Launch of ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women

For Immediate Release

Thursday, May 4, 2017
Janice Laurente

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global safety science company, has launched the third annual ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women.

The 2017 prize will recognize a female scientist from the ASEAN region. The winner will receive a $20,000 award and recognition during the 2017 ASEAN ministerial meeting on science and technology hosted in Myanmar. Candidates should be 40 years of age or younger at the time of submission with an area of expertise related to this year’s theme. Applications and nominations will be accepted at until June 23, 2017.

Rapid urbanization is a trend affecting cities around the world, particularly cities in Southeast Asia, due to increased economic investments in the region. This trend of massive growth does not come without challenges, like increased pressure on infrastructure and public service systems, disease spread, and shocks resulting from natural disasters.

Jakarta for example, is one of the most populated cities in the region with 10.3 million inhabitants. Due to this large and increasing population, Jakarta topped the list of cities with the world’s worst traffic congestion in 2015 according to a new index created by motor oil company, Castrol.  The city also experiences regular floods that, in the last few weeks alone, forced nearly 20,000 people from their homes according to the National Disaster Mitigation Agency. The United Nations also predicts a trend of 50-60% increase in population in smaller cities like Denpasar and Batam.

To help mitigate these challenges, this year’s prize will center on urban resilience with a focus on health, transportation and infrastructure, and workforce safety.

“I encourage Indonesian women scientists to apply,” said USAID ASEAN Principal Officer Erin McKee. “The United States wants to recognize and reward talented early-career women working in applied science from the ASEAN region who are striving to improve the safety, sustainability, and security of cities in the face of rapid urbanization.”

“We must recognize and encourage scientists to continue their work towards resilience and improving the safety and wellbeing of the fast-growing urban populations,” said Barb Guthrie, Chief Public Safety Officer, UL.

“Through their work, these women help cities harness the positive effects of rapid urbanization for the benefit of all residents of ASEAN region. Advances in applied sciences promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Southeast Asia,” said Cheong Lee Sing, Head of Science and Technology Division, ASEAN Secretariat.

The ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women is one of the many U.S. initiatives in support of ASEAN and its 10 Member States. The U.S. partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, expand maritime cooperation, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunity for women, and address transnational challenges. Through USAID’s cooperation with ASEAN, the U.S. addresses the root causes of poverty and instability and help lay the foundation for  prosperity and security. The U.S. and ASEAN celebrate 40 years of partnership in 2017.