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ASEAN-US Science Prize invites women to explore AI research

Azlan Othman

Applicants comprising ASEAN citizens with a doctoral degree are invited to participate in the 8th Underwriters Laboratories-ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women 2022.

The Asean Secretariat said the launch on Monday was co-organised by the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI), together with the United States (US) government, through the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Underwriters Laboratories.

The competition aims to raise awareness on cutting edge advancements by women in artificial intelligence (AI) research in addressing pressing issues in ASEAN communities.

Candidates working in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields will compete in two categories – Mid-career Scientist category for scientists aged 45 and below, and Senior Scientist category for scientists aged 46 and older, over the next several months.

Underwriters Laboratories, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the discovery and application of scientific knowledge, will award USD12,500 to each of the winners in both categories and USD5,000 to the runner-up finalists.

This year’s theme, AI in Health and Safety, was chosen for its importance in delivering better and more affordable healthcare services to over 660 million inhabitants of ASEAN.

In addition, robust AI applications can strengthen environmental safety in the workplace, bolster security of industry processing systems, and help address COVID-19 pandemic recovery efforts to deter future epidemics.

“Underwriters Laboratories continues to proudly support the work of women scientists in the ASEAN region through the science prize,’’ said Underwriters Laboratories senior vice president and chief research officer Dr Christopher J Cramer.

“We especially appreciate the opportunity to recognise these extraordinary scientists as they strive to harness the promise of AI to safely and equitably garner long-term health and economic benefits for communities in the region.”

“The US is proud to promote, along with ASEAN and Underwriters Laboratories, women scientists that capitalise on AI solutions to counter the region’s environmental, health, and safety challenges,” said Chargé d’Affaires of the US Mission to ASEAN Rachel Cooke.

“Through USAID’s continued support for this successful annual competition, the United States reaffirms its commitment to close gender gaps so that more women can help shape advancements in STEM fields.”

Chair of the ASEAN COSTI 2022 and Deputy Minister of Science and Technology of Vietnam Bui The Duy said, “Research and work in AI by talented women scientists of the region will not only benefit the local communities but will more importantly enable replication that will improve millions of lives within the region.”

Since 2014, the Science Prize for Women represents an ongoing successful US initiative in support of ASEAN and its 10 member states. As part of the US strategic approach to the Indo-Pacific, USAID partners with ASEAN to promote prosperity and security through economic inclusion, women’s empowerment, and good governance.

The deadline for applications is March 18.