Trieste/Hangzhou – The 16th General Conference of TWAS, The World Academy of Sciences Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries, will begin online on 21 November.
The Academy’s pinnacle event, which happens every two years, will assemble world-leading scientists, promising young scholars from the developing world, a Nobel laureate, ministers of science and technology, leaders in science policy, and world-class dignitaries, from 21 to 24 November. Together, they will discuss the latest in scientific findings and innovations in science policy as well as plan the future of the Academy.
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.
“It is the second time our Conference will take place online and this virtual format serves as a marker of how different and challenging our present circumstances are – and how we have managed to successfully navigate these unusual times to remain as strong and vibrant as ever,” said TWAS President Mohamed A. Hassan, who was also TWAS's founding Executive Director, serving 26 years in that role.
Highlights of the conference include:
- On 21 November, keynote lectures by Dr. Solomon Assefa, Vice-President of IBM Research, and Prof. Michael Rosbash, a geneticist, chronobiologist, Nobel Laureate, and Professor of Biology and Peter Gruber Professor of Neuroscience at Brandeis University (USA).
- On 21 November, the announcement of the winners of the TWAS Prizes and Awards, including the TWAS-Lenovo Science Award, one of the world’s most prestigious honours given to scientists from the developing world, which carries a monetary award of USD100,000 provided by Lenovo, as well as a medal and a certificate highlighting the recipient's major contributions to science.
- On 22 November, a ministerial session on ‘Basic Sciences for Evidence-Based Decision-Making and Sustainable Development in the Global South’
- On 24 November, the induction ceremonies of TWAS Fellows elected in 2022, and the TWAS Young Affiliates and Refugee Scientists appointed in 2022.
The fact that the 2022 conference is organized in partnership with ZJU, CAS and CAST highlights once more the strong relationship that links TWAS and its Chinese partners. The first TWAS-CAS fellowship agreement dates back to 2004 and was renewed several times. Early this year, the Alliance of International Science Organizations (ANSO) joined the initiative by signing the five-year agreement that established the ANSO-CAS-TWAS/UNESCO Scholarship Programme, whose aim is to support scientific and technological cooperation among developing countries.
The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2022 the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development, and the Conference’s theme, "Basic Sciences for Evidence-Based Decision-Making and Sustainable Development in the Global South", will highlight the strong link between basic sciences and the Agenda 2030 in developing countries.
“It’s a great pleasure for Zhejiang University to host the TWAS 16th General Conference,” said Ren Shaobo, Chairman of the University Council of Zhejiang University. “As a leading university in China, ZJU has been working hard to foster the development of basic sciences. During this process, collaboration and dialogue with multiple stakeholders are one of the key approaches. I sincerely hope this Conference will further strengthen the cooperation between China and TWAS in the field of basic sciences and beyond to address the mounting challenges we face today.”
"Since the 1980s, China and TWAS have enjoyed a long-term partnership featuring a shared mission to promote the development of science and technology in the developing world,” said Xilin Chen, the immediate past director of the Bureau of International Cooperation for CAS. “Cooperative achievements have been made by both sides through capacity building, personal exchange, joint research, etc. A growing number of Chinese TWAS fellows also witnesses the heavy involvement of the Chinese scientific community in TWAS. We hope the upcoming TWAS 16th General Conference will landmark a new era of the China-TWAS partnership, particularly on advancing basic sciences for sustainable development."
"We admire TWAS’s persistent efforts toward the UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially by calling attention to basic research via its 16th General Conference,” said Yuzhuo Zhang, the Secretary-General and the Vice President of CAST. “The China Association for Science and Technology shares the same view and will spare no efforts, to achieve SDGs, in working toward a scientific community worldwide, featuring openness, trust and cooperation."
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.
A detailed programme of the General Conference, starting each day at 19:00 Hangzhou time (12:00 Rome time), is available online.
The TWAS Conference is an invitation-only event for TWAS Fellows and members of the TWAS Young Affiliates Network, but highlights will be shared on social media using the hashtag #TWASConf.
The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries, founded in 1983, is a programme unit of UNESCO. Its principal aim through almost foour decades is to promote scientific capacity and excellence for sustainable development in developing countries through grants, fellowships, collaborations, and more. Today, TWAS has more than 1,300 elected fellows—some of the world’s most accomplished scientists and engineers—representing 108 countries; 12 of them are Nobel laureates. The Academy is based in Trieste, Italy, on the campus of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP).
Founded in 1897, Zhejiang University (ZJU) is a leading higher education institution in China, as well as one of its oldest. Organized across 7 faculties and 39 schools, the University prides itself on a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship. ZJU researchers are making an impact across many priority areas that address global challenges, including clean energy, biotechnology, smart city, materials science, precision medicine and global public health initiatives related to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases. Being a comprehensive and research-intensive university, ZJU ranks 36th in the 2022 Academic Ranking of World Universities. ZJU looks forward to working with global partners and multiple stakeholders to drive progress on the SDGs through research and innovation.