Local science, research set to benefit from regional fund

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Lao science and technology projects are set to benefit from the Amity Science, Technology and Innovation Foundation (ASTIF) following substantial funding support.

The support was confirmed last week at the 74th Conference of the Asean Committee on Science and Technology (Asean COST-74) in Thailand with around US$500,000 from the fund allocated to regional research and innovation.

The primary objective of the Foundation is to promote research and innovation in all Amity Institutions, particularly in the cutting edge of frontiers, science and technology, and domains of national importance.

To meet this objective, the Foundation undertakes a wide spectrum of important activities, such as providing Amity Research Fellowships for meritorious students who have completed a master’s degree with excellent academic records.

Any of the 10 Asean member countries can submit proposals to request funding for scientific research in the fields of energy and water; food and biotechnology; biomedical and healthcare; climate change adaptation and mitigation; ICT applications; and relevant enabling innovations for science and technology.

For several years, the Foundation has given approval to 119 science and technology projects across the region with 26 projects noted for their outstanding success.

Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, Mr Houmphanh Intharath, recently attended the Asean COST-74 and noted the importance of supporting human resources in the Asean technology sector, including Laos.

He said Laos and other Asean member countries could submit a proposal for a technology project to request support from the fund, to be provided to the applicant country’s Ministry of Science and Technology.

“Increasing numbers of applicants from Asean have been registering each year, although only a small number have come from Laos,” he said.

During the meeting, participants reported the progress of Asean COST-73 activities and discussed the   Asean Plan of Action on Science, Technology and Innovation for 2016-2025. This focuses on public-private collaboration, talent mobility, people-to-people connectivity and inclusiveness, enterprise support, and public awareness of scientific and technological institutions.

The plan will essentially provide appropriate guidelines for the identification and formulation of programmes and projects to achieve better coordination and cooperation to strengthen the capabilities of science, technology and innovation in Asean. 

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