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Today, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the U.S. Government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), in partnership with UL, launched the fifth annual ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women.

The 2019 prize will highlight the theme of the "Circular Economy" and will be awarded to two women scientists from the ASEAN region. The ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI) will lead the selection of the winner of the $20,000 prize, a woman scientist who demonstrates the best application of original scientific research to this year's theme.

The second prize of $5,000 will be given to the scientist whose application merits an honourable mention. The winners will be recognized at the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology, and Innovation in Singapore in October 2019.

COSTI chose the "Circular Economy" as this year's theme to highlight the need for innovative management of the ASEAN's natural resources to meet the growing demands of the region's rapid population growth, projected to reach 660 million in 2025.

A circular economy is a regenerative system of production, utilization and consumption, and recycling aimed at minimising waste and maximising limited resources. Expanding the use of circular economy pathways will protect the environment of Southeast Asia and promote economic growth for future generations.

Fifth Annual ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize
Fifth Annual ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize

Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, Undersecretary for Research and Development of the Philippines' Department of Science and Technology and ASEAN COSTI Chair said, "Women in Southeast Asia are engaged in promoting the circular economy and undertaking research to expand it. Their work is crucial to the achievement of sustainable development goals. Through this prize we bring attention to women who are role models for young women and girls, encouraging them to take up science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers."

"The ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women provides an opportunity for women working in applied science to showcase how their work improves society in safe and sustainable ways. It also provides a platform for women scientists to become role models for other women working in and pursuing careers in STEM fields," said UL ASEAN and Australasia Vice President and Managing Director Anthony Tan.

"The U.S. Government is proud to partner with ASEAN and UL to promote the work of women scientists, who are providing sustainable solutions to the region's environmental and economic challenges," said Brian Ferinden, Chargé d'Affaires a.i. of the U.S. Mission to ASEAN. "We hope that this prize will encourage more women to enter the fields of applied science and to participate in research that supports sustainable economic development in ASEAN and the world."

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 helps to lay the foundations for prosperity and security.

Applications and nominations will be accepted by email at scienceprize4women@gmail.com and/or through https://scienceprize4women.asean.org from 4 April until 24 May 2019. Applicants should be aged 40 or under. More detailed information on the prize and its application requirements can be found at the website. For additional information, contact USAID Communications and Outreach Specialist Swiny Andina at jakartadocs@usaid.gov.