Pacific Science Association

The 23rd Pacific Science Congress

"Science, Technology, and Innovation: Building a Sustainable Future in Asia and the Pacific"
13 - 17 June 2016

Academia Sinica
Taipei, Taiwan

The Pacific Science Association and our partners, Academia Sinica, co-hosted a very successful 23rd Pacific Science Congress from 13 - 17 June 2016 in Taipei, Taiwan.

The theme of the 23rd Pacific Science Congress was “Science, Technology, and Innovation: Building a Sustainable Future in Asia and the Pacific”, and was organized around three major themes with eight sub-themes:

I. Understanding and Addressing Environmental Challenges

II. Tackling Human and Social Challenges

III. Connecting Science and Innovation for a Sustainable 21st Century

The Congress was held in the Humanities and Social Science Building on the Academia Sinica campus. Nearly five hundred attendees from twenty-five countries participated in the Congress, which contained excellent science and keynote presentations. We congratulate our hosts at Academia Sinica for organizing this successful meeting, and thank them for their hard work, generosity, and hospitality.

The 23rd Congress had a very strong slate of keynote speakers who set the tone for the science sessions that followed. The quality of the scientific presentations in the sessions was excellent, with cutting edge research results presented by world-renowned experts in their respective fields. Especially relevant to issues faced by societies globally and regionally were sessions on climate change, nanobiotechnology, nanotechnology, gender/women and science, human health, human diversity and inclusive development, building sustainable societies, disaster risk reduction, biodiversity and natural resources, robotics and other emerging technologies, natural resources management, food/water/energy, and food safety and environmental toxicology.

Keynote Speakers

The Keynote Plenary Speeches at the 23rd Congress were especially notable for their exceptional quality and relevance. Speakers included:

Sessions, Posters, and Side Events

Over the course of 4 active session days, the 23rd Congress contained a total of 62 sessions and 220 papers. By Sub-Theme, the sessions and papers presented were:

PSC-23 Sessions


Climate Change & Earth System Sciences

Biodiversity & Natural Resources




Human Health

Human Diversity & Inclusive Development

Disaster Risk Reduction

Science for Society

Emerging Technologies

# of Sessions









# of Papers


















Particularly notable was the participation of many younger scientists and graduate students. Academia Sinica presented cash awards to students with the top poster sessions at the Congress, in order to foster and recognize their enthusiasm and involvement.

Finally, we note that a “Becoming the Messenger” (BTM) science communication workshop was originally scheduled to be held before the Congress as a parallel event. This workshop had to be postponed because of an unforeseen and unavoidable schedule conflict, but PSA is in active discussions with the various stakeholders about rescheduling the event for 2017.

As always, PSA was strongly committed to ensuring that the Congress focused on core and emerging scientific topics, as well as being maximally inclusive—both in terms of the participation of all nations in the Asia-Pacific region, and for the full national and generational range of participating scientists.

The 2016 date for PSC-23 marked a new chronology for PSA Congress and Inter-Congresses. Previously, these events took place in odd-numbered years, but the PSA Council decided at its meeting in Fiji in 2013 to shift to even-numbered years to allow the 24th Pacific Science Congress to be held in 2020, as it will mark the 100th anniversary of the Pacific Science Association.


Official Congress Resolutions

The Official 23rd Pacific Science Congress Resolutions are below. A PDF can be found here.

Official Resolutions of the 23rd Pacific Science Congress


3 August 2016

Recalling the theme of the 23rd Pacific Science Congress, “Science, Technology and Innovation: Building a Sustainable Future in Asia and the Pacific”, the Organizers of the Congress:

Recognize the essential role of science and technology in developing solutions to the monumental challenges of global environmental change and human security in the nations of Asia, the Pacific, and beyond,

Exhort the countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region to lead scientific research and efforts to find appropriate solutions to the challenges facing the world and the region in coming decades,

Acknowledge that science is inherently global, and that international collaboration and cooperation are essential to successful outcomes that meet both planetary health and human needs,

The Organizers of the Congress also call upon the scientific community, governments, the business community, non-governmental organizations and local communities in the region and elsewhere to recognize the following:

Human activities are having extremely significant impacts on the planet’s biosphere and climate, and these impacts are likely to grow worse as the global population moves from 7.3 billion today to nearly 10 billion in the year 2040. Without a significant change in direction that recognizes that we live on a “limited Earth”, as well as major advances in food, water, and energy technology, the continued viability of both human civilization and the species we share the planet with are seriously threatened. The social, economic, and cultural paradigm shifts that are required are perhaps the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced, and we must learn to live within planetary limits and to work together more cooperatively as a global community with shared interests. Without immediate action to address global environmental change, the risk of severe, widespread, and irreversible impacts to the biosphere and human societies is very high.

