External Activities Unit

Building sustainable science in the developing world

ICTP is actively involved in building scientific capacity in the developing world through its External Activities Unit (EAU).

The EAU promotes scientific cooperation in developing countries through its support of scientific meetings, networks, affiliated centres, and visiting scholars. EAU activities are initiated by scientists and scientific institutions in the developing world and are carried out at sites located within the region. Its purpose is threefold:

  • To initiate, stimulate or make applicable research and training in the fields of physics and/or mathematics related to locally available resources or local problems of specific relevance to the development of the region.
  • To form and strengthen national and regional communities and research groups by supporting institutions or national societies for physicists and mathematicians at all levels.
  • To enhance physics and mathematics teaching.

Assistance is carried out within the following schemes:

  • Affiliated Centres: The precise form of the collaboration between ICTP and the Affiliated Centre may vary depending on the specific needs of the Affiliated Centre. It may focus on research, training, or a combination of both. The idea is to make use of as many ICTP programmes and offices as possible in order to have maximum impact in the field in research or training in the region.

    In particular, postgraduate programmes, PhD and early career scientists may be supported  and they may also be enrolled in the ICTP/IAEA Sandwich Training Education Programme (STEP) and Associate Programmes, respectively. This means that these scientists would have the possibility to visit ICTP for extended periods, and collaborate with their ICTP co-supervisors/collaborators. The Affiliated Centres therefore offer a point of focus of a number of different ICTP programmes which will work in unison. The Affiliated Centre may also benefit exclusively from the new International Master programme (currently available for Mathematics).

  • Network Programme: An ICTP Network is a system of research groups in an entire region, or among different regions, that pursue a common scientific project over an extended period.
  • Scientific Meetings: EAU encourages the organization of international and regional scientific meetings in developing countries by offering financial assistance to the organizers of conferences, workshops, and schools.
  • Visiting Scholars/Consultants: This programme promotes collaboration between scientists in developing countries and leading scientists throughout the world. The Visiting Scholar/Consultant is required to make at least two research visits over three years, each lasting at least a month, during which they are expected to carry out joint research with their counterparts and deliver lectures in their fields of expertise.


  • Affiliated Centres: An Institute or University Department in a developing country that has or is planning to develop postgraduate programmes in Physics, Mathematics or related fields may submit their application through the online application form available here: https://e-applications.ictp.it/applicant/login/3645. A sample completed application is available here (PDF) download).
  • Network Programme: Institutes or individuals in developing countries with common scientific interests who agree upon a well-defined joint project that emphasizes collaboration and the sharing of expertise and facilities.
  • Scientific Meetings: Institutions in developing countries that want to organize international and regional scientific meetings in developing countries.
  • Visiting Scholars/Consultants: Institutes or research groups in a developing country requiring expert advice to enhance existing activities or to initiate a new research programme.


  • For Affiliated Centres: The maximum duration of the programme is to be 3+3 years (renewal possibility after 3 years only after careful evaluation). After the second term of 3 years no further renewal is possible. The funds for each year have to be approved based on a successful implementation of the programme and review.
  • For other programmes: 3 years for Visiting Scholars; length of other programmes vary.

FIELDS OF STUDY/ RESEARCH: Physics, mathematics and related fields.


  • Affiliated Centres: ICTP will provide a yearly grant to the approved Affiliated Centre of up to 30,000 Euros per year.
  • Network Programme: ICTP contributes towards travel expenses of scientists who belong to network to visit other member institutes. Grants can be offered to young scientists to work for extended periods at institutes that are part of the network.
  • Scientific Meetings: Grants are offered for In Person Meetings or Online Meetings in the fields of physics and mathematics. The level of funding awarded to organize an In Person Meeting is up to a maximum of Euro 5000, and the level of funding awarded to organize an Online Meeting is up to a maximum of Euro 600.
  • Visiting Scholars/Consultants: Travel costs of the visiting scientist to travel to and from the host institution. The amount provided depends on the application, but usually does not exceed Euro 2500 for each visit.


  • Affiliated Centres: 31 July 2022
  • Network Programme: 15 January
  • Visiting Scholars/Consultants: 31 May or 30 September
  • Scientific Meetings: 31 May for meetings to be held during January-April of the following year; 30 September for meetings to be held during May-August of the following year; 31 January for meetings to be held during September-December of the same year.

External Activities Unit (ex OEA)
Strada Costiera 11
I-34151 Trieste, Italy
Phone: (+39) 040 2240 553
Fax: (+39) 040 2240 443
Email: oea@ictp.it