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Underwriters Laboratories-ASEAN-U.S. Prize for Women 2021 Winners Announced
October 14, 2021

JAKARTA, October 13, 2021 – In partnership with the U.S. government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and Underwriters Laboratories, the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI) is proud to announce the 2021 Underwriters Laboratories-ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women winners. Under the theme Clean Air & Water, Dr. Neni Sintawardani from Indonesia received an award of $15,000 in the senior scientist category and Dr. Li Hongying from Singapore was awarded $10,000 competing as a mid-career scientist.

Named as the winning senior scientist, Dr. Neni Sintawardani, lead researcher on the Clean Technology team at the Indonesian Institute of Sciences, is honored for her work to improve community sanitation systems using biogas from processed wastewater to increase clean water availability. 

Clinching top honors as a mid-career scientist, Dr. Li Hongying, a Research Scientist at the Institute of High-Performance Computing, Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore, is honored for designing an internationally recognized ballast water treatment system to protect marine life from water pollution along with groundbreaking work in predicting airborne droplet dispersal rates to estimate the transmission risks of the COVID-19 virus. 

Earning honorable mentions, Dr. Seinn Lei Aye from Myanmar and Dr. Aduwati Sali from Malaysia, are recognized for their respective work developing low cost, efficient water treatment technologies for rural communities and peatland monitoring and management research catalyzing community-based technical and social innovations to help mitigate and prevent haze pollution in the region.

ASEAN COSTI Chair, Dr. Sirirurg Songsivilai, congratulated all award recipients for their research to improve access to clean water and clean air across the ASEAN region. “This competition continues to uphold the tradition of showcasing talented ASEAN women in science, technology and innovation fields and continues to inspire the next generation of women scientists leveraging research to benefit the region and beyond.”

Congratulations to all the competition winners for their work toward achieving safer water and air for millions of people,” said Dr. Marilyn Black, VP & Senior Technical Advisor at Underwriters Laboratories. “We believe that protecting our natural resources and providing clean air and water are critical for a healthier and more secure future for all. These award recipients are addressing emerging environmental and public health threats, and we are proud to support the ASEAN-U.S. science prize and its recognition of female scientists for their outstanding contributions.” 

“Together with ASEAN COSTI and Underwriters Laboratories, the United States congratulates the winners and runner-up honorees for their ambitious research achievements,” said Joseph M. Young, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. “The remarkable work of these scientists to address air pollution and access to safe water and sanitation help improve living conditions and environmental stability in the region while promoting solutions, led by women scientists, to bolster economic growth.”

Selected from a pool of fourteen short-listed candidates representing the brightest women scientists working in the field of Clean Water and Clean Air across the region, all four finalists presented their research to a panel of virtual judges.

The Science Prize for Women is organized through a partnership among ASEAN COSTI, USAID, and Underwriters Laboratories – a U.S.-based global public safety nonprofit organization – to recognize female scientists’ professional achievements and leverage their success to expand research endeavors as well as inspire future women scientists across the ASEAN region. 

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For additional information, contact USAID/ASEAN Communications Specialist, Samara Sanders at: jakartausaidasean@usaid.govDetailed information on each national finalist can be found at: http://scienceprize4women.asean.org.

About ASEAN 

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) brings together Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam in a community united by a common desire and collective will to live in a region of lasting peace, security and stability, sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and social progress, and to promote ASEAN vital interests, ideals and aspirations.


The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) works to promote and demonstrate democratic values and advance a free, peaceful, and prosperous world through international development programs and disaster assistance. As part of the U.S. strategic approach to the Indo-Pacific, USAID partners with ASEAN to promote prosperity and security through economic inclusion, women’s empowerment, and good governance. In 2020, USAID and ASEAN signed a five-year, $50 million Regional Development Cooperation Agreement to support regional challenges, economic integration, and rule of law to shape policies that influence national sectoral approaches.

About Underwriters Laboratories

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. is a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the UL public safety mission through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. UL conducts rigorous independent research and analyzes safety data, convenes experts worldwide to address risks, share knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develop standards to guide the safe, sustainable commercialization of evolving technologies. UL fosters communities of safety, from grassroots initiatives for neighborhoods, to summits of world leaders. The UL organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security, and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being. To learn more, visit UL.org.