Annual Report 2008/09
In 2008, AUN/SEED-Net started the second Phase with the strong commitment of all member institutions and stakeholders concerned. Although the world is currently suffering a serious economic recession, the significance of AUN/SEED-Net is increasing. It was in the late 1990’s that the idea of establishing AUN/SEED-Net as a regional human resources network center was announced by the Government of Japan. At that time, Asian countries, including Thailand, were facing the hardship of the Asian Economic Crisis, and they recognized the necessity that higher education institutions in the ASEAN region be strengthened, to produce a sufficient number of engineers in response to industry needs. I also believe that human resources development is really significant in times of economic downturn.
Now AUN/SEED-Net is well established as a “regional public good”, we expect all alumni members will contribute to finding solutions for the socio-economic problems of the region, such as global climate change, new processing methods, and so forth, in order to promote our economic activities. To achieve that goal, it is necessary to utilize not only the knowledge and skills gained, but also to leverage the human network among ASEAN countries, and Japan. There are movements among the member institutions to make a MOU; a Memorandum of Understanding between two or more institutions, in the specific field of engineering, which is one example of deepened networking. Several regional conferences, upgraded from the previous Field-Wise Seminar, have resulted in active discussions, and the promotion of collaborative research. It is my hope that ASEAN countries and Japan will flourish together, while respecting and making the best use of each country’s diversity.
In the last Steering Committee in Japan, there was lively discussion on the expectations for the future of AUN/SEED-Net. We have to consider strategy in order to maintain this network as a platform for dialogue and exchange between government officials and university communities. One challenge is to make the existing programs more attractive and competitive enough to receive good students, in order to keep the quality of the network up.
Finally, I would like to express my appreciation for the great contributions from all related individuals and organizations. All these achievements would not have been possible without the vigorous participation and support of the Member Institutions, as well as that of the governments of the member countries, together with the cooperation of Japanese universities.
Mr. ONISHI Yasunori
On behalf of the ASEAN Foundation, I congratulate the ASEAN University Network Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (AUN/SEED-Net) for a successful and fruitful 2008. The partnership between the ASEAN Foundation and AUN/SEED-Net has moved from Phase I (2003-2007), which expanded and enhanced the educational and research engineering capacities of 19 AUN Member Institutions and 11 leading Japan Universities, to Phase II (2008-2013), which aims to establish a sustainable framework of human resources development network in various engineering fields.
Under the current partnership, the ASEAN Foundation supports the implementation of 25 regional conferences in nine engineering fields and five interdisciplinary research areas in order to strengthen the linkage among the academe, industry and community. These regional conferences provide an avenue for various ASEAN stakeholders to share knowledge and expertise on regional issues and to enhance their capacities in various fields.
This collaboration supports the mission of our organizations to promote sustainable social and economic development in ASEAN through human resources development and interaction among various stakeholders. It is in line with the ASEAN Foundation’s mandate raise ASEAN awareness and identity, promote people-to-people interaction, develop human resources and alleviate poverty in the region.
We look forward to a continuing partnership with AUN/SEED-Net that will help build the ASEAN Community.
Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr.
Since its official launch in 2003, AUN/SEED-Net has been one of the most successful cooperation between ASEAN and Japan. Remarkable progress and achievements have been made possible by great endeavour of strong partnership among our friends from ASEAN and Japan. Now, the successful journey shall continue to the Phase II of the project.
The detailed plan for the Phase II of the project has been officially endorsed through the MOU signing ceremony between the Member Institutions of AUN/SEED-Net on 22nd October 2008 in accordance with the finalised resolutions from the 13th Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2007 Annual Meeting in August 2007. Phase II will see more contributions from Member Institutions. This would enhance spirit of project ownership which in turn would reinforce sustainability of the project through the robust commitment from all stakeholders in cost-sharing scheme.
