Science, technology and innovation officials from APEC member economies have identified twelve young scientists in the Asia-Pacific region whose cutting-edge research is leading the way in the fight against climate change.
The scientists are finalists for the 2015 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education under the theme: “Disaster Risk Reduction: Understanding the Role of Climate Change and Variability.” The focus of the program, known as the ASPIRE Prize, is on the cross-border development of technologies to help economies adapt to changing natural conditions, strengthen environmental protection and build more resilient, sustainable communities.
“Rising sea levels and the increasing occurrence of extreme weather are indicative of the huge challenges that climate change poses to lives and livelihoods, particularly in the Pacific Rim,” said Secretary Mario Montejo of the Philippines’ Department of Science and Technology—champion of this year’s ASPIRE Prize theme as APEC Chair in 2015. “Technical collaboration is critical to ensuring that people, businesses and economies are in a position to endure.”
“Mitigating the effects of climate change is at the top of the APEC agenda,” added Chen Linhao, Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation, which administers the annual ASPIRE Prize. “Young scientists are leading a new era of cooperation in the Asia-Pacific to combat emerging climate change threats,” noted Chen, who is also Deputy Director-General of International Cooperation at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
APEC members are hit by more than 70 per cent of the world’s natural disasters, ranging from typhoons, floods and mudslides, to drought and wildfires. The frequency and intensity of emergencies such as these is on the rise, exacerbated by climate change. In 2014 alone, natural disasters affected nearly 80 million people and caused around 60 USD billion in economic losses across the Asia-Pacific, according to the United Nations.
Carbon capture and storage technologies, seasonal prediction systems, flood modelling and the forecasting of influenza outbreaks through meteorological data are among the wide-ranging research areas advanced by this year’s ASPIRE Prize finalists—each under 40 years of age and based in an APEC economy. The impact of their work will be screened against scholarly publications and must involve cooperation with peers from other APEC economies.
The winner will be honored alongside a meeting of officials and industry representatives from the APEC Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation in Manila next month to promote the development and implementation of innovation-friendly policies in APEC economies. The winner will also receive USD 25,000, sponsored by Wiley and Elsevier, publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge.
“ASPIRE continues to bring attention to the extraordinary science and collaboration taking place in the region,” said YoungSuk “Y.S.” Chi, Chairman of Elsevier. “Recognition of young scientists and their work encourages further breakthroughs to address grand challenges such as climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction.”
“We are inspired by the twelve young scientists put forward by APEC member economies,” said Mark Allin, President and CEO, Wiley. “This year’s record number of nominees highlights the promising pipeline of research in this important area and the innovative solutions being developed through regional collaboration.”
For more information on the 2015 ASPIRE Prize, please visit: http://www.apec.org/aspire.
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