant contributions to the advance of world science and the use of scientific knowledge for sustainable development. As a unique and widely representative international forum uniting scientists from the South, TWAS has been instrumental in promoting science in the South and increasing awareness of the great work of scientists from developing countries in the most advanced areas of science and technology.

TWAS Prizes, for example, made internationally known and recognized the fundamental contributions we owe to mathematician Marcelo Viana (Brazil) in the field of the global structure of dynamical systems, to physicist Sriram Shastry (India) in the field of the physics of interacting many body systems, to biologist Gabriel Guarneros for his research on the characterization of novel genetic signals regulating messenger RNA translation in prokaryotes.

As pointed out in a TWAS/UNESCO Memorandum that sets the framework for our joint efforts within the follow-up to WCS, the awarding of science prizes and fellowships is one of principal actions being developed by the Academy. In addition to prizes in the basic and applied sciences mentioned above, TWAS has an agreement with 37 major scientific organizations to institute TWAS prizes for young scientists in their countries.


For additional information about the TWAS Prizes, contact Ms. Helen Grant, the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), c/o The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP), Strada Costiera 11, 1-34104 Trieste, Italy; phone: +39040 2240387; fax: +39040 224559; website: