The Federated Institutes programme (formerly the Federation Scheme) was founded in 1966 at ICTP.
The idea of Federation Agreements originated from the desire of nearby universities and scientific institutions (Universities of Graz, Ljubljana, Zagreb and Prague) to take part in the activities organized at ICTP. An arrangement was devised whereby institutions could send young scientists to ICTP for a fixed number of days per year. The Centre contributed with a small per diem while the travel expenses were borne by the home institutions. (The agreements were signed by the Director of ICTP on behalf of the IAEA and UNESCO and the Director of the Institutions with the approval of the Foreign Ministries.)
To make good use of the scheme, ICTP kept the institutions informed of its activities and of the outstanding scientific visitors expected.
The scheme immediately proved to be a great success. It established fruitful links of co-operation between ICTP and many small and new institutions through the exchange of scientists and scientific information. Young and promising scientists profited from ICTP's programme while in turn they contributed to its scientific atmosphere.
Following this initial success, there were numerous requests from other institutions, especially from developing countries rather more distant from ICTP, to establish Federation Agreements. It was therefore decided to modify the format of the scheme somewhat, in order that the Centre could make all possible efforts to draw its attention to and make the necessary actions in favour of the poorest of the developing countries which might still profit from the Centre's activities.
The Federation Scheme was devised to provide an effective and long-lasting impact in favour of scientific communities in the developing world.