9 February 2018

Report shows Trieste-to-Africa science ties

A new report shows how TWAS, OWSD, IAP and other Italian science institutions contribute to the growth of scientific research, education and expertise in Africa.

TWAS and other scientific institutions based in Trieste, Italy, are making significant contributions to the development of research and education in Africa, according to a new report prepared for the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

The report highlights a decade of activities and achievements supporting African science by five Trieste-based institutions: The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP); the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD); the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP); the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB); and TWAS.

All five have a strong focus on Africa. While the emerging economies of the developing world such as Brazil, India and China have made great scientific and technological progress in recent years, many African countries continue to lag – particularly in R&D investment, research publications and higher education. In fact, 33 of the 47 of the countries to receive the U.N.’s Least Developed Countries designation are in Africa.

In addition to sharing support from Italy, the five institutions have another common characteristic: they operate under the United Nations umbrella," says a foreword to the report. "As such, they actively strive to achieve the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined in the UN’s Agenda 2030. The institutes share an understanding that the SDGs simply cannot be achieved without the support of science, social sciences and technology.

"As a common heritage of all humankind, scientific knowledge can be used as an effective engine for national development by disadvantaged countries. However, to fully exploit all that science can offer, Africa needs to build and sustain scientific capacity, both at the individual and institutional level. Thanks also to the financial support of the Italian government, these five institutions contribute to empower Africa to achieve many of the SDGs." 

The report provides a data-driven picture of Trieste's impact in Africa from 2007-2016, with an emphasis on graphics and maps. Among the most compelling facts:

  • ICTP has had 6,730 scientific visitors from Africa;
  • ICGEB, with a campus in Cape Town, South Africa, has supported 116 biosafety events throughout the continent;
  • OWSD has awarded 260 of its 304 of PhD Fellowships – or 86% – to African researchers;
  • IAP has supported the creation of 13 new African academies, raising the total to 23; and
  • The corps of TWAS Fellows in Africa – among the most accomplished researchers in the developing world – grew from 110 to 151 in the decade.


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