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APEC Opens Food Security Innovator Search Amid Climate Concerns

Lima, Peru | 2016.02.11

The 21 APEC member economies are on the lookout for next generation innovators whose collaborative research in the Asia-Pacific is breaking new ground in efforts to feed the region’s three billion people and support healthy, productive work forces needed to drive sustainable growth in the face of climate change.

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2016 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education whose theme, Technologies for Food Security, spotlights the cross-border development of innovations that are boosting the accessibility, safety and nutrition of food supplies and being led by researchers from APEC economies under 40 years of age. 

The theme of the award program, also known as the ASPIRE Prize, was announced by Peru as the Chair of APEC in 2016 and is an extension of deepening partnership between APEC economies to promote human development and quality growth across the region. 

“Achieving food security is a matter of priority and public necessity in Peru, and President Ollanta Humala will be addressing ways to improve the APEC food market during our APEC host year in 2016,” noted Gisella Orjeda, President of Peru’s National Council for Science, Technology and Technological Innovation. “Peru’s ASPIRE theme this year will serve as a platform to highlight technologies that our young scientists are developing to address the critical global issues of hunger, poverty and environmental degradation.” 

“Climate change, including the El Niño that is radically affecting ocean temperatures and weather patterns at present, poses an increasing threat to agricultural and fishery sectors that are a lifeblood of economies in the APEC region,” explained Dr Alan Bollard, APEC Secretariat Executive Director. “The deployment of new technologies could play a sizeable role in mitigating emerging food security challenges, which the region’s up-and-coming researchers are helping to take forward.” 

Entering its sixth year, the annual ASPIRE Prize recognizes the interaction between the APEC region’s researchers, universities, research centers and business community in fostering ideas and technologies that promote resilient and sustainable growth. 

Each APEC economy may nominate one individual for the ASPIRE Prize. Nominees must be from the region and under the age of 40. The impact of their work will be screened against scholarly publications and must involve cooperation with peers from other APEC economies. Relevant disciplines in 2016 include agricultural and environmental studies, sustainable development, agri-business management and nutrition, among others.

“Technological breakthroughs in food security will be critical to feed a growing global population and ensure sustainable, healthy APEC economies,” said Chen Linhao, Chair of the APEC Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and Innovation, which administers the ASPIRE Prize. “We look forward to seeing innovative research from young scientists in the region that is contributing towards an enduring food system—a goal laid out in APEC’s Food Security Road Map Toward 2020.” 

The ASPIRE Prize will be awarded in Lima in August, ahead of the APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting there in September to advance new policies for boosting the sector’s development. Publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge are sponsors of this year’s prize. 

“The ASPIRE Prize honors those who work across the APEC region to help solve the grand challenges of our time, and food security is one of the most urgent and multi-faceted problems the world is confronting today,” said Mark Allin, President and CEO of Willey. 

“Improving food security is a growing focus of cross-border and multidisciplinary collaboration,” added YoungSuk “Y.S.” Chi, Chairman of Elsevier. “This award provides a unique chance to spotlight the cutting-edge research and technologies being developed by young scientists from APEC economies to address food challenges. Our hope is that this recognition could help to build momentum for further breakthroughs with real global implications.” 

The winner of the 2016 ASPIRE Prize will receive USD 25,000 in prize money.