During Phase II, the project will vigorously keep up the success of Phase I programmes including Master’s Degree, Doctoral Degree Programmes, Doctoral Degree Sandwich Programme, Field-Wise Seminar as well as Dispatch Programme. The goal of promoting human resource development in engineering field will be heartily pursued and implemented through the exchange of students and academic staffs as well as building network among Member Institutions and Japanese Supporting Universities. Although the project might expect difficulties during Phase II as some challenges are discovered during the implementation period of Phase I, all partners, with utmost capacity and commendable effort, will work together through collaborative actions to address the challenges experienced and to strengthen the network and implementation of the projects and supporting activities.
In capacity of the New Executive Director of ASEAN University Network, it is a great honour and pleasure to deliver a solid commitment to fully support and provide facilitation to the network’s endeavour in implementing and attaining successful progress, with its full capacity, on its activities and programmes of Phase II. Today, the network will continuously move forward through heartfelt cooperation of all stakeholders for its objectives. With our spirit of unity, I am certain that AUN/SEED-Net will grow stronger and become the integral part in contributing to the integration of the envisioned ASEAN community as well as consolidating relationship and networking with Japan which will lead us toward the bright future of mutual prosperity.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nantana Gajaseni
It is truly encouraging for me to see that the first year of AUN/SEED-Net’s Phase II has passed with fullest cooperation and strongest commitment of all member institutions and all other concerned parties in the attempt to maximize the benefits of the project activities in order to contribute to the sustainable development of ASEAN.
With all the achievements in the past years and the confirmation of the remaining future needs in human resource development as well as in the improvement of MI research capacity and network strengthening, the continuation of AUN/SEED-Net Project for another five years was officially approved by the Japanese government and by JICA in late October 2007.
As a result of the preliminary survey conducted with all members, AUN/SEED-Net came up with the strategic plan for this 2nd Phase. After intensive brainstorming within the network, it was made clear that our missions are to continuously enhance educational and research capacities of our members; to conduct our collaborative research activities in a way that will contribute to finding solution for common issues of the ASEAN region; to strengthen and upgrade our engineering network; and to strengthen our system to function as a partnership university of technology among ASEAN and Japan. All program activities in the 2nd Phase were designed in response to all these missions.
To accomplish these missions, several strategies for implementation of the new phase were figured out through intensive brainstorming. While the main activities like Graduate Degree Programs still remain with some minor modification on rules & regulations for better improvement both in terms of efficiency and quality, the research themes for Collaborative Research Program were modified and expanded to cover the critical common issues of not only the region but also the entire world such as disasters, natural resources, energy and environment issues, and the scale of Field-wise Seminar Program in Phase I has been upgraded to the Regional Conference Program in Phase II, which is expected to become a solid basis for the establishment of regional academic network for each area. Our regional conferences were also attended by several groups outside the network, e.g. local and foreign universities, private sector and government authorities concerned with each topic such as the involvement of South East Asian Consortium for Access & Preservation (SEACAP) in the AUN/SEED-Net activities in natural resources and materials and the involvement of World Health Organization (WHO) in the activities in environmental engineering group.
Moreover, realizing that our alumni are invaluable asset of the network and of the ASEAN region as a whole, several new supporting programs such as Research Program for Alumni, Short-term Training/Research Program in ASEAN, and Short-term Training/Research Program in Japan were launched in Phase II in order to enable the continuation of research activities and the connection as well as the collaboration within their respective engineering community. This is expected to contribute to the solid foundation for future generation who will become the driving force for academic and research activities in the region. At the same time, with the attempt to utilize the budget in the most efficient way, some activities which had been successfully facilitating the foundation of the network as a whole in Phase I were eliminated in this Phase II so as to encourage the initiatives and contribution from member institutions.
Apart from the attempts of the Project side in designing the supporting programs to serve the network, we have also been overwhelmed to see how our member institutions are keen about the quality assurance issue and about how to pave the way towards the partnership university in the future. It is very promising to see that all member institutions agree to focus on education standard and accreditation and to seek possibility to set up joint degree programs between member institutions and Japanese supporting universities through bilateral MOUs; whereas the MOU among all member institutions was actually signed at the 15th AUN/SEED-Net Steering Committee Meeting in Tokyo, Japan, in October 2008 which will facilitate the resources sharing among member institutions – the first step towards the future partnership university.
