Ciro Oiticica (Fiocruz News Agency)
Sociologist and president of Fiocruz, Nísia Trindade Lima was appointed for The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS). The appointment was in the Academy’s General Meeting, on November 1st, as part of its 15th general conference.
Nísia is one of the 20 women who were appointed, in a total of 58 new members (Photo: Reproduction)
TWAS has the goal of bringing different scientific societies of developing countries closer, to promote its sustainable prosperity through science and technology, supporting researchers by granting scholarships and awards. To become a member, you need to be part of those scientific societies and be referred by them. Nísia was referred by the Brazilian Academy of Sciences and had letters of recommendation from a social anthropologist from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Unam), Hebe Vessuri, and from the Chief Scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Soumya Swaminathan.
She is one of the 20 women who were appointed, in a total of 58 new members, which represents 34% of the group. In Brazil, seven scientists from the Brazilian Academy of Sciences got in, being five women and two men. Besides Nísia Trindade Lima, they are Adalberto Luis Val, biologist and vice-president of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences for the North Region; Ado Jorio de Vasconcelos, physicist and professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG); Márcia Walquíria de Carvalho Dezotti, engineer and professor at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ); Mariangela Hungria da Cunha, agronomist and researcher at the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa); Marilia Oliveira Fonseca Goulart, chemist and professor of the Federal University of Alagoas (UFAL); and Santuza Teixeira, biochemist and professor at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) Currently, with the new members, TWAS has 1,343 scientists and engineers around the world, including 141 Brazilians.
The World Academy of Sciences for the Progress in Sciences in Developing Countries was founded in 1983 by a group of scientists from the then called Third-World, under the leadership of Abdus Salam, a Pakistani physicist who won the Nobel Prize. They shared the belief that developing countries, through the strengthening of sciences and engineering, could develop knowledge and skills to face challenges such as hunger, diseases and poverty. Since its beginning, TWAS had the essential support of Italian scientists and political leaders, which lead to its headquarters being in Trieste, in Italy.
The Third World Academy of Sciences, as it was known originally, was officially opened in 1985 in a ceremony with the presence of the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar. At first, TWAS had 42 elected scholarship holders, nine of them being winners of the Nobel Prize. The name was changed twice: in 2004, to “ The Academy of Sciences for the developing world”, and in 2012, to “The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries”, its current name. Nowadays, the Academy has 1,296 elected scholarship holders, representing over 100 countries, 11 of them being winners of the Nobel Prize. Around 84% of them come from developing nations, while the rest of them are from countries from the North, whose work has significantly impacted the Global South.