CAS President BAI Chunli highlighted contributions by The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) to sustainability in the developing world during a Tuesday ceremony in Beijing celebrating the 30th anniversary of TWAS’s founding. BAI is also president of TWAS.
BAI, who became the first Chinese president of TWAS in January, also outlined CAS’s strong support for the organization.
After noting TWAS’s past achievements, BAI said he hoped TWAS would become a world-leading academic institution playing an important role in shaping the scientific agenda of the developing world within the next decade. He also said he hoped TWAS would continue to promote sustainability and capacity-building in developing countries.
In addition, BAI called for a “new strategy” to respond to the changing world, saying it is necessary to find “science-based solutions to social and economic challenges faced by developing countries.”
Founded in 1983 in Trieste, Italy, TWAS promotes scientific excellence and sustainability in developing countries by promoting academic development and exchange, research at TWAS’s global centers of excellence, and strategic consulting on scientific development. TWAS has more than 1,000 fellows, including 16 Nobel Prize winners, from 91 countries and regions. About 90 per cent of its fellows are from developing countries.
Cooperation between CAS and TWAS has deepened since BAI assumed the presidency of TWAS. For example, this year CAS launched the CAS-TWAS Presidential Fellowship Program, which will support 140 students each year from developing countries to undertake doctoral studies at CAS. During the program’s first year, 603 applicants from 42 countries applied.
CAS also launched a Lenovo-TWAS Science Award this year. The global prize, valued at $100,000, will honor one person each year for making an outstanding contribution to scientific progress in the developing world.
In addition, CAS and TWAS also designated five research units this year as CAS-TWAS Centers of Excellence in the fields of climate, water, biotechnology, green technology and space technology for disaster mitigation. The centers will boost the scientific innovation capacity of developing countries through talent development, cooperative research, and strategic advisement.
Three hundred young scholars and Ph.D. students from developing countries, all affiliated with CAS institutes or universities, attended the Tuesday event and exchanged ideas with the speakers. BAI also met with the young scholars after the ceremony and encouraged them to make a contribution to their home countries.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Mohamed H.A. Hassan, co-chair of the IAP Executive Committee; Jacob Palis, president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences; Romain Murenzi, executive director of TWAS; Martin Green, Australia’s “father of global solar energy”; and WANG Yi, team leader and chief scientist of the CAS Sustainable Development Strategy Study Group.