Pacific Science Association

News from around the pacific

Science and technology news from, or related to, the Asia-Pacific region.

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New Website for Future Earth

Future Earth announces new Secretariat

New ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women

New ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Pilot Program


New Website for Future Earth

Future Earth now has its own dedicated website.

Future Earth is the global research platform providing the knowledge and support to accelerate our transformations to a sustainable world.

Bringing together existing programmes on global environmental change (DIVERSITAS, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP), theInternational Human Dimensions Programme (IHDP) and the World Climate Research Programme (WCRP).), Future Earth will be an international hub to coordinate new, interdisciplinary approaches to research on three themes: Dynamic Planet, Global Development and Transformations towards Sustainability. It will also be a platform for international engagement to ensure that knowledge is generated in partnership with society and users of science. It is open to scientists of all disciplines, natural and social, as well as engineering, the humanities and law.

Professor Frans Berkhout is the interim Director, and the Science Committee is chaired by Dr Mark Stafford Smith, with Vice-Chairs Professor Melissa Leach and Dr Belinda Reyers.   

It is sponsored by the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability comprising the International Council for Science (ICSU), the International Social Science Council (ISSC), the Belmont Forum of funding agencies, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations University (UNU), and the World Meteorological Organization as an observer. 

The Pacific Science Association has been a strong supporter of the Future Earth initiative since its inception, and participates in many of its Asia and the Pacific regional planning meetings.


Future Earth announces new Secretariat

Future Earth has announced the formation of its new Secretariat, with a unique and innovative structure spanning three continents.

The FE Secretariat will be comprised of five global hubs which will function as a single entity. The five hubs are located in Canada (Montreal), France (Paris), Japan (Tokyo), Sweden (Stockholm) and the United States (Colorado).

The Secretariat will be formed by an international consortium of several lead organisations:  Montreal International (Montreal, Canada), the Ministry of Higher Education and Research (Paris, France), the Science Council of Japan (Tokyo, Japan), Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (Stockholm Sweden), and in Colorado, USA, the University of Colorado (Boulder) and Colorado State University (Fort Collins). This is complemented by regional hubs co-ordinated by the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (for Latin America), the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature (for Asia), the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research (for Europe) and The Cyprus Institute (for the Middle East and North Africa). Discussions to develop an African hub are underway, with plans in other regions also under consideration.

The Secretariat consortium notes that “This is an innovative model for traditional academic approaches to research and engagement, but one increasingly adopted throughout the private sector, because a globalized world demands innovative and collaborative approaches. We believe a globally distributed leadership model will serve the international community best in advancing new knowledge and novel approaches to solve humanity’s most pressing global sustainability challenges.” They are currently working with the Alliance to refine details of their proposal ahead of agreeing a Memorandum of Understanding. Members of the consortium are also in discussion with the Future Earth Interim Secretariat and the Science and Engagement Committees in order to plan a smooth transition, with a view to becoming operational by the end of 2014.

More information, key contacts, and statements from members of the Alliance are available on the ICSU website. More information on Future Earth can be found on the Future Earth website, and follow them on Facebook or Twitter to be the first to hear about new stories from their blog and to find out the latest news from the initiative.


ASEAN Science Prize for Women

The U.S. Department of State in partnership with UL (Underwriters Laboratories) is excited to join with the ASEAN Committee of Science and Technology to strengthen ASEAN science and technical capacity through an ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women. The 2014 Prize will provide a promising, ASEAN-based, early-career woman scientist whose research focuses on water quality research with a $25,000 USD award and separate provision of travel/lodging to attend an award ceremony on August 25 at the 2014 ASEAN Science and Technology Week in Bogor, Indonesia. The 2014 Prize supports water quality research aimed at improving the availability of clean and safe drinking water in the ASEAN region and encourages intra-ASEAN and ASEAN-U.S. collaboration on water quality research.  The application and selection period runs from March 1 – May 15.  Interested applicants should contact Christin Kjelland, for more information on how to apply.

Read more on the InnovASEAN website.


ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Pilot Program

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has announced a new fellowship program, the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Pilot Program. Modeled on the AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellowships program and the brainchild of both an alumna fellow and a former mentor, the launch signals clear progress toward the goal of ensuring that science informs policy among the member states that comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The inaugural class of eight fellows focuses on biodiversity, climate change, early warning for disaster risk reduction, and health and water management in Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. ASEAN fellows are mentored by current or alumni AAAS Fellows. Expected outputs include policy briefs, papers, presentations, blogs and events.

Read more on the AAAS website.