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the world academy of sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries

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News
18 February 2013

A major agreement on fellowships

Up to 140 early-career scientists per year from the developing world will travel to China for PhD study and research under an ambitious new agreement between the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) and TWAS.

In the CAS-TWAS President's Fellowship Programme, students in natural sciences will pursue PhDs at the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences (UCAS). Their travel, visa, and educational expenses will be covered by the academies, with CAS also providing tuition and a monthly payment for housing and living expenses.

"CAS attaches great importance to the relationship with TWAS, and continually supports S&T capacity-building in developing countries," said Bai Chunli, who serves as president of both CAS and TWAS. "The new CAS-TWAS President's Fellowship Programme will serve the needs of developing countries in bringing up their own scientific capabilities, especially in those areas which are crucial to social and economic development.

"In next five years, up to 700 young talented students from Africa, South America and Asia will be provided with new opportunities to start their academic career training in the CAS universities and institutes. On return to their home countries, those youths will be fulfilling their ambitious scientific pursuits and contributing to their home countries and people."

Added TWAS Executive Director Romain Murenzi: "At TWAS, we believe that increasing the number of people with advanced degrees in the developing world is essential for building a foundation to support future strength and prosperity. We are excited and deeply gratified by this expanded partnership with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and we look forward to working together on a programme that will bring benefits to today's young scientists and long into the future."

Since its founding in 1949, CAS has grown to include two universities, 117 institutes, more than 100 national and state key laboratories, 200 engineering research centres and about 1,000 field stations throughout China. Its staff numbers more than 60,000. CAS and TWAS have long had a close and productive relationship, often involving TWAS's Regional Office for East and Southeast Asia (TWAS-ROESEAP).

Bai started a four-day trip to Italy with a stop in Rome, accompanied by Tan Tieniu, CAS's deputy secretary-general and director-general of its Bureau of International Cooperation, and Wang Zhenyu, division director of international organizations at the CAS Bureau of International Cooperation. In Rome, Bai attended the annual meeting of the TWAS Steering Committee, a panel that includes high-level representatives of the Italian government and UNESCO.

In Trieste, Tan and Murenzi signed the new fellowship agreement. During a visit to TWAS headquarters, Bai heard presentations from staff at TWAS; the Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD); IAP, the global network of science academies; and InterAcademy Medical Panel (IAMP). Bai, Tan and Wang were then hosted at a banquet with the TWAS staff.

Under the terms of the new CAS-TWAS agreement, scholars up to age 35 will be eligible to apply for the PhD fellowship. Applicants must be permanent residents of a developing country other than China, and they must prove that they will return to their home countries when their studies are complete. They must have a master's or higher degree and gain acceptance at a qualified CAS department, institution or laboratory.  

Initially, TWAS will fund round-trip travel for 50 of the fellows each year, or one-way travel for 80 students to China; TWAS also will cover their visa and other travel-related fees. During the five-year term of the agreement, TWAS will seek to increase travel funding to cover a larger share of the fellowships. CAS will cover other travel expenses, educational expenses, and the monthly stipend.

Edward W. Lempinen

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