Excellence in Science
'Excellence in Science: Profiles of Research Institutions in Developing Countries' is a series of booklets published by TWAS that highlights successful scientific institutions in the South. These booklets explain how these institutions have both been sustained over a number of years and how they are helping the host nations achieve sustainable economic development. The booklets are available for download as PDF files (click on each title below to download it). We also have a number of hard copies (ISSN 2222-7385) – just send us a request SPECIFYING YOUR MAILING ADDRESS (click on 'contact' in the top right corner) telling us which of the booklets you would like to receive, and we will send it to you free of charge.
The focus of the Centro Internacional de Física (CIF) – in English, the International Centre of Physics – ranges from astrophysics and optics to biotechnology and materials science. Since its founding in 1985, the centre has advanced basic scientific understanding, but also has produced important applications to support industry and improve the lives of the people. If Colombia has achieved new heights of development, growth and competitiveness in recent years, the CIF can be considered a key part of that accomplishment. - Published in collaboration with the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS). 2013.
Located in Pakistan's financial centre and largest city, Karachi University's International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences (ICCBS) is one of the developing world's finest research and training centres in its field. It carries out research, training, product development and service delivery in the chemical, biological and biomedical sciences. - Published in collaboration with the Commission on Science and Technology for Sustainable Development in the South (COMSATS). 2011.
The Institute of Marine Sciences on Zanzibar has followed a long and arduous growth path, beginning in the 1950s as part of a multi-country East African Marine Fisheries Research Organization (EAMFRO). Today, IMS is emerging as one of the leading marine research institutes in sub-Saharan Africa, thanks to strong collaborative ties with international organizations. - Published in collaboration with the Science Initiative Group. 2011.
The Okavango Research Institute is a unit of the University of Botswana on the fringe of the Kalahari Desert in southern Africa. It is dedicated to the study and conservation of one of the world’s largest and most intact inland wetland ecosystems: the Okavango Delta. In recent years, the institute's mission has been expanded to include the cultural, social and economic problems of the Okavango region, broadening its mandate from simply acquiring and distributing knowledge to applying it. - Published in collaboration with the Science Initiative Group. 2011.
In Uganda, new farming techniques tailored to local conditions and challenges are being developed. Biotechnology is being harnessed to produce crop varieties resistant to pests. At the centre of this development is NARL, a research centre perched on a hill northwest of the country’s capital Kampala and a key component of Uganda’s vibrant agricultural research landscape. NARL is helping to build a brighter, healthier and wealthier future for all Ugandans. 2011.
In 1938 a trawler fishing the waters off South Africa’s eastern coast caught a coelacanth, a fish thought to have become extinct 65 million years ago. If not for the living fossil, it is doubtful whether Grahamstown would be the home of Africa’s foremost institute of ichthyology, the South African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity (SAIAB). Today, the institute is the continent’s undisputed leader in fish taxonomy; its collection of fish specimens attracts researchers from around the world. 2010.
The Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) is Tanzania’s foremost health research institution. IHI started out as a field research institute sponsored by the Swiss. Today, it is an organization so well equipped and staffed that it can win funding from donors based on its scientific excellence. TWAS asked Linda Nordling, a Cape Town based journalist, to visit the institution. The result is a 60-page illustrated monograph published in the series 'Excellence in Science: Profiles of Research Institutions in Developing Countries'. 2009.
The Institute of Medicinal Plant Development (IMPLAD) in Beijing, China, seeks to help ensure the continued existence of the valuable heritage of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) by applying the tools of modern science to ancient tradition. The principal aims of the IMPLAD are to protect, develop and utilize medicinal plant resources using modern scientific techniques. Published with support of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 2008.
Costa Rica is home to an estimated 500,000 species, including 40,000 species of beetles and 20,000 species of butterflies. The 'Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad' (INBio), or National Institute of Biodiversity, is one of the key organizations "to promote a greater awareness of the value of biodiversity as a means of ensuring its conservation and improving the quality of life". Published with support of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 2008.
For more than 40 years, the Malagasy Institute for Applied Research (IMRA) has been investigating Madagascar’s traditional medicines and food plants. Today, it is among Madagascar’s leading research institutions. It is by far the best-equipped centre in Madagascar dedicated to biodiversity conservation and the discovery of drugs from natural products. Published with support of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 2008.
While elsewhere in Africa the often-heated biotechnology debate continues to unfold, largely focused on genetically modified crops, researchers at the the Centre of Biotechnology of Sfax (CBS) are busy exploring biotechnology’s wider applications – in particular, seeking practical solutions to local and regional problems in agriculture, industry, health and the environment. Published with support of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 2008.
The Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI) in Lucknow is one of the 38 institutes and 80 field stations that make up India’s Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) – an organization that employs some 20,000 staff, 15,000 of whom are scientists and technicians. CDRI, dedicated to the discovery and development of new drugs, is playing its part in the successful transfer of basic research into commercial products. Published with support of The David and Lucile Packard Foundation. 2007.