Office of External Activities

Building sustainable science in the developing world

ICTP is actively involved in building scientific capacity in the developing world through its Office of External Activities (OEA).

The OEA promotes scientific cooperation in developing countries through its support of scientific meetings, networks, affiliated centres, projects and visiting scholars. OEA 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: Institutes or university departments of physics or mathematics that carry out a specific, long-term research project on a definite subject with well-defined purposes can become ICTP Affiliated Centres. Affiliated Centres have a regional character and are strongly supported by the local authorities and the hosting institute.
  • Projects: OEA Projects include support for specific PhD courses as well as for activities that do not fit the category of Affiliated Centres.
  • 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: OEA 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.
  • Collaborations: The OEA collaborates with other institutions in promoting research and training in physics and mathematics in developing countries. In particular, there are collaborations with the Centro Latino-Americano de Física (CLAF) that include research exchange visits and sandwich PhD programmes.


  • Affiliated Centres: An institute or university department of physics or mathematics in a developing country that agrees to carry out a specific long-term research project on a definite subject with well defined purposes
  • Projects: Developing country university physics or mathematics departments, or individual scientists, especially those in less developed countries
  • 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

3 years for Affiliated Centres and Visiting Scholars; length of other programmes vary

FIELDS OF STUDY/ RESEARCH: Physics or mathematics


  • Affiliated Centres: Funding determined by scope of project
  • Projects: Scientific advice and financial support towards the establishment of new PhD courses in physics or mathematics; support towards fellowships for young scientists from less developed countries to work in institutions in more advanced developing countries in their region
  • 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 meetings in the fields of physics and mathematics. The level of funding awarded to organize a meeting is up to a maximum of Euro 5,000
  • 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 2,500 for each visit


  • 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

Offices of External Activities
Strada Costiera 11
I-34151 Trieste, Italy
Phone: (+39) 040 2240 323 or 322
Fax: (+39) 040 2240 443