Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Brunei - Brunei offers research scholarship

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN:  Brunei Darussalam has extended its invitation to Asean member countries to collaborate with its flagship university’s UBD-IBM Research Centre to explore research in weather forecasting, climate crop modelling, energy conservation and efficiency and renewable energy and hydrology, Borneo Bulletin reported.

Brunei Darussalam is also offering graduate research scholarship in those areas for students from Asean member countries.

This was one of the statements made by the Minister of Development Pehin Orang Kaya Indera Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi bin Hj Osman as chair, at the closing of the 7th Informal Asean Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology (IAMMST-7) yesterday.

The meeting convened science and technology ministers and senior officials from Asean member nations.

Four events were conducted prior to IAMMST-7: the workshop on how to operationalise the Krabi Initiative (KI); the 218t meeting of the advisory body on the Asean Plan of Action on Science and Technology (ABAPAST); the 20th Meeting of the Advisory Body on the Asean Science Fund (ABASF); and the 64th Meeting of the Asean Committee on Science and Technology (COST).

Pehin Dato Seri Setia Awang Haji Suyoi said the ministers concurred that the 80 per cent utilisation of the earnings from the Asean Science Fund (ASF) placements as provided for in the ASP guidelines will not be enough to support science, technology and innovation (STI) activities.

The ministers welcomed the proposal for the establishment of an Asean Innovation Fund (AIF) to support the implementation of STI-driven projects. They agreed that mechanisms shall be developed to encourage and enable the participation of the private sector, dialogue partners and international agencies to contribute to AIF. Such contributions will leverage resources in COST and collaborative activities and projects with the potential for revenue generation.

While expressing support to the proposal, the ministers noted that establishing new fund would require careful study and analysis, especially on how to sustain the fund. The ministers requested the ABAPAST and ABASF to jointly develop the concept paper on the establishment of the AIF. Once the concept paper is developed, the ABASF shall take the lead in implementing the proposed actions in determining the feasibility of establishing the AIF.

The meeting also noted the progress of the augmentation of the Asean Science Fund (ASF). The ministers endorsed the proposal of the ABASF to amend a provision in the guidelines on the use of ASF. The amendment mandates the ABASF to identify, review and recommend projects for the consideration and approval of COST.

The ministers welcomed the launching of the China-Asean Science and Technology (STEP) programme at the Asean-China Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology on Sept 21, 2012 in Nanning, China. Recognising the serious intent of China to cooperate with Asean in S&T, the ministers tasked COST to expedite the finalisation of the draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Asean-China cooperation in science and technology.

The ministers also noted that the Asean-India Fund (AIF) shall henceforth be used to support people-to-people type of cooperation, including technology development activities while the Asean-India Science and Technology Development Fund (AISTDF) shall be used to support all other Asean-India S&T cooperation activities.

The meeting welcomed the proposal of the Philippines to lead in the development of the concept paper in establishing scientific standards in Asean.

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