Working towards sustainable development goals, disaster risk reduction, and climate change mitigation and adaptation are the key fundamental challenges facing the world in the 21st Century. The impacts of global change, including climate change, challenges of global food production, water availability and access, loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services, disaster impacts, access to health services, and other major challenges tend to fall disproportionately on lower-income countries and small island states, thus both exacerbating existing inequities and limiting development options. Mitigating and adapting to human-driven changes to the Earth’s systems will require understanding and anticipating these changes. This critical human endeavor, in turn, depends on critical advances in science and technology research, innovation, deployment, and implementation.

It is also essential to recognize that the practice of science and its role in society is changing. Traditional disciplinary-oriented research will continue to be essential, but there is also a growing need for multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches to study how natural phenomena are linked to social phenomena as coupled systems. For example, climate is an extremely complex system, and yet the ways in which it is also linked to food production, economies, energy systems, etc., makes understanding how to address the climate challenge even more complicated. The problem therefore cannot be successfully addressed without understanding climate as an interactive system linked to social phenomena. This calls not only for enhanced collaboration and cooperation between scientists in different disciplines, but also to the need for greater co-production of knowledge, whereby scientists work together with policymakers, natural resource managers and other stakeholders, and the public to frame research questions and generate knowledge that is more usable by the non-science community to solve problems. These new approaches to identifying science questions offer enhanced potential to facilitate cross-fertilization of ideas and thus generate greater knowledge and innovation.

Rapidly emerging research fields, including biotechnology, robotics, artificial intelligence, nanoscience, and Big Data carry non-trivial disruptive risks at a wide variety of scales, but also offer great promise. If managed responsibly they offer the potential to solve many problems including enhanced climate-adapted food production, carbon reduction/sequestration and climate mitigation, recovery from natural disasters, and effective, low-cost provision of health services. Given the potential risks as well as rewards, it is essential that scientists work with policymakers and the public to help the non-science community better understand this research in order to make sound and informed decisions about the proper future role of these technologies.

We call upon governments, national research foundations, and private funders to re-double their commitment to basic science and applied research, which fundamentally underpin the prosperity of our technological society.

The Organizers of the Congress recognize these issues of particular relevance to the Asia-Pacific region and island states in particular, and recommend the following actions and approaches:

==> Given the Asia-Pacific region’s emerging prominence as a center of global science and technology (S&T), greater priority should be given to the importance of S&T meetings in the region itself. Given the region’s emerging prominence economically and thus its significance in the global S&T endeavor, the region’s researchers and innovators should recognize their greater responsibilities, and recognize it as an opportunity to help shape global, regional, and national research agendas. Regional S&T meetings are an important way not only to enhance the higher profile of individual scientists’ own research, but also to benefit from opportunities to link their work with others in the region and globally. Greater attention should be given in regional S&T meetings to research that can help meet countries’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and also to topics that address emerging critical issues that affect the region and the globe.

==> Sustainable economies are dependent upon a healthy natural resource base. In the Asia-Pacific Region, food security, opportunities for economic prosperity, land and marine ecosystems and biodiversity are increasingly impacted and threatened by a wide range of invasive alien plants, animals and disease organisms. Invasive alien species management is a fundamental component of efforts to adapt to climate change, build resilient economies, communities and ecosystems and achieve social and economic development objectives including poverty alleviation and the enhancement of food security, fresh water availability, human health and biological diversity. Recognizing this, the Pacific Science Association resolves to encourage members to increase regional collaborations and collaborative research efforts into more effective way to prevent, control and eradicate invasive species to ensure that the relevant targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity, Strategic Plan for Biodiversity 2011-2020 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, will be met. This will require close collaboration between researchers, managers of natural resources and other stakeholders (in agriculture, forestry, aquaculture, fisheries, tourism, in both private and public sectors), the use of participative approaches and greater use of rapidly evolving social media.

==> Coral reefs are among the most important ecosystems on Earth and are a major source of marine biodiversity and natural resources. Coral reefs also provide important services to human populations in the form of habitat for numerous fishery species, protection from ocean waves and sea level rise, and significant contributions to the tourist economies of coastal communities. Unfortunately, coral reefs are threatened by a number of stressors that have negative synergistic effects. Significant stressors include ocean warming (magnified in El Niño years), ocean acidification, water pollution, sedimentation, dredging, and the cumulative effects of over-fishing. Numerous reef systems have been impacted severely in the Asia-Pacific region, where most coral reefs are found, and elsewhere. Many species of corals and other organisms are now vulnerable to or threatened with extinction at local, regional and global scales. The Pacific Science Association resolves to educate communities, policy makers, managers, and other stakeholders about the immediate threats to coral reefs, and to promote the conduct of timely scientific research that leads to the design and implementation of effective management practices that promote conservation and resilience of coral reef systems.