With all the above efforts and devotions since the beginning of the Project until today, our significant contribution to the regional development has been realized by JICA and the Project received JICA Award for Outstanding Contribution to Human Resource Development in ASEAN in November 2008, which is a very inspiring news to us all and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all stakeholders for bringing the Project this far. And although the Project’s Phase II has just started for only a year and it may need improvement and modification in some points, I am firmly convinced that, with the strong commitment and ownership’s spirit of all concerned, we can, again, achieve our targets and goal in contributing to the sustainable development of the region and the mutual understanding between ASEAN and Japan.
Prof. Dr. TSUTSUMI Kazuo
I have recognized the AUN/SEED-Net Project since its establishment in 2001, at the time I was the President of King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang, one of the members of the AUN/SEED-Net network. Thus, I am very pleased today to take the responsibility in the capacity of the AUN/SEED-Net’s Executive Director, succeeding Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sucharit Koontanakulvong who has paved the way for the second phase of the AUN/SEED-Net Project.
The year 2008 is the first year of the AUN/SEED-Net’s Phase II and also the beginning of the new task: to establish the sustainable framework of human resource development network contributing to the development of ASEAN under the ownership of the member countries. Although we have almost five years to accomplish this task, it is necessary for us to start planning and performing now because there are a number of assignments to be done. Capacities of the Member Institutions should be enhanced and standardized. Collaborative research should aim at meeting demands of and creating benefits for ASEAN community and industry. Engineering network within the ASEAN region as well as with Japan and other regions should be strengthened. A few planned activities should be initiated as stepping stones towards the Graduate School Consortium of Engineering among ASEAN – Japan.
Thus, in 2008 we have introduced many new activities, some of which were upgraded or improved from the activities in Phase I. Most activity programs have been well-received by Member Institutions and target groups; while some programs might need to be more promoted in the next year or to be re-designed to rightly meet the demand from the targets. Nevertheless, this year can be considered the promising start of Phase II when we have received a number of contributions from Member Institutions, Member Countries, and ASEAN Foundation, apart from main budget supported by the Japanese Government through Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). This signifies not only the growing sense of ownership among stakeholders, but also greater possibility for the AUN/SEED-Net Project to become the sustainable human resource development framework.
On behalf of the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat, I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to the Japanese Government and JICA, the Japanese Supporting Universities, the Member Institutions, the governments of the ASEAN Member Countries, the ASEAN Foundation, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the ASEAN University Network for their supports to and collaboration with the AUN/SEED-Net Project. With these continued supports, soon we would be able to realize our ultimate goal, that is, the sustainable development of ASEAN’s economy.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon
For sustainable industrial development of ASEAN, the ASEAN University Network/Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (AUN/SEED-Net) Project was established as an autonomous sub-network of the ASEAN University Network (AUN) in April 2001 from the initiatives of former Japanese Prime Ministers H.E. Mr. Hashimoto and Mr. Obuchi at the Japan-ASEAN Summit Meeting in 1997 and the ASEAN-Plus-Three Summit Meeting in 1999 respectively. The Project has been operated fully since 2003 with the aim at promoting human resources development in engineering in ASEAN, through the establishment of the network of 19 leading institutions from 10 ASEAN countries with the support of 11 leading Japanese Supporting Universities.
AUN/SEED-Net is supported mainly by the Japanese Government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and partially by the ASEAN Foundation. Activities are implemented by the Member Institutions and the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat with the support of the JICA Project for AUN/SEED-Net, now based at Chulalongkorn University, Thailand.
Sustainable social and economic development is promoted in ASEAN countries.
With a view to effectively utilising regionally available human resources for upgrading higher engineering education, AUN/SEED-Net seeks to activate internationally competitive personnel in leading engineering educational institutions in the region for advancing academic cooperation on an equal footing and for providing educational and technical assistance to less advanced engineering institutions and to promote collaboration and solidarity between academics and professionals in the region through the cross-border and region-wise development of engineering education and research capabilities.
