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What is OWSD?

The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World

The Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD) is an international non-profit organization based at the offices of The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS), in Trieste, Italy, a programme unit of UNESCO. 

OWSD was founded in 1987 and is the first international forum to unite eminent women scientists from the developing and developed worlds with the objective of strengthening their role in the development process and promoting their representation in scientific and technological leadership.

OWSD provides research training, career development and networking opportunities for women scientists throughout the developing world at different stages in their careers.

Our main programmes are:

  • Scholarships called 'OWSD Fellowships' for women scientists from least developed countries to study for Postgraduate (PhD) degrees  in another developing country
  • Awards to recognise and celebrate early career women scientists who have made significant contributions to research and education in their scientific field

In addition, OWSD provides support to women scientists throughout their careers:


  • Networking. OWSD has over 4,000 members (you can become a member and meet each other here on this website). Over 90% of OWSD members are women living and working in developing countries who have Masters or Doctorates in science subjects.  Each member has the potential to contribute significantly to the technological advancement and economic growth of their countries. OWSD members can network face to face through activities organised by OWSD National Chapters, or through regional and international conferences, as well as online through this website. To apply for membership click here.


  • Career Development. As you progress from undergraduate science through to PhD research, to postdoctoral studies and beyond, you can draw on OWSD members' experience and expertise to help you through to the next stage of your career. You can attend regional and international conferences and seminars in your research field, develop writing and presentation skills, sign up to get help from a mentor, learn what it takes to become a leader or negotiate better conditions in your department. One day you might be in a position to persuade government ministers, policymakers and heads of department that the knowledge and needs of women should be considered in the design of research projects and that women should be trained in how to use new technologies and products that could transform their working and family lives.