Eight Finalists Vie for $20,000 in the 4th Annual ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women

Jakarta, September 13, 2018 — The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the U.S. Mission to ASEAN  and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with Underwriters Laboratories (UL), are pleased to announce eight finalists for the fourth annual ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women. This year’s competition focused on precision agriculture, seeking to award those working at the intersection of agriculture, digital tools, technology and data in support of smallholder farmers and regional agriculture.

In line with the 2018 theme of forging a Resilient and Innovative ASEAN, the region continues to pursue improved, efficient, low-cost, and sustainable farming practices, and the Science Prize recognizes some extraordinary women behind those efforts. As Southeast Asia’s population continues to grow rapidly, ASEAN member states still face challenges related to food security such as resource scarcity, extreme weather phenomena, and a lack of incentives motivating young people to engage in agricultural work. Scientists, provided with the right tools and motivation, can help meet the increasing demands on the region’s food systems and farmers.

The 2018 ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women supports promising early-career scientists across the region and encourages collaboration between member states and the United States in creating sustainable solutions to address development challenges. The winner will be chosen at a pitch competition on October 18, 2018, held at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology in the Philippines. One winner will receive $20,000, while an honorable mention will receive $5,000.

The eight finalists are: 

Dr. Vanessa Teo of Brunei Darussalam
Dr. Vanessa Teo is the founder and CEO of Agrome IQ, an agribusiness intelligence platform to support farmers make better decisions. Dr. Teo created this platform while completing her PhD in agricultural systems modeling. Her work involves integrating educational agriculture curriculums into schools and communities and working with commercial smallholder farmers to enhance their productivity by integrating data collection and digital technologies.

Dr. Sri Malahayati Yusuf of Indonesia
Dr. Sri Malahayati Yusuf is a researcher at the Environmental Research Center, Bogor Agricultural University, in Indonesia, and uses information and technology to better understand agricultural insights and the impact of watershed management, soil and water conservation.

Dr. Vimontha Khieovongphachanh of Lao PDR
Dr. Vimontha Khievongphachanh is a Lecturer in Engineering at the National University of Laos. Her background in engineering, information technology and the internet of things, which creates an interconnected system through technology, has helped her improve agricultural practices in Lao.

Dr. Samsuzana Abd Aziz of Malaysia
Dr. Samsuzana Abd Aziz is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at the Universiti Putra Malaysia. Her research focuses on computer science and electronics in agriculture, particularly in precision agriculture applications.

Dr. Moe Thanda Kyi of Burma
Dr. Moe Thanda Kyi is a Professor at the Myanmar Aerospace Engineering University. Her research focuses on appropriate conversion processes for biomass. Her career spans management, teaching and research activities on agricultural residue, such as rice husk and rice straws, and alternative biofuel energy sources.

Dr. Gay Jane Perez of the Philippines
Dr. Gay Jane Perez is an Associate Professor from the Institute of Environmental Science and Meteorology at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. Her work focuses on the use of remote sensing, satellite meteorology, climate monitoring, and prediction tools to better derive data for agricultural areas.

Dr. Janice Ser Huay Lee of Singapore
Dr. Janice Lee is an Assistant Professor at the Asian School of the Environment, Nanyang Technological University of Singapore. Her research focuses on the sociological impacts of oil palm expansion in Southeast Asia and evaluates the effectiveness of land-use policies in mitigating impacts. She uses remote sensing tools and spatial analysis to create historical and current land-cover maps to better understand trends & predictions of oil palm expansion.

Dr. Do Thi Phuc of Viet Nam
Dr. Do Thi Phuc, a lecturer in plant science at the VNU-University of Science, Vietnam National University in Hanoi, is working to create improved, efficient, and precise agricultural practices. She has spent more than 10 years studying how land adapts to different stressors and volatile climates in hopes of creating a more sustainable ASEAN.

To learn more about the finalists, follow @USAIDAsia, @USMission2ASEAN and #SciencePrize on Twitter and Facebook. Each week, we will feature one of the finalists in the run up to the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science and Technology in October, when the winner will be announced.

The ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women is one of the many U.S. initiatives in support of ASEAN and its 10 member states. The United States partners with ASEAN to support economic integration, expand maritime cooperation, cultivate emerging leaders, promote opportunities for women and address transnational challenges. Through USAID’s cooperation with ASEAN, the United States addresses the root causes of poverty and instability and strengthens the foundation for prosperity and security. The United States and ASEAN are proud of over 40 years of partnership.


# # #