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TWAS Newsletter
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TWAS launches online applications

TWAS launches online applications

TWAS is introducing new online forms for research grant applicants that will bring ease and efficiency to the application process. In coming months, the new technology will be available across all Academy programmes and meetings.

TWAS this week launched new online applications for its popular research grants, and over the next year the new system will be implemented for every TWAS programme and meeting. The technology is expected to dramatically improve the efficiency of the application process, making it simpler, smoother, and faster for both applicants and TWAS staff.

Grant applicants formerly had to collect individual forms and coordinate with TWAS staff, sending the forms via email, one at a time. But with the TWAS Online Forms system, the process can be handled without paper. 

Apply for a TWAS grant. The deadline is 31 May 2016.

"We are very excited to begin implementation of our new TWAS Online Forms system," said Executive Director Romain Murenzi. "This is going to create an easier, more efficient process for all  of our applications and registrations, and it is going to create major new efficiencies in our internal operations. This really is a dream come true, and we owe great thanks to the Academy's leaders and staff."
As the new digital application platform comes fully online, new-member nominations, fellowship applications and meeting registration all will be processed through the platform. 

The system was created by Interfase, a design and communications strategy firm based in Trieste, Italy. "These online forms will have a huge impact on TWAS's daily processes," said Interfase Project Manager Ruggero Bonora. "We're proud to have helped TWAS build a system that sets a new standard, and that will give users an state-of-the-art experience appropriate for a major global innovation organisation."

Using the system, applicants visit the web page for a given research grant; after reading terms and requirements, they click 'Apply Now' at the bottom of the page. The process starts with registration and creation of an account, using an email address and a personalized login. 

Applicants fill in the form and can download related materials; if needed, they can save their work and return to it later. When the application is complete, they can submit it with a single click. If the form is incomplete, the system will tell the applicant what they are missing. Referees on applications will be able to use the system as well. 

Research grants organized by TWAS provide essential scientific equipment to researchers in countries where financial resources for science are scarce. Some of the grants allow labs to use funding to provide tuition and living expenses to master’s degree students who work in the lab, creating an opportunity for senior scientists to guide young researchers from developing countries into promising careers. 

In 2016, the grant programme is expected to divide and distribute about USD1.1 million total to scientists in the developing world through 85 to 95 grant awards. The grants are typically in high demand and receive about 400 applicants per year. They are split into four categories. 

TWAS Research Grants for Individuals provide up to USD15,000 to young researchers in 81 developing countries identified by the Academy as lagging in science and technology. TWAS Research Grants for Groups provide up to USD30,000 to small research groups in those same countries, who have at least one master’s-level student under their supervision. TWAS Research Grants for Consortia provides up to USD20,000 to a research consortium. All three of those programmes are supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). 

TWAS also manages the TWAS-COMSTECH Joint Research Grants programme, which awards up to USD15,000 to scientists in members states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). It is supported by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation (COMSTECH)

All four grant programmes share the same application deadline: 31 May. Decisions on awardees are expected by the end of August.

Sean Treacy