Knowledge for Development


A selection of international S&T organizations.

Launched in June 2007, this is a global science gateway to science information from 15 national portals. The aim of this multilateral partnership is to accelerate scientific discovery and progress by enabling researchers to search many national and international scientific databases. Subsequent versions of will offer access to additional sources as well as enhanced features. is maintained by the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), within the U.S. Department of Energy, in partnership with the British Library and many other organizations.


World Foundation for Environment and Development (WFED)

World Foundation for Environment and Development (WFED) is an independent NGO based in Washington, DC, that promotes international cooperation and conflict resolution initiatives in the field of environment and development, and supports preventive environmental diplomacy. WFED provides services, projects and links to issue-specific websites, focusing on biodiversity, biotechnology, etc.


Users’ Perspectives with Agricultural Research and Development (UPWARD)

UPWARD is a network of scientists and development specialists working to increase participation by farmers and other users of agricultural technology in research and development. Launched in 1989 under the sponsorship of the International Potato Center (CIP), UPWARD seeks to address three important challenges facing agricultural research and development today – linking users and R&D professionals for more effective agricultural innovation; bringing sustained benefits to less favoured farming areas and marginalized groups, especially women; and working with households and local communities as key actors in research and learning activities.


United Nations Institute for Research on Social Development (UNRISD)

United Nations Institute for Research on Social Development (UNRISD) carries out research on the social dimensions of contemporary problems affecting development. The Technology, Business and Society programme draws on case studies and national and international debates to explore ways of encouraging more socially responsible use of science and technology in various fields, including biotechnology and genetic engineering. The Business Responsibility for Sustainable Development project is examining corporate social and environmental responsibility, including the effectiveness of 'voluntary initiatives' such as codes of conduct, social and environmental reporting, certification, labelling, corporate social investment and environmental management systems.


UNIDO Youth Entrepreneurship

The ILO estimates that around 88 million of young women and men are unemployed throughout the world, accounting for 47 per cent of 186 million unemployed persons globally. As one of the MDGs, developing and implementing strategies for decent and productive work for youth has become a major challenge for the global community as well as for governments, employers’ and workers’ organizations. Promoting entrepreneurship and enterprise creation is regarded as one way to increase youth employment, which will help alleviate the vicious cycle of poverty and social exclusion. The Youth Employment Network (YEN), a partnership between the UN, the World Bank and the ILO, promotes entrepreneurship as one of four global priority policy areas. Through its KAB coordination unit, SEED provides practical guidance for governments, social partners and educational institutions wishing to include entrepreneurship education in their agenda.


UNCTAD's Network of Centres of Excellence

The Network of Centres of Excellence involves scientific and technological institutions committed to strengthening links within the scientific community and increasing the mobility of scientists from developing countries, especially from Africa. To this end, the Network runs advanced and basic training courses for scientists and engineers in selected subject areas, such as biotechnologies and information and communication technologies (ICTs).


UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). In the area of research and technology, the Sustainable Development Department assists FAO Members to develop and maintain relevant, effective and efficient national agricultural research systems (NARS) to generate, adapt and transfer appropriate technologies for improved and sustainable production systems in agriculture, forestry and fisheries.


Third World Organization for Women in Science (TWOWS)

TWOWS is an independent, non-profit and non-governmental body based at the Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS) in Trieste, Italy. TWOWS is the first international forum to unite eminent women scientists from the South with the objective of strengthening their role in the development process and promoting their representation in scientific and technological leadership. TWOWS is working to: · Strengthen research efforts and training opportunities of young women scientists working and living in Third World countries. · Promote the recognition of the scientific and technological achievements of women · Improve access to educational and training for women in science and technology. · Increase the scientific productivity and efficiency of women scientists in the Third World. · Promote collaboration and communication among women scientists and technologists in the Third World and with the international scientific community as a whole. · Promote their participation in the decision-making processes, both at national and international levels. · Encourage other international organizations to increase their activities concerned with promoting the role of women in science and technology in the Third World.


Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO)

Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO) is an international NGO founded at the initiative of the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), by ministers of science and technology and higher education and heads of science academies and research councils in developing countries to promote science-based sustainable economic development. TWNSO's 154 members include 33 ministries of S&T and higher education, 45 science academies, 45 research councils and 31 other organizations in 74 countries.


Third World Network

Third World Network is an independent non-profit international network of organizations and individuals involved in development. The Biotechnology/Biosafety pages provide articles and reports on biotechnology, biosafety and genetic engineering. The Biodiversity, Access, Indigenous Knowledge and IPRs pages deal with the Convention on Biological Diversity, the TRIPS Agreement, biopiracy, etc.


The Global Partnership Initiative for Plant Breeding Capacity Building (GIPB)

The GIPB is a multi-party initiative of knowledge institutions with a track record in supporting agricultural R&D, working in partnership with country programmes committed to developing stronger and effective plant breeding capacity. As a partnership of stakeholders from the public, private and civil society sectors, the initiative aims to catalyze and support national, regional and global action among international organizations, foundations, universities and research institutes, the private sector, civil society associations, and national and regional bodies. The GIPB Knowledge Resource Center includes a portal to key information in areas such as training opportunities, access to conventional and molecular breeding technologies and genetic resources, information on breeding programmes and links. The portal will provide access to information in formats that is accessible and organized to meet the needs of breeders in developing country programmes, as well as of national plant breeding capacity building efforts.


Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD)

The SARD database is a collection of cases, lessons and successful stories documented through interviews and field assessments by stakeholders in Africa, Latin America and Asia. Each practice pays particular attention to innovative elements, success factors and outstanding issues, while highlighting the environmental, social and economic benefits. The practices are sorted by region and by the FAO Best Practice themes. This effort adds value to and updates existing databases of SARD good practices such as those reviewed elsewhere on the site.


Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI)

SEI has established the Biotechnology Advisory Center (BAC) to help meet the challenge of biosafety capacity building in developing countries. BAC experts offer advice to national and regional governments in order to nurture scientific and technical knowledge; to enhance access to worldwide information systems and a network of science experts; and to maximize the utilization of this information by national authorities. Recognising that achieving technical competence in biosafety implementation is critical prerequisite for the safe application of biotechnology, the BAC supports developing countries through: training, independent advice and biosafety and biotechnology information exchange. The BAC has also developed the East African Regional Programme and Research Network for Biotechnology, Biosafety and Biotechnology Policy Development (BIO-EARN).


SEED Initiative - Supporting Entrepreneurs in Environment and Development

This initiative of UNEP, UNDP and IUCN aims to inspire, support and build the capacity of locally driven entrepreneurial partnerships in developing countries. The initiative focuses on innovative action delivering real solutions through project cooperation among businesses, local and international NGOs, women's groups, labour organizations, public authorities and UN agencies. Through an international award scheme, intensive capacity-building activities and a research programme, the Initiative will stimulate and build the capacity of entrepreneurial partnerships executing action on the ground; create a conduit for investment in partnerships; disseminate good practice and lessons learned to inspire further new partnerships; and generate evidence-based research to assist policy makers.


Scientists without Borders

Science has never been more global; its success depends on international collaborations and cooperation. With this observation as a guiding principle, the Academy has inaugurated the Scientists Without Borders program. The venture aims to address health and other problems in the developing world by bringing together scientists from disparate specialties, organizations and locations. The scientific community has tremendous potential for promoting global health, agricultural progress, environmental well-being, energy needs, and other pressing issues, yet it lacks an institution that can play an overarching role in mobilizing its members and organizations for these benefits. Such an institution is needed now more than ever, with the growing realization that integrated rather than narrow approaches are crucial for addressing key challenges such as extreme poverty and the glaring health problems that accompany it. Guided by the MDGs and in collaboration with a network of institutions and individuals in the developing and the developed world, the Academy is creating such a body. Under the Scientists Without Borders umbrella, organizations and people can come together in new ways to deliver an impact that they could not have achieved independently.


Science Initiative Group, Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University

The Science Initiative Group (SIG) is an international team of scientific leaders and supporters dedicated to fostering science in developing countries. SIG serves as facilitator and catalyst for the Millennium Science Initiative (MSI), bringing together groups whose involvement is needed to establish a country or regional MSI and providing scientific guidance and oversight. SIG works closely with The World Bank, local scientific communities and governments to adapt the MSI model to each country's particular situation, and then to assemble an appropriate financing package. SIG is also spearheading the establishment of the Global Science Corps, which will send scientists to train and collaborate with their counterparts in developing countries. Its newest project is the Regional Initiative in Science and Education (RISE), which emphasizes the establishment of training networks for scientists in sub-Saharan Africa. In an effort to foster cooperation among initiatives with complementary objectives, the SIG board and staff work with other institutions engaged in S&T capacity building. Among its informal collaborations, SIG is lending its expertise to the implementation of recommendations in the report of the InterAcademy Council, Inventing a Better Future: A Strategy for Building Worldwide Capacities in Science and Technology, and SIG board members serve on the Independent Scientific Advisory Board of the African Institute of Science and Technology (AIST).



SciDev.Net is a free-access news network reporting on and discussing those aspects of science and technology that are relevant to sustainable development and the social and economic needs of developing countries. Documents, news, policy briefs, opinions and features are contained in thematic dossiers, in English, French and Spanish. SciDev.Net is sponsored by the journals Nature and Science, in association with the Third World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), and supported by DFID, SIDA and IDRC.


Resources Centres for Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF)

The RUAF Foundation aims to contribute to urban poverty reduction, employment generation and food security and to stimulate participatory city governance and improved urban environmental management. The new RUAF website provides an overview of RUAF activities and the products generated by the RUAF partners (including the Cities Farming for the Future programme. The site features databases of documents, donors (including those that fund programmes which include urban agriculture activities), contacts and experts, urban agriculture magazines in seven languages, weblinks, etc.


Research Into Use (RIU) programme

RIU is the first programme under DFID's new Strategy for Research on Sustainable Agriculture (SRSA). It marks a shift in emphasis away from the generation of new knowledge to the ways in which knowledge is put to use. There is enormous potential for agricultural and natural resources research to reduce poverty, promote economic growth and mitigate environmental problems – and thus contribute to the MDGs. However, much of that potential remains unrealized, in part because of the difficulties of scaling up the results of research, i.e. multiplying them on a large scale. It is this twin challenge – scaling up and learning about scaling up – that the RIU programme has been established to meet. The programme will run from July 2007 to June 2011.