Academies of sciences and their networks

National Academies of Sciences and learned societies exist in most countries and often also play a role as stakeholders in science diplomacy processes through their global networks. There are also several networks that bring them together, in themselves communities of practice for science advice and diplomacy. They also cooperate on joint research programmes and science advice.


ALLEA, the European Federation of Academies of Sciences and Humanities, is a network representing more than 50 academies from over 40 EU and non-EU countries, promotes science as a global public good and facilitates scientific collaboration across borders and disciplines.
An example for an individual academy the “Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina“, the German National Academy of Sciences. It scientifically reviews and addresses key issues of prospective significance to society. The Academy operates irrespective of political and economic objectives. Its findings are conveyed to policymakers and the public alike and are nationally and internationally advocated. It is also involved in SAPEA, a project that brings together more than 100 academies and learned societies to provide input in the frame of the European Science Advice Mechanism. Looking at Leopoldina, who has a dedicated webpage about its SD activities, the emphasis lies in using science to improve international relations, to defend human rights, to build bridges and participate in multilateral processes as well as to develop common strategies addressing global challenges. Examples that are specifically mentioned include the Human Rights Committee of the Leopoldina, which supports scientists all over the world who are subject to repression for no other reason than their scientific work; the Joint Science Conference of the Western Balkans Process / Berlin Process and participation in dedicated international advisory bodies such as the European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF) and the UN Secretary-General’s Scientific Advisory Board (UNSAB).

The Royal Society (UK) is a Fellowship of many of the world’s most eminent scientists and is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence. The Society’s fundamental purpose, reflected in its founding Charters of the 1660s, is to recognise, promote, and support excellence in science and to encourage the development and use of science for the benefit of humanity.

The World Academy of Science for Sciences (TWAS) for the advancement of science in developing countries – works to support sustainable prosperity through research, education, policy and diplomacy. TWAS is a global science academy based in Trieste, Italy. TWAS was founded in 1983 by a distinguished group of scientists from the developing world, under the leadership of Abdus Salam, the Pakistani physicist and Nobel laureate. They shared a belief that developing nations, by building strength in science and engineering, could build the knowledge and skill to address such challenges as hunger, disease and poverty. It provides for example scholarships and regular training, including on science diplomacy. From the start, the Academy received crucial support from Italian scientists and political leaders. TWAS is also a partner in the S4D4C project.

Visit sites: (ALLEA), (Leopoldina), (UK),

Further relevant knowledge resources: Please see the entry on the EU Scientific Advice Mechanism, Group of Chief Scientific Advisory and SAPEA or the European Science Advisors Forum (ESAF) and use the search function or filter for the topic “Science Advice”.

Keywords: Learned societies, Academies, Fellows and academicians, Policy and science advice, Multilateral fora, Training, Research grants, Publications, Back to List

Marie Croce

Posted by Marie Croce