Science, technology and innovation officials from APEC member economies have named young, cutting-edge climate change researcher Dr Jong-Seong Kug of Korea the winner of the 2015 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research, and Education.
The award, known as the ASPIRE Prize, was presented to Dr Kug in Manila for his development of modeling that can more accurately predict extreme weather patterns and improve the capacity of governments, businesses and the public to mitigate disaster risk—produced in collaboration with researchers in other APEC economies.
“The Pacific Rim is the epicenter of the increasingly lethal and destabilizing effects of climate change,” explained Secretary Mario Montejo of the Philippine Department of Science and Technology, champion of this year’s ASPIRE Prize theme, Disaster Risk Reduction: Understanding the Role of Climate Change and Variability.
“The severity of the typhoon season thus far and the El Niño that is bringing historic drought to some parts of the region and flooding to others underscore the extent of the threat we face,” he noted. “Innovation, cultivated through cross-border research, can boost preparedness needed to protect lives and livelihoods amid the surge in turbulent weather. Dr Kug’s work is indicative of the progress being made on this front among APEC economies and that we must see more of.”
Dr Kug is an Associate Professor at Pohang University of Science and Technology’s School of Environmental Science and Engineering in Korea. His El Niño prediction model has helped the Korea Meteorological Administration better understand tropical climate dynamics, and forecast and track extreme weather. His research has also lifted the effectiveness of the APEC Climate Center, an inter-governmental seasonal prediction system operated by member economies which are hit by over 70 per cent of the world’s natural disasters.
“Understanding the rules of our earth is the only way to fight against the effects of climate change,” said Dr Kug. “We are making important strides in our efforts to apply new climate change models in the Asia-Pacific. The key is for the scientific community to continue to work together to take this undertaking forward to more fully capture the benefits.”
“Collaboration between next generation researchers in the Asia-Pacific is revolutionizing how we look at climate variations and delivering a wealth of information critical to building more resilient societies,” added Chen Linhao, Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation, which administers the annual ASPIRE Prize recognizing outstanding cross-border research led by scientists under 40 years of age.
“It is imperative that APEC members actively work to reduce barriers to deeper scientific cooperation within the region on which the sustainable, secure growth of our societies and economies depend,” exhorted Chen, who is also Deputy Director-General of International Cooperation at China’s Ministry of Science and Technology.
Dr Kug was awarded the ASPIRE Prize in conjunction with a week of meetings here between officials and private sector representatives to promote innovation-friendly policies. He also received USD 25,000 in prize money sponsored by Wiley and Elsevier, publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge.
“Scientific collaboration across the Asia-Pacific is driving the advancement of research and innovation worldwide,” said Mark Allin, President and CEO of Wiley. “The work ofyoung researchers like Dr Kug is enhancing our understanding of the changing climate and bringing forward innovative solutions to help us weather climate-related disasters.”
“Dr Kug’s research has the potential to save lives and reduce the economic consequences that are today all too frequently associated with extreme weather,” concluded Young Suk “Y.S.” Chi, Chairman of Elsevier. “We are inspired by the contribution of this year’s ASPIRE winner and his fellow nominees in the creation of knowledge that brings new hope.”
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Additional information about the ASPIRE Prize can be found at http://www.apec.org/aspire.
Meet all of this year’s ASPIRE Prize finalists at this link.
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