Press Release: United States Announces Winner of 2016 ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women

Dr. Tan is a researcher and lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Food Technology at the Institute of Technology of Cambodia, working to turn volatile fatty acid and biomass into renewable energy resources. Dr. Tan is a finalist for the 2016 ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women on E

For Immediate Release

SIEM REAP, October 28, 2016 – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with UL, a global safety science organization, announced Dr. Worajit Setthapun of Thailand as the winner of the 2016 ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women. She was honored at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science in Technology in Cambodia for her groundbreaking work in sustainable energy research benefiting the ASEAN region.

The $25,000 annual prize supports promising, early-career female scientists in the ASEAN region and encourages collaboration between ASEAN member states and the United States around sustainable energy solutions. Due to the high level of talent identified in this year’s pool, the Prize partners awarded a second applicant, Dr. Sharifah Rafidah Wan Alwi of Malaysia with an honorable mention. The two women were chosen from over 60 applicants from ASEAN Member States and represent the best and the brightest women scientists focusing on sustainable energy.

“The United States is proud to support talented female scientists who are working to meet ASEAN’s growing energy needs and combat global climate change. By harnessing the power of science and technology, we have the potential to improve energy security, lower costs and can help advance economic prosperity across the ASEAN region,” said U.S. Ambassador to ASEAN Nina Hachigian.

By 2035, ASEAN is projected to need more than double its current energy supply to meet the region’s economic growth. Through USAID, the State Department, and the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States and ASEAN cooperate closely to create a low-carbon economic growth trajectory and build more climate resilient societies.

UL is honored to support ASEAN’s scientific research and the ASEAN/UL Science Prize for Women.  “Reviewing the award applications was a humbling and inspiring experience” shares Barbara Guthrie, UL Vice President and Chief Public Safety Officer. “Their brilliance as scientists, confidence as women and poise as global citizens assured me that anything is solvable.  Our world, our children’s world, our future is truly secure.  Together, we will, make the world a better place.”

Below is more info on the scientists and their research: 
Dr. Worajit Setthapun (Thailand) is a Director at the Asian Development Institute for Community Economy and Technology at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University. She has extensive experience in developing affordable and appropriate sustainable energy systems to enhance the livelihood and occupation of small and rural communities. She also develops and manages the Chiang Mai World Green City, which is a living laboratory for renewable energy application and green technologies.

Dr. Sharifah Rafidah Wan Alwi (Malaysia) is an Associate Professor at the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. Her expansive research covers topics such as CO2 emission reduction in energy utilization, maximizing energy efficiency for industry and buildings, creating bioenergy from rice and palm oil biomass, and creating an integrated design tool that combines renewable energy solutions with traditional fossil fuel-based energy. Watch a 3 minute video on Dr. Sharifah.

For more information, contact USAID Communications Officer Janice Laurente at or follow the conversation on Twitter at #SciencePrize. For photos, click here.


For more information about the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, please visit our website at or email at