The science without borders that brings the world together

More than 400 scientists, mostly from developing countries, will practically come together to give life to Fifteenth General Conference of the World Academy of Sciences For the Scientific Advancement of Developing Countries (UNESCO-TWAS). The event, which will take place from November 1-4, is being organized in partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

The theme of the conference – Promoting science, technology and innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals in developing countries – is in line with the goals of TWAS, which for nearly 40 years has supported research and innovation in countries burdened with a science and technology gap.

Among the guests of honor who attended the opening ceremony on November 1 were: Tony Chan, President of KAUST. Munir Muhammad Al-Desouki, Minister of State at the Ministry of Communications, Information Technology and Communications, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and Acting President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO; Mohamed Suleiman Al-Jasser, President of the Bank. Anja Karlicic, Germany’s Minister of Education and Research.

For Italy, there will be Marina Sereni, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. Other notable guests include Kristen Johnson Cisse, Director of the Research Collaboration Unit at the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and Ilan Shim, Director of the Elsevier Foundation and chair of the Executive Board of Research4Life – a project that aims to give a voice to the champions of biomedical research.

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The event will take place between 12-17 Italian time.

Events day by day
November 1: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry by Jean-Marie Lane

Jean-Marie Lane was awarded the 1987 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, along with Donald J. Cram and Charles J. Pedersen, for his research on how molecules fit together to form more complex structures as new properties emerge. His pioneering studies led to the emergence of so-called supramolecular chemistry, which today finds important applications in the medical sector (heart implants), in the development of new materials (biodegradable plastics) and in the delivery of pharmaceuticals. Lin will hold a symposium on the evolution of life from the point of view of chemical compounds, where the guiding message will be confidence in science.

On the same day, awards will be held for more than 20 researchers who, thanks to their work, are making a positive change in their communities. Presentation topics include research into stem cells, nanoparticles, aerosols, air quality, and gravitational waves.

November 2: Frontier Science Funding and Innovation for the Sustainable Development Goals

The day will open with a high-level ministerial session, moderated by UNESCO’s Deputy Director-General for Natural Sciences, Shamila Nir Baduel. Attendees will include Eric Lander, science advisor to the President of the United States and director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. Lander predicted that “curiosity is at the core of scientific discovery,” adding that new knowledge and breakthroughs can come from anywhere and from any world.

Next, presentations are made to the two researchers who have been awarded the prestigious TWAS-Lenovo Prize: Brazilian microbiologist Mariangela Hungria and Chinese plant genetics researcher Li Jiayang, who will each receive $50,000 for their contribution to solving related problems. Global agriculture and the future of food resources.

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Mariangela Hungary, a researcher with the Brazilian company Embrapa Soybean, has identified bacteria that, if inoculated in the soil, can replace chemical nitrogen fertilizers and thus reduce the impact on the environment (less greenhouse gases) and save the Brazilian economy more than $15 billion. general. The technologies introduced are also safer for farmers.

Li Jiayang is a professor at the Chinese Institute of Genetics and Developmental Biology in Beijing, where he studies plant metabolism and growth. His research focuses on rice: Lee has found ways to increase crop yields and improve product quality, identifying the molecular mechanisms on which plant height and the number and size of grains produced depend. Both research are making a huge difference to the agriculture of the two countries. Hongria and Li will hold a seminar on the topic of their research.

The day will conclude with a symposium on “Promoting Science, Technology and Innovation at Frontiers for the Sustainable Development Goals in Developing Countries”. Among the speakers is Carlos Nobre, a scientist at the Institute for Advanced Studies at the University of São Paulo in Brazil, who works on environmental issues and a former member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Nobre will explain the importance of the Amazon rainforest to the health of the planet, and highlight the consequences that deforestation of this important lung of our planet may have on humanity.

November 3: The world faces COVID-19

The symposium “The World Facing Covid-19” opens the activities of the third day. African, Asian and South American perspectives on COVID-19 will be compared and the lessons the world has taught from the pandemic will be examined.

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Speakers include: Salem Abdulkarim, Director of the South African AIDS Research Program Center (Caprisa); Peter Singer, Special Adviser to the Director-General of the World Health Organization; and Ferdowsi Qadri, chief of the Immunology and Mucosal Vaccines Unit, Department of Infectious Diseases, at the Bangladesh International Center for Diarrheal Diseases Research.

November 4: Digital Inclusion, Challenges and Opportunities

On the last day, the issue of digital inclusion and the gap between developed and developing countries (4 billion people still lack broadband connectivity) will be addressed. The symposium “Digital Inclusion: Challenges and Opportunities to Connect Those Not Yet Connected in the Post-COVID Era” will reflect on the importance of 5G technology and showcase the potential of 6G, particularly in areas with insufficient coverage, to contribute to their development through global connectivity.

The conference will conclude with the election of new TWAS members and the closing ceremony with the words of Mounir Mohamed El Desouky, Minister of State for the Ministry of Communications, Information Technology and Communications of Saudi Arabia, and Tony Chan, President of KAUST.

event program

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