Second ASEAN-US Science and Technology Fellows Program’s Application is Open

The ASEAN region boasts strong skills and potential in science and technology and seeks to leverage this potential to increase regional competitiveness, improve resource management, and enhance the lives of its citizens. Currently, few non-governmental scientists are consulted by ASEAN Member States (AMS) governments on policy decisions, and these scientists generally have a limited understanding of the government decision-making processes and how to effectively engage. ASEAN has a role to play in fostering and institutionalizing a culture of science-based policymaking throughout the region, and this program seeks to provide opportunities for policy-makers and scientists alike to learn from another.

In early 2014, ASEAN’s Committee on Science and Technology (COST) launched the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Program with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Mission to ASEAN (USASEAN). The first year of the program supported seven fellows from five AMS—Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines, and Thailand—who contributed their knowledge and analytical skills to national-level S&T Ministries while learning about the process of policy-making and implementation.

Based on the success of the first year of the program, USAID, USASEAN, and ASEAN will continue the program in 2015. The three main goals of the ongoing ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Program are the following:

  • to advance regional cooperation on ASEAN strategic priorities;
  • to strengthen science-based policy making throughout targeted national government ministries and/or bodies; and
  • to empower and build the capacity of scientists in ASEAN to take a more prominent role in their respective country’s efforts to integrate into the ASEAN Community.

As in the pilot phase, the second year of the program will provide opportunities for early-career scientists who are citizens and residents of AMS to contribute their knowledge and analytical skills to their national governments. Fellows will be embedded in sectoral or line ministries or other agencies within their home countries, providing these ministries with increased technical capacity to make informed, science-based policy decisions. More specially, Fellows will be hosted by entities that support technical work aligned with the following common ASEAN and U.S. science and technology priority areas:

1. Biodiversity – e.g. identification, conservation, and value creation

2. Energy security – e.g. efficient clean energy and next generation energy sources

3. Fisheries & coastal management – e.g. monitoring and management and climate change adaptation, standards, and zoning

The program will build a network of scientists in the region—targeting up to 16 Fellows this year—to facilitate knowledge sharing and applying the best available scientific data and evidence to contribute to policy decisions related to the above-mentioned priority areas across AMS.

The Fellows will bridge the science-to-policy gap by synthesizing relevant scientific information for use in national-level strategies, policies, and policy-making processes, as well as by developing associated policy or implementation recommendations. In addition, Fellows will assist their home countries’ sectoral line ministries to carry out national tasks for ASEAN integration through scientifically-based analysis and by taking steps to advance the best use of science to address national and regional level priorities. The program is not intended to support the basic research activities of the chosen scientists, but rather is focused on providing an understanding of policy and government decision making processes—opening doors to a variety of new professional opportunities as well as new possible career directions.

In addition to the work Fellows will carry out in their home countries, the year-long program will include participation in training workshops as well as offering opportunities to attend and contribute to relevant regional science and technology events.

Training will include, but not be limited to, the following:

  • Orientation Event (Jakarta) – held in coordination with ASEAN, the orientation will introduce the Fellows to the ASEAN context and detail expectations and responsibilities for their upcoming year. This week-long event will provide Fellows with the following:

o   an introduction to ASEAN, ASEAN Secretariat, and ASEAN-U.S. S&T priority areas;

o   an understanding of expectations for the program, including roles and responsibilities and expected work outcomes;

o   guidance on crafting objectives and activities to be refined into a Plan of Action (POA) for the year (to be drafted in close coordination with the Fellow’s supervisor during the orientation); and

o   initial training and capacity building.

  • ASEAN Committee on Science & Technology (COST) Meeting – Fellows will attend one of the ASEAN COST Meetings, giving them an opportunity to observe regional policy processes as well as a chance to network and consult with COST representatives from AMS.
  • Professional Development Event – Fellows will have the opportunity to come together for a training workshop to learn valuable skills and further strengthen relationships and linkages.
  • Other Relevant Science and Technology Events – Fellows may also have the opportunity to attend relevant workshops and events throughout the year, serving as panelists, participants, or representatives of the program.
  • Mentoring – The program will seek opportunities to connect Fellows with resource people who will 1) provide them with periodic advice on how be more effective in formulating science-based policy recommendation and 2) connect Fellows to U.S. scientists and networks.

The ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Program will begin on May 1, 2015. A stipend of $1,500 per month for the 12 months of the fellowship period will be granted. The stipend is intended to cover all relevant costs for participation in the program (e.g. salary, room, board, insurance, etc.). Relocation support will not be provided. Travel costs for Fellows’ participation in the Jakarta-based Orientation Event, ASEAN COST Meeting, and other pre-approved events will be covered separately. Fellows must be available to participate in the Orientation Event and are expected to participate for the full twelve month fellowship program.

