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Our History

From a humble beginning to international reknown


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In 1964, Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam established ICTP in Trieste, Italy. Inspired by his conviction that science is the common heritage of humankind, Salam secured the support of the Italian government, the UN, and the IAEA as founding sponsors.

From that moment, ICTP has become an international scientific hub of excellence linking scientists from developing countries with their colleagues worldwide, overcoming intellectual isolation and helping build a strong scientific base around the world so that all countries can play their rightful role in the global science community and in the family of nations.

The choice of Trieste, a strategically located city in Italy whose history has been defined by shifting political boundaries, symbolizes ICTP’s commitment to international cooperation through science. This commitment was reinforced when UNESCO designated ICTP as a Category 1 institute to build scientific capacity in developing countries.

Past Directors

Abdus Salam

1964 to 1993

Luciano Bertocchi

1994 - 1995 (Acting Director)

Miguel Virasoro

1995 - 2002

Erio Tosatti

2002 - 2003 (Acting Director)

Katepalli R. Sreenivasan

2003 - 2009

Fernando Quevedo

2009 - 2019