ASEAN, U.S. Partner for Improved Science-based Policy Making

For Immediate Release

Friday, April 4, 2014

JAKARTA, April 7, 2014 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United States today launched a program to place scientists in ASEAN ministries and help the region’s countries make greater use of science to improve public policy and support national development..

Managed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in partnership with the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Pilot Program will support eight scientists as they work for one year in their home country ministries to expand the use of science and technology to analyze existing data in decision making.

"As ASEAN continues its community-building process, there is a significant role for science and technology to inform policy choices in many disciplines," said ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community Deputy Secretary General Alicia dela Rosa Bala at the inauguration ceremony. 

The academic fellows will work in the fields of biodiversity, climate change, early warning for disaster risk reduction, health, and water management. They will be assigned to the Ministry of Research and Technology in Indonesia, the Ministry of Transport in Myanmar, the Department of Science and Technology in the Philippines, the National Science and Technology Development Agency in Thailand and the Ministry of Science and Technology in Vietnam. 

During four days of orientation last week, the fellows and their future supervisors learned from experts how to make science and technology accessible to policy makers in Southeast Asia to strengthen regional cooperation in such areas as biodiversity conservation. The fellows also prepared action plans on how to work within their ministries. 

"The United States is pleased to partner with the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology and the ASEAN Secretariat to begin this exciting program," said Timothy Hefner, Chargé d'Affaires of the U.S. Mission to ASEAN.

The program is modeled on the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science and Technology Policy Fellowship Program in the United States.  In 40 years, that program has placed over 2,600 scientists in U.S. government departments and agencies. 

“This new ASEAN program aligns closely with USAID’s ongoing work to advance science, technology, innovation and partnerships for greater development,” said Michael Yates, director of USAID’s Regional Development Mission for Asia. With leadership from the new U.S. Global Development Lab launched last week, USAID will continue to look for ways science can help build resilient societies while fighting extreme poverty in Asia and around the globe.

The Lab will support breakthrough solutions in water, health, food security and nutrition, energy, education, and climate change, reaching 200 million people in the next five years. To advance this approach, USAID is also increasing the number of scientists and technology experts in the Agency, including 65 AAAS fellows.

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Last updated: October 22, 2014

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