The ASEAN-EU Science, Technology and Innovation Days 2015 took place in Paris, France March 17-19 under the overarching theme: “Excellent science in ASEAN.” The second edition of this forum-like event attracted a wide range of stakeholders engaged in international science cooperation, scientific research or innovation.
The event was attended by almost 300 participants, which exceeded the expectations of the event organisers. Many countries were represented at the STI Days. In addition to wide participation by European Union Member States, all the countries of the ASEAN region, as well as scientists from China, Central Asia and the Eastern Partnership region were represented at the event.
The three-day event was organised at the impressive Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie in Paris. The host, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), did an excellent job both in terms of organisation and content. Participants could choose from a wide range of scientific workshops covering the domains of food, water and health, roundtable policy discussions with high-level speakers, and a number of site visits.
During the opening of the conference, participants heard from three distinguished speakers: Mr. Kostas Glinos (Head of Unit, DG RTD, European Commission), Dr. Jean-Pierre Bourguignon (President, European Research Council) and Dr. Alexander Lim (Head of Science and Technology Division, ASEAN Secretariat). In their opening addresses these speakers discussed the future alignment of EU and ASEAN science, technology and innovation policies, research cooperation to address global challenges, and the pursuit of scientific excellence.
The opening of the exhibition space with posters and booths followed the opening of the conference from 24 exhibitors ranging from research institutions to innovative enterprises. The two winners of the Poster competition also had the chance to present their research on Food Security and Safety and Water Management to the wide audience.
On Wednesday morning visitors could choose from two more scientific oriented sessions, one on the Water-Energy-Food nexus, and another on Health Research strategies. In parallel were two policy sessions focused on the evolution of the ASEAN Economic Community and the importance of Intellectual Property Rights in the region. In the afternoon participants had the option of visiting three outstanding scientific institutions: Eau de Paris, the National Agency for Research on Aids and Hepatitis, and Institut Pasteur, to give them a more tangible experience and get an insight in the excellent French facilities.
Thursday began with an early morning visit to Rungis Marché International, one of France’s 19 wholesale food markets. The series of scientific workshops continued amongst others with Climate Change and Water Management, Science for Development, Health Research, Mycotoxins in an even more international perspective – linking European researchers and policy makers not only with colleagues from Southeast Asia but also with colleagues from Central Asia and the Caucasus and China. In parallel a high number of researchers from both regions were involved in matchmaking sessions aimed at building new scientific networks and establishing cooperation, while policy makers and representatives of EU and ASEAN funding organisations were working towards the setting up of a joint funding mechanism between the two regions.
During the closing ceremonies on Thursday afternoon, three young South-East Asian scientists, the winners of the best paper award introduced their scientific topics to the audience. Dr. Gaby Gorsky, Director of CNRS’ Observatoire de Villefranche/mer then delivered a breath taking presentation on the Tara marine expeditions which have been studying the impact of climate change and the ecological crisis facing the oceans.
The STI Days are an annual forum designed to bring together ASEAN and EU scientists, policy makers and innovative companies to discuss policy, engage in scientific dialogue and build research and innovation partnerships. The next STI Days are scheduled for Hanoi, Vietnam in April/May 2016.