Goals and Expected Outputs of Phase II
Foundation of a sustainable framework of human resource development network in engineering field, aiming at contributing to development of societies, is established in ASEAN under the ownership of the member countries. Expected outputs of Phase II include: Capacity enhancement of the member institutions, collaborative research for industry and community, engineering network strengthening, and establishment of Graduate School Consortium of Engineering among ASEAN and Japan.
Strategy & Concept Structure
To realize the missions, a consortium of graduate schools of engineering has been established to produce graduates with higher degrees of international standard by utilizing leading human resources from Member Institutions (MIs) and Japanese Supporting Universities (JSUs). Nine engineering fields have been identified and assigned to the nine MIs to act as the “regional hub” of each field in principle. These MIs, so-called Host Institutions (HIs), are responsible for training young graduates and teaching staff from other MIs to acquire master’s degrees and doctoral degrees in a Sandwich Program with JSUs.
Major contributions of the JSUs are to assist HIs in “joint thesis research supervision” of AUN/SEED-Net students to upgrade the quality of research through the Collaborative Research Program and to assist the MIs in capacity enhancement through the Japanese Professors Dispatch Program. Others supporting programs are also provided for academic excellence and networking, e.g. Short-Term Training/Research Programs in Japan and ASEAN, Regional Conference Program, and Research Program for Alumni Members.
The concept structure of AUN/SEED-Net and the list of host fields and HIs are illustrated in the figure and Table 1 below.
Concept Structure of AUN/SEED-Net (as of JFY2008)
Table 1: List of Host Fields and HIs
(Singaporean Member Institutions, namely Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and National University of Singapore (NUS), may host any engineering fields.)
The Graduate Programs in Phase II comprise the four core scholarship programs of Phase I, namely Master’s Degree Program, Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program, Doctoral Degree Program in Japan and Doctoral Degree Program in Singapore. The major adjustment is the change of the number of scholarships, namely 45 for Master’s Degree Program (a drop by 10 slots from 55) and 27 for Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program (an increase by nine slots from 18) with the aim to better respond to the MIs demand of PhD-holder faculty staff and the increasing number of Master’s graduates.
Due to more serious competition with other scholarship programs regionally and worldwide, a tendency of gradual decrease of number of applications to AUN/SEED-Net was observed. New strategies were discussed to help increase the number of applicants so as to fully utilize the available resources. One strategy called “two-batch application” to announce the scholarship program(s) two times a year was proposed to and agreed upon by all concerned MIs in JFY2008 and will be put into implementation particularly for Master’s Degree Program and Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program in the following fiscal years.
The 45 scholarships under the Master’s Degree Program in Phase II would be allocated evenly to nine HIs, except NTU and NUS. With respect to the implementation of the cost-sharing policy of the Graduate Programs in Phase II, the two Singaporean universities were obliged to contribute for the production of doctoral graduates to comply with the universities’ focus on higher level researches.
In JFY2008, the Master’s Degree Program called for applications during October 2008 – February 2009 and received 133 applications from 106 candidates endorsed by 12 SIs, except CU, KMITL and UY. The three biggest SIs were ITC, NUOL and UGM for 26, 20 and 13 applicants, respectively, as depicted in Chart 1.
Classified by profession, the majority of the applicants were fresh graduates and graduating students, 67%, and academic staff (including research staff), 27%. The rest were candidates from private company and governmental offices, 8% and 2% correspondingly.
Chart 1: Master's Applicants and Scholarships in JFY2008 by SI
When sorted by HIs, the largest number of applications were submitted to CU/EEE and UP (20), followed by CU/CE (18) and UGM (17). Each HI fulfilled the five scholarships except ITB which accepted only four successful candidates. The unused slot of ITB was reallocated to CU/EEE for it got the highest number of applicants and applications. In addition to the original 45 slots, the project granted an extra scholarship to each HI in this fiscal year due to the remaining budget from the Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program 2009 of which the situation would be reported in the next chapter. In summary, the Chart 2 shows that 52 candidates were accepted to pursue Master’s degree in this fiscal year. ITB and KMITL, unfortunately, did not accept extra student because of the shortage of successful candidate to fill the additional slot and the declination of scholarship by an awardee due to his family problem (ITC), respectively.
