The National Academy of Sciences, founded in 1960, is a self-governing autonomous learned society established under a presidential decree. Its main objective is to promote the development of science, technology and innovation. Its present by-laws allow for 56 members, of which at present 52 are appointed.
The Academy encourages scientific research by supporting members of the scientific community of Bolivia and carries out research activities and studies through its own institutes: the Energy Institute, the National Astronomical Observatory, the National Museum of Natural History, the Biomedical Institute, the Beni Biological Station, and the Centre for the Study of Science, Technology and Innovation. It also acts as an advisory body to government and the private sector. It has exchange agreements with several other academic institutions at the international level. It is the seat of the Bolivian Inventors Association, the Bolivian Association for Women in Science and the National Biotechnology Programme of Bolivia. It participates in the Global Change Programme, the Panamerican Institute of Geography and History, the InterAcademy Panel (IAP), the Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO), the International Foundation for Science (IFS), and several others.