Capacity Building
Associate Programme

Contributing to the development of chemistry and chemical engineering in Member States, with special emphasis on chemical safety

Scientists, chemical engineers, and technological specialists from Member States whose economies are developing or in transition are invited to take part in a capacity-building project to enhance their knowledge of the Chemical Weapons Convention and to develop the skills necessary to operate in a modern chemistry environment.

The course prepares participants for technical assignments within the Technical Secretariat and positions related to the implementation of the Convention, in their home countries.  

The programme is conducted over nine weeks, each year, and is comprised of practical and theoretical modules.


  • To facilitate national implementation of the Convention related to the chemical industry.

  • To offer training in areas related to chemistry and chemical engineering to personnel from industry, universities, and the government.

  • To facilitate trade in these areas through adoption of good practices in chemical industry.

  • To broaden the talent pool for positions related to industry in National Authorities, institutions, and economic positions in Member States as well as in the Secretariat.

Course Content

  • Induction segment: Welcoming participants and providing an overview of the Convention and various aspects of the OPCW. This takes place at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
  • University segment: Chemical engineering skills development. This segment takes place in weeks 2-4 at a well-known university in the territory of a Member State.
  • Intermediate segment: Conducting practical exercises and visits to specialised institutions. This segment takes place at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague.
  • Industrial attachment: Training in industrial operations. This attachment gives participants exposure to industry working environments and takes place in weeks 6-8 at various chemical plants.

    Contributing to the peaceful uses of chemistry is a shared responsibility for all OPCW Member States.

    By offering training to participants in areas related to chemical safety and security, industry directly supports the implementation of the Convention in developing countries and countries with economies in transition. This actively supports The Responsible Care® initiative.
  • Final segment: Presentations of industrial assignments, research projects, and a final programme review. This segment takes place at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague. 


Funding covers costs related to travel, accommodation, meals, course fees, and medical and travel insurance for all participants for the duration of the course.



Now in its 21st year, the OPCW Associate Programme has evolved into a major international training programme conducted in Asia, Europe as well as in Latin America and the Caribbean to foster the economic and technological development of OPCW Member States.

As of 2020, 545 alumni from 121 countries have qualified from the OPCW Associate Programme.


Poovadee Tuchinda, a chemical engineer from Thailand

“Until recently, terms like ‘chemical weapons’ and the ‘OPCW’ did not mean much to me. They were obscure and unrelated to my day-to-day life.

After joining the 2017 OPCW Associate Programme, I have learned that science can be a double-edged sword: common chemicals used for making cough drops or fertiliser can be used to make bombs, or even mustard gas, if they fall into the wrong hands.

This programme has explained how collaborating and supporting each other can [result in] complex endeavours like chemical disarmament.

I am proud to be part of this journey”


Mohamed Hachem Saadaoui, a chemical engineer from Tunisia

“The University segment of the Associate Programme has been pivotal to my development as an aspiring chemical expert and toxicologist. I am enjoying every minute of it!

I especially appreciate the opportunity to build both my “hard” and “soft” skills.

On the one hand, I am becoming much more competent in chemical engineering, and on the other, I am growing as a leader and as a team player.

I am definitely developing into a more well-rounded professional.”