==> We call for support by scientists and policymakers for “Future Earth”, a 10-year international research initiative to advance Global Sustainability Science, build capacity in this research area, and provide an international research agenda to guide scientists. It is an open network for scientists from all disciplines, encompassing both natural and social science as well as engineering. Future Earth includes over twenty global environmental change projects, and has launched a series of Knowledge-Action Networks to catalyze new research and partnerships oriented around key challenges to global sustainability. It is the follow-on international research framework to DIVERSITAS, the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme and the International Human Dimensions Programme. Future Earth is structured around five global hubs (one located in Tokyo), regional centers, and some national offices. We encourage scientists in the region to engage with Future Earth. We also encourage Future Earth to fully engage with the Pacific Island community in order that the Pacific Islands’ perspective and solutions can be articulated in a prominent global forum, and so that the particular concerns of the region can be better addressed.

==> We call upon the scientific community to redouble its efforts to support diversity and women in science. Leaders in the scientific community have called for the rigorous application of science, including social science and the humanities, to address the sustainable development challenges outlined in the UN Sustainable Development Agenda 2030. There is a critical need to build the science, technology and innovation (STI) workforce globally. Currently, women make up less than 35% of the scientific workforce overall, and significantly less in fields such as engineering, physics, mathematics, (information and computer technology) ICT and innovation. Their representation in the practice of science in most of the countries of Asia and the Pacific is also significantly less. Many countries in this region also have fertility rates well below replacement level and hence it is particularly important that all that all of humankind's potential is tapped to address the Sustainable Development challenges.

There are very strong equity and human rights arguments for enhancing women's participation in STI. In addition women's capabilities, life experiences, perspectives and numbers are needed to face our pressing global challenges. Women and men working together will make better decisions concerning sustainability, will implement them more effectively and may advance scientific understanding further. The Pacific Science Association established a Working Group on Human Resources for the Future, with the goal of promoting women (and other underrepresented groups) in science in 1995. Be it resolved that the Pacific Science Association will renew its commitment to supporting the participation of women and other underrepresented groups in science in Asia and the Pacific, develop new partnerships with other organizations and institutions with similar goals, define 'science' broadly including indigenous ways of knowing, explore innovative, transdisciplinary approaches where stakeholders are engaged in shaping the research questions and the research process itself to produce knowledge that can be used by policy and decision makers to develop innovative, sustainable solutions to the political, social and environmental challenges we face.

==> Encourage open access to, and mobilization of, primary biodiversity data from biological specimen collections housed in the Asia-Pacific region and elsewhere to ensure long-term access, discoverability, and scientific use of both the physical collections and their associated data and products. Vouchered biological collections represent a verifiable, repeatable, sustainable and persistent record of the biodiversity of the Asia-Pacific region across space and through time making the physical objects and their data invaluable for science, conservation, technology and innovation, policy development, and education.

Official Thanks

The Pacific Science Association would like to extend our deep thanks to Academia Sinica for its outstanding support and organization of the 23rd Pacific Science Congress.

We extend our thanks to the Plenary Speakers, Dr. Yuan Tseh Lee, Dr. Gordon McBean, Dr. Chi-Huey Wong, Dr. George Whitesides, Dr. Sandra Harding, Dr. Takashi Gojobori, Dr. David Wratt, and Mr. Lawrence Kent. PSA extends our deep gratitude to our hosts from Academia Sinica in making the 23rd Pacific Science Congress a successful and exciting meeting. Our special thanks to Dr. Chi-Huey Wong, President Emeritus of Academia Sinica and Chair of the PSC-23 Local Organizing Committee; Fan-Sen Wang, Acting President of Academia Sinica; Andrew H.-J. Wang, Vice President of Academia Sinica; Yu Wang, Vice President of Academia Sinica, and to Dr. Chien-Jen Chen, former Vice President of Academia Sinica. Our sincere thanks also to PSC-23 Chief Secretary Dr. Jen-Leih Wu, Secretary General, Center Office Administration, Academia Sinica; PSC-23 Deputy Secretary(s) Dr. Te-Chang Lee (Director of Academic Affairs at Academia Sinica) and Dr. Sue-Lin Chao (Director of the Department of International Affairs at Academia Sinica). Special thanks also to PSA Vice President Dr. Chang-Hung Chou (China Medical University) and Executive Secretary of PSC-China Taipei Dr. Shih-Chun (Candice) Lung (Research Fellow, Academia Sinica).

