Resolutions of the 22nd Pacific Science Congress
17 June 2011
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
This resolution is endorsed by the Pacific Science Association (PSA), the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the Academy of Sciences, Malaysia (ASM) as the organizers of the 22nd Pacific Science Congress held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 14 – 17 June 2011. This document is intended to lay out important general directions for the roles, growth and development of science in Asia and the Pacific in the 21st Century, and reflects the commitment and strong engagement of the organizers in ensuring that science develops sustainably and equitably in the Asia-Pacific region. As in other resolutions it is normative and could be adapted to national or regional specificities and serve many different purposes.
The Organisers of the 22nd Pacific Science Congress:
Recalling the theme of the Congress “Asia-Pacific Science in the 21st Century: Meeting the Challenges of Global Change”, and recognising the critical role of science, technology and innovation in developing solutions for the problems facing the world today, and for the development of nations in an ever changing world,
Recognising that the countries of the Asia-Pacific region are expected to be major contributors to scientific research within the next 25 years,
Acknowledging that science is inherently global, and international collaboration and cooperation is essential to successful outcomes, and
Stressing that science must be used for the benefit of society and all nations in Asia and the Pacific have the responsibility to contribute to and benefit from scientific efforts,
Calls upon the scientific community, governments, the business and industry community, non-governmental and community-based organisations in Asia and the Pacific and elsewhere to:
- Recognise that science, technology and engineering have critical roles to play in developing solutions for the problems facing the Asia-Pacific region today and in the future. A new focus on human security is needed alongside concerns for national security. Human security focuses on the full spectrum of individual livelihoods and community well-being. These are being challenged increasingly by the interconnected problems of climate change, food and energy, as well as the complex and wide-ranging obstacles to growth and development in Asia and the Pacific, with aspects that are unique to the region. More holistic, comprehensive and integrative mind-sets are needed to fully develop and implement realistic and practical solutions. Research applications are especially needed in climate science, biodiversity and ecosystem services, marine science and oceanography, earth system science and integrated disaster risk management, population and urbanization, agriculture and water resource access, new energy technologies, sustainable resource use, and human health and well-being. These needs are particularly acute in urban areas where population growth is increasingly concentrated. More inclusive approaches to research will enhance the role of science in the emerging “green economy” and in institutional reforms necessary for human security.
- Increase and improve the involvement of scientists in the communication of science to the general public. The scientific community has a responsibility to understand public attitudes toward science and technology and to engage in public discussions. The use of new communication tools and media such as social media creates unprecedented opportunities to link scientists and their work to the non-scientific community, and to disseminate scientific research findings and their potential application. Scientists should embrace these new media technologies.
- Improve the development of critical thinking skills across society. Improved public access to information also increases access to misinformation. Enabling people to better evaluate various truth claims about the empirical world is increasingly important. Wisdom comes from integrated knowledge that is applied using higher-order thinking about problems. Science can help contextualize various forms of knowledge (both traditional, spiritual/moral, and science itself) in a way that forms the basis for higher levels of wisdom that is needed to help society solve pressing problems effectively and equitably. Greater public understanding of science and better access to research results will strengthen links between science and policy, thereby improving the planning and implementation of programmes for economic development and poverty alleviation throughout Asia and the Pacific.
- Ensure the integrity of scientific research in the region. Scientists and others should take the issues of accuracy, transparency, accountability, and openness with the utmost seriousness, responsibility, and integrity. It is critically important that the scientific community embraces these principles so that scientific research results are recognized as authoritative and valued by society as a whole.
- Applaud the increasing participation of women in science and technology in the region, and support moves to ensure that both men and women play significant and equal roles in the future of science in the Asia-Pacific.
- Encourage the development of the next generation of scientists in the region through ensuring access to educational opportunities, enabling their participation in research activities, national and international meetings and exchanges, and international collaboration in training and capacity-development programmes. The number of full-time researchers entering academic, research and industrial positions should be increased.
- Encourage the free movement of scientific talent within the region to foster the exchange of information and skills necessary for capacity development in less developed countries. At the same time, innovative funding and reward structures in academic and research institutions should be explored to provide greater incentives for scientific and technological talent to remain within countries where it is urgently needed to help address national and regional development challenges.
- Embrace and adopt the principles of the universality, equitability, and responsibility in the conduct of science. Scientists’ freedom of association, expression and communication is a critically important principle that forms the basis of the scientific endeavour. Academic freedom is critical to the training, development and use of science, technology and engineering in Asia and the Pacific and elsewhere.
- Ensure the equitable access to data, information and research materials, facilities and opportunities that is critical to the continued development and sustainability of science. The creation of collaborative, Internet-based science, technology and innovation networks can promote regional and global cooperation by increasing access to a range of critical information. Network-based information resources can include research results as well as: information on training and capacity-building activities; best practices in education, research and innovation; and current developments in technology development and transfer.
- Prioritize efforts to integrate small island states into regional and global science activities. Proactive efforts should be made to include islanders in scientific meetings, networks, and regional institutions and coordination initiatives, mechanisms. These efforts can be facilitated through the use of information and computer technology (ICT) solutions, but the physical participation of island-based researchers in regional meetings should also be a priority.
- Strengthen linkages between the public and private sectors, academia and financial institutions to provide more incentives for commercialization of research results. The mechanisms for funding of research and building strategic partnerships for technology development and transfer will require an innovation-friendly culture and new financing strategies.
- Encourage researchers and those who fund research to maintain an appropriate and productive balance between curiosity-driven and application-driven research. There is a similar trade-off between commercialization of knowledge-based products and the free and equitable access to data. Private-public and international partnerships that facilitate the commercialization of research results are important strategies that can provide tools to address emerging development challenges, but these should not inhibit free scientific inquiry or access to data on basic or applied research.
- Recognise that there are no easy or quick solutions to the problems facing the region and society. The implementation and management of solutions that arise from scientific research will require individuals and society to adapt to change. The emergence of science-based solutions to regional and global problems requires both the advance of individual scientific disciplines and their integration into a holistic trans-disciplinary approach. The involvement of non-scientific stakeholders in the development, conduct, and dissemination of research will increase the likelihood that research-based solutions will be accepted by society.
- Advance the development of science and technology to enhance cooperation and mutual understanding between nations and regions as a tool of international diplomacy and policy to promote peace, sustainable development, and prosperity in Asia and the Pacific.