Eligibility

While a Ph.D. is strongly encouraged and preferred, applicants must have a Master’s degree to apply. The Program anticipates that most Fellows will be at the Ph.D. level with at least three years post-doctoral professional experience. Candidates with Master’s degrees must have at least five years of professional experience. The program is aimed at early career scientists who will use the experience to enhance and inform future career paths. As such, applicants should be less than 45 years of age as of January 18, 2015. All eligible applicants, including women and ethnic minorities, are strongly encouraged to apply to the program.

This program is particularly focused on outside scientific knowledge and perspectives into the government, and in creating new career experiences for the participants. As such, the program particularly encourages applications from scientists who are not already employed by their home governments. Government scientists applying to this program must clearly articulate in their

Essay Questions how the program will provide them with new opportunities and further their career development. Government scientists cannot seek a fellowship to continue their position within their current ministry or role.

Application Package

  1. Applicant profile: full name, contact information, and science and technology priority areas of interest (Biodiversity, Energy Security, or Fisheries & Coastal Management)
  2. Curriculum vitae (not to exceed five single-spaced, single-sided pages)
  3. Three letters of recommendation; at least one of the recommendations must come from a person working in government or civil society organization. Please note that the applicant is responsible for ensuring that all three letters are submitted by the January 18, 2015 deadline
  4. Essay Questions. Provide answers to the following four questions, limiting responses to 300 words each:
    1. Describe a problem related to your chosen science and technology priority area (one of the three listed above) that you are passionate about addressing. Why is this an important issue and what do you see as some of the opportunities and challenges related to using science to influence public policy or management in this area?
    2. Why are you interested in participating in this program? How will this help you advance your career and realize your professional goals?
    3. Describe a time when you demonstrated leadership, took on a leadership role on a project, and/or worked to build consensus among differing viewpoints.
    4. This is an ASEAN-wide program. What do you see as the potential benefits of working within/through ASEAN? Please also describe what you think are the potential challenges.

Submit application packages and direct any questions to the following email: ASEANsciencefellows@dai.com.

Selection Criteria

The Fellows will be evaluated based upon the following four criteria:

  • Scientific and/or technical background and professional accomplishments
  • Leadership and/or potential for leadership
  • Communication, interpersonal, and outreach skills
  • Commitment to three main goals of the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows

These criteria and the point allocations are further explained below. Scientific and technical background and professional accomplishments are weighted more heavily than the other three categories. However, professional accomplishments alone are not sufficient for success, Fellows must also possess a combination of leadership attributes, a commitment to the program goals, and strong communication and interpersonal skills.

Scientific and/or Technical Background and Professional Accomplishments (40 points)

  • Strong academic background with a minimum Masters-level degree in relevant technical or scientific field with a strong preference for Ph.D. level
  • At least three years of professional work experience in area of expertise for applicants with Ph.D., five years for applicants with Masters degrees.
  • Employment in relevant academic, applied scientific/technical, research, administration outreach, or policy positions appropriate to career stage and field
  • Record of publications and/or presentations appropriate to career stage, field, and institutional setting
  • Record of grants and/or participation in research projects or other scientific/technical initiatives appropriate to career stage, field, and institutional setting
  • Professional accomplishment related to the application of science to policy or to the design or implementation of development activities

Leadership and/or Potential for Leadership (20 points)

  • Prior leadership roles relevant to career stage, such as membership in graduate student government, faculty committees, advisory, or editorial committees and/or active participation in professional societies, non-profit organizations, or community initiatives
  • Demonstrated potential organizing and leading projects, building consensus, and leading teams of people toward positive outcomes
  • Demonstrated flexibility and the ability to work well independently or as part of a team
  • Proven potential to take initiative and make the most of opportunities given

Communication, Interpersonal, and Outreach Skills (20 points)

  • Excellent communication skills and attention to detail. Proven proficiency in English language, the official language of ASEAN
  • Ability to convey scientific knowledge in broader, non-scientific contexts (i.e. able to present complex ideas or data in layman’s terms)

Commitment to Goals of the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Program (20 points)

  • Strong interest in applying knowledge toward the solution of problems in the chosen science and technology priority area
  • Alignment of background to host country priorities
  • Willingness and flexibility to tackle issues beyond area of expertise and the capacity to interact with policy makers and expand experience into the policy realm
  • Demonstrated commitment to applying scientific and technical expertise to serve society and to advance regional cooperation

Shortlisted candidates may be contacted for a second round of evaluation, which may include an interview and/or request for video submission. The evaluation committee reserves the right to select second year Fellows without undergoing a second round.

Timeline

December 5, 2014 – Application request posted

January 18, 2015 – Applications, including letters of recommendation, are due at 5:00 pm Jakarta time and should be submitted to ASEANsciencefellows@dai.com.

March 1, 2015 – USASEAN sends notification to selected Fellows and initiates support

May 1, 2015 – Launch of Year Two ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Program