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TWAS Newsletter
The Academy's quarterly magazine. Download PDF files of individual…

Nurturing scientific connections

Nurturing scientific connections

Through a five-year TWAS affiliateship, TWAS and the Islamic Development Bank have initiated a programme focused on helping displaced scientists from IsDB member countries. For them, it’s an opportunity to maintain and build scientific connections on a global level.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, there are currently more than 70 million refugees and displaced people in the world. Among them, several hundred thousand are scientists, fleeing conflicts and wars. But their precise number is still unknown.

Despite the warm hospitality that many such scientists have found in hosting countries, most of them are still struggling with challenges that include resuming a career to put their skills to work in the new place continuing to publish and maintaining international scientific relationships. This opportunity gap has prompted the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and TWAS to join forces in a new partnership.

"IsDB and TWAS are launching a new programme that will support talented refugees and displaced scientists from IsDB member countries to keep their career alive," explained TWAS Executive Director Romain Murenzi. "The programme is targeted at young researchers up to the age of 40, who possess a remarkable track record of publications."

The Refugee and Displaced Young Scientists Programme offers a five-year affiliation to the dynamic and prestigious TWAS Young Affiliates Network (TYAN), along with the participation at the TWAS General Meetings and Conferences, the invitation to meetings and workshops organized by the five TWAS Regional Partners and access to a host of other opportunities, available through TYAN. The deadline for receiving applications is 30 July.

"Many refugee scientists have been unable to resume their work because opportunities and programmes are lacking. But we should keep in mind that they are a precious resource for the whole world," Murenzi noted. "Global organizations and scientific bodies like IsDB and TWAS can make a difference through the enhancement of these untapped talents."

TWAS has been a proactive force in driving a movement in support of scientists fleeing from war-torn countries, through the organization of international workshops, a regional accord in partnership with 10 institutions from the Trieste Science System to provide opportunities for displaced scientists and a documentary film.
Most recently, TWAS has also received further support from its long-standing partner the Swedish International Development and Cooperation Agency (SIDA), to begin understanding the landscape of and strengthening connections between organizations currently engaged in assisting refugee and displaced scientists. The new project also aims to identify any gaps in opportunities aimed at assisting such scholars.  
The initiative will be undertaken in collaboration with the InterAcademy Partnership (IAP) and the International Science Council (ISC). Together, these three international science bodies aim to build key networks, promote better policies, and raise awareness of the need for action among governments, international agencies, the broader scientific community and other stakeholders.

For more information:

Cristina Serra