Science to support Southeast Asia economic strategy

September 07, 2023

The Australian Academy of Science has welcomed Australia’s 2040 Southeast Asia Economic Strategy as an opportunity to deepen science and technology regional partnerships that underpin priority areas.

The strategy announced by the Australian Prime Minister at the ASEAN-Indo-Pacific Forum in Jakarta comes ahead of global meetings in Malaysia in October that will bring together prominent scientists and decisionmakers to assess regional preparedness for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and address sustainability challenges.

Academy President and Co-Chair of the Council for the International Science Council Regional Focal Point for Asia and the Pacific (ISC RFP-AP), Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, said that Australia is fostering scientific leadership and partnerships within the region that will support priority areas in the government’s Economic Strategy including agriculture and food, resources, green energy transition, skills, healthcare, and the digital economy.

“The Economic Strategy is yet another demonstration of the Australian Government’s commitment to our region and builds on their strategic commitment to establish the ISC RFP-AP,” Professor Jagadish said.

The ISC RFP-AP is designed to grow scientific capability and to build robust and trusted research partnerships across the region, which underpin collaboration and accelerate economic growth.

“Harnessing the vast knowledge and innovation within the Southeast Asia science network is key to supporting the areas identified in Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy,” Professor Jagadish said.

Fourteen countries are meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 5 October to discuss national science ecosystems for AI. The workshop is being held by the Centre for Science Futures, a think tank of the ISC, in collaboration with the Australian Academy of Science and the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia.

On 6 October, the Australian Academy of Science and its Malaysian counterpart will also host a pivotal Global Knowledge Dialogue that will focus on how to progress the role of science in achieving Sustainable Development Goals in Asia and the Pacific.

“We need to bring the Asia-Pacific region into focus on the international dialogue on how we can live and thrive within our planetary boundaries,” Professor Jagadish said.

“AI will have a role to play, and our region is at the forefront of the AI revolution, so the Global Knowledge Dialogue is a timely gathering.”

Amongst the 55 science institutions taking part in the Global Knowledge Dialogue are: Thailand Science, Research and Innovation (TSRI); National Research Council of the Philippines (NRCP); Philippine Social Science Council (PSSC); Indonesian Young Academy of Science (ALMI); Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations (VUSTA); and Universiti Malaya.

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