We send our deep thanks to the Local Program Committee members, including Committee Chair Dr. Andrew H.-J. Wang and Committee Members Dr. Ching-Fong Chang, Dr. Hongey Chen, Dr. Shu-Min Huang, Dr. Te-Chang Lee, Dr. Der-Tsai Lee, Dr. Chao-Han Liu, Dr. Shaw-Chen Liu, Dr. Fu-Tong Liu, Dr. Shih-Chun Lung, and Dr. Ming-Che Shih. We also send our thanks to Dr. Lou-Chuang Lee, Dr. Pao-Kuan Wang, and Dr. Ming-Che Shih for their efforts to raise funding for the Congress.

We also send our thanks to the many session organizers, too numerous to name, but whose efforts were integral to the success of the Congress. Special thanks go to Academia Sinica Vice President Dr. Andrew Wang, Dr. Sue Lin-Chao, Stanley Lin, Emma Liao, and Stephanie Chang in the AS International Office, who were instrumental in the “nuts and bolts” that shaped this meeting and whose tirelessly efforts were critical to make this Congress a success. For the Pacific Science Council meetings held during the Congress, we enjoyed the special help of Jasmine Yang, Ya-Ying Liang, and Lesley Kuo, and we thank them for their excellent support. We also recognize with thanks the efforts of Dr. Cindy Lee, who presided over the Congress plenary sessions as Master of Ceremonies. And last but certainly not least, thanks are also due to the entire cadre of energetic professionals who helped organize the logistics essential to the success of the Congress.

Compiled and edited by the PSA Council Resolutions Committee: Burke Burnett (PSA Executive Secretary), Phil Cowan (PSA Council Delegate, New Zealand), Terry Donaldson (PSA Council Delegate, Guam), and Kevin Johnson (PSA Council Delegate, USA). With contributions by Shelley James (iDigBio) and Nancy Lewis (East-West Center).


Official Congress Information

The official Congress website contains additional materials and registration information.

Important Dates

Session Proposal Submission Deadline:
October 31, 2015

Notification of Session Proposal Acceptance:
December 15, 2015

Deadline for Abstract Submissions:
April 7, 2016

Notification of Abstract Acceptance:
April 20, 2016

Close of Early Bird Registration:
April 30, 2016


About Academia Sinica

Academia Sinica, the preeminent academic institution in Taiwan is the official conference host. Academia Sinica's mission is to promote and undertake scholarly research in sciences and the humanities, and is composed of twenty-four research institutes and seven research centers. They have been a member of PSA since their founding in 1928.


Local Organizing Committee:

Dr. Chi-Huey Wong, President of Academia Sinica

Dr. Andrew H.-J. Wang, Academician of Academia Sinica
Dr. Fan-Sen Wang, VP of Academia Sinica
Dr. Yu Wang,  VP of VP of Academia Sinica
Dr. Chien-Jen Chen, VP of Academia Sinica / Chair of PSA ROC Committee
Dr. Pan-Chyr Yang, Chancellor of National Taiwan University

Dr. Jen-Leih Wu, Secretary-General of Administration Building, Academia Sinica

Deputy Secretary General
Dr. Te-Chang Lee, Executive Secretary of Central Academic Advisory Committee / Director, Academic Affairs Office, Academia Sinica
Dr. Sue Lin-Chao, Director, International Affairs Office, Academia Sinica

Vice-President of Pacific Science Association
Dr. Chang-Hung Chou, Academician of Academia Sinica

Executive Secretary of the Taiwan Committee for the Pacific Science Association
Dr. Shih-Chun (Candice) Lung, Research Fellow, Academia Sinica

International Program Committee:

Dr. Nancy Lewis, PSA President [and] East-West Center
Dr. Chang-Hung Chou, PSA Vice President
Dr. Makoto Tsuchiya, PSA Secretary-General
Mr. Burke Burnett, PSA Executive Secretary
Dr. Phil Cowan (Landcare Research; New Zealand)
Dr. Sang-Bok Han (National Academy of Science; Korea)
Dr. Kevin Johnson (University of Hawaii, Manoa; USA)
Dr. Yonglong Lu (Chinese Academy of Science; China-Beijing)
Dr. David Schindel (Consortium for the Barcode of Life, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution; USA)