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2021 APEC Science Prize Nominations Announced

Issued by the Policy Partnership on Science, Technology and Innovation

Wellington, New Zealand, 4 August 2021

Thirteen young scientists across 21 APEC member economies have been nominated for this year’s APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education, or ASPIRE.

This year’s ASPIRE emphasizes the theme of “Diverse Knowledge for a Sustainable Future,” selected by New Zealand as the host of APEC 2021. It is aimed at focusing on researcher insights from Indigenous and ethnic minority cultures and communities to help inform new frontiers in science, technology and innovation.

Scientists nominated for this year’s prize advance excellent scientific discoveries in diverse areas of knowledge aiming to create a sustainable future. They are also actively engaged in international collaboration with peer scientists in the region to promote and improve their work.

“Research by these scientists highlights the importance of international collaboration and learning from Indigenous communities to advance our understanding of complex global challenges, such as health crises and climate change,” said Daniel Dufour, Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation, which administers the annual ASPIRE.

“We are pleased to showcase the talent of these important researchers who are working towards a sustainable future for all APEC economies,” Dufour added.

The winner will be announced at a virtual ceremony during a series of meetings hosted by New Zealand in August 2021 and will be awarded USD 25,000 from renowned publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge, Wiley and Elsevier.

“The contributions from Indigenous knowledge systems and ethnic minority researchers is greatly beneficial for both policymakers and societies in the region,” said Professor Juliet Gerrard, Chief Science Advisor for New Zealand. “We need to deepen our relationships with these researchers to develop sound policies for an inclusive future.”

Work carried out by the 2021 nominees includes studies related to linking sustainable food production systems with human nutrition and health; utilizing indigenous fruit in Indonesia to treat typhoid patients and fight antibiotic resistance; and efforts to rebuild indigenous data compilations for population statistics, health and economic data.

Click here to meet the 2021 ASPIRE finalists

“Research innovation has been at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery,” said Brian Napack, Wiley’s President and CEO. “There is no question that the work of this year’s young scientists will drive more sustainable, inclusive and impactful solutions in the APEC region and the world.”

“The remarkable work of these young researchers signifies the importance of leadership and innovation at the local community level,” added Youngsuk “Y.S.” Chi, Chairman of Elsevier. “As their cross-border collaborations empower Indigenous and ethnic minority cultures and lead to crucial discoveries, these young talents are mapping out the path to a better future for us all.”

Since its establishment in 2011, the ASPIRE has recognized young scientists working on issues ranging from natural laboratories, food security, sustainable ocean development, biodiversity, strengthening international science and technology networks and promoting innovation.

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