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APEC Seeks Material Innovators to Improve Manufacturing, Lives

APEC Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation Ha Noi, Viet Nam | 17 January 2017

APEC is on the lookout for young researchers in the Asia-Pacific who are developing technologically advanced materials that stand to radically boost next generation manufacturing and people’s quality of life across the region. 

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2017 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education, whose theme, New Material Technologies, spotlights cross-border innovations led by scientists from APEC economies under 40 years of age. Examples range from ultra-light, durable fibers, to super adhesives and sealants, to pollution-reducing and self-healing substances. 

Materials like these could reinvigorate production and supply chains, including growing numbers of small businesses that underpin them, and herald the arrival of new and improved goods and services. Among others, they may include biosensors that enhance medical monitoring; highly energy efficient homes and automobiles; brighter, more reflective road signs, bicycles and clothing that make travel at night easier and safer; and fast biodegrading packing material, trash bags and diapers. 

The focus of the award program, also known as the ASPIRE Prize, was announced by Viet Nam as Chair of APEC in 2017. 

“The introduction of advanced materials is crucial to strengthening research capacity among Asia-Pacific economies and the region’s 3 billion people,” explained Tran Quoc Khanh, Viet Nam’s Deputy Minister of Science and Technology. “These new avenues for scientific discovery provide scientists with building blocks to engineer materials with unique and innovative properties.” 

Each APEC economy may nominate one individual for the ASPIRE Prize. Nominees must be from the region and under 40 years of age. The impact of their work will be screened against scholarly publications and must involve cooperation with peers from other APEC economies. Relevant academic disciplines in 2017 include materials and biomaterials science; life sciences; polymer chemistry; biomedical, chemical and mechanical engineering; solid-state physics; nanotechnology; and novel materials and technologies. 

“Many scientific challenges such as energy and food security, environmental protection and public health are perpetuated by the limits of known materials,” noted Christin Kjelland, Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation, which administers the annual ASPIRE Prize. “We want to learn from those who are making the impossible possible to ensure economic and social progress in APEC and beyond,” added Kjelland, who also serves in the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs at the United States State Department. 

The ASPIRE Prize will be awarded in Vietnam in 2017. Wiley and Elsevier, publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge, are sponsors of the initiative. The winner will receive USD 25,000 in prize money. 

“The field of material sciences holds a rich range of applications in various fields," said Mark J. Allin, Wiley’s CEO. “We are excited to learn how early career researchers in the Asia-Pacific are opening up new channels for scientific collaboration in the region and across various sectors.” 

“Young scientists in the region are critical to tackling the world’s most pressing challenges and most promising opportunities, which are interdisciplinary issues that know no borders,” concluded YoungSuk “Y.S.” Chi, Chairman of Elsevier. “Recognizing their work is one way that we can help to encourage further breakthroughs that will be necessary for sustainable human progress and global prosperity.” 

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For further details, or to arrange possible media interviews, please contact: 

David Hendrickson +65 9137 3886 at [email protected]

Michael Chapnick +65 9647 4847 at [email protected] 

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