Chart 2: Master's Applications and Scholarships in JFY2008 by HI
By the fiscal year end, 41 Master’s students completed their study including one student from 2004-batch (after his scholarship extension) and one student from 2007-batch who graduated before the scholarship ended. Besides the 39 graduates, following was the status of the other students of 2006-batch; two students at NUS (both from ITB) were upgrade to PhD program with two more years of study under the main financial support from the concerned HI, nine students continued their study after the scholarship ended with no additional support from the project and, unluckily, one student was terminated for his failure to pass the continuation requirement of HI.
The announcement for applications to the Master’s Degree Program 2009 was made in October 2008 as usual but with a shorter deadline in January 2009 according to the new scheme of two-batch application. The program got 104 eligible applicants endorsed by nine SIs with 143 applications, excluding two applicants who withdrawn for personal reasons. With the satisfactory number of applicants compared to JFY2008, the program did not announce the 2nd batch.
In principle, the 27 scholarships were distributed equally by three slots per nine host fields. In this fiscal year, only 22 individuals, including 10 AUN/SEED-Net Master’s alumni and students, applied for the scholarships as depicted by Chart 3. Around 68% were academic staff and the rest (32%) were fresh graduates or graduating students.
Chart 3: Doctoral Sandwich Applicants and Scholarships in JFY2008 by SI
The distribution of the applications and scholarships to each HI was shown in Chart4. CU/CE, UGM and UP were the most popular based on the number of applications. Finally, 18 successful candidates were awarded but, unfortunately, four turned down the offer for family problem (1) and acceptance of other scholarship (3). Therefore, 14 scholars plus one carryover from JFY2007 to DLSU were accepted to study in this fiscal year.
Chart 4: Doctoral Sandwich Applications and Scholarships in JFY2008 by HI
By joining this program, students were entitled to utilize Short-term Study in Japan Program (SSJP) during the scholarship period of three years. All students enrolled in Phase I (JFY2003-2007) could visit and get supervision from their Japanese co-advisor as well as conduct experiment in Japan once for the maximum period of 12 months. In Phase II, aiming for students’ better research planning through early-stage discussion with Japanese co-advisor, the SSJP was modified by allowing up to two visits to Japan, one of which had to be within 1 month, with the total period of eight months and the students were permitted to make the first visit any time after commencing their doctoral study at HI.
As a result, in JFY2008 there were 35 eligible students consisting of five students of JFY2006, 15 students of JFY2007 and 15 students of JFY2008. Though being eligible in this fiscal year, many students planned their SSJP in the following year for several factors such as timing of enrollment, academic requirement/system and schedule of the Japanese co-advisor, etc. Table 2 portrays the number of all eligible sorted by field of study and their status in JFY2008.
Table 2: Summary of Short-term Study in Japan Program in JFY2008 by Field of Study
In this fiscal year, eight students completed their doctoral study (two from 2004-intake and six from 2005-intake), making in total 20 graduates under this program. To date, 61 scholars were still studying at HIs and among these 13 of them completed their scholarship period but still carried on to fulfill the graduation requirements.
According to the two-batch application scheme, the program for JFY2009 was announced in October 2008 and by the deadline of January 2009 seven SIs endorsed 16 applicants to eight HIs, except UGM. The screening process of the first batch finished in March 2009 and 11 candidates were short-listed for awarding. Against the annual offer of 27 scholarships, 16 slots were yet to be fulfilled. The second batch of application was consequently announced in April 2009 with the deadline in May 2009 and 12 applications were received. The progress of this program in JFY2009 is depicted in Chart 5.
Chart 5: Doctoral Sandwich Applications and the Short-listed in JFY2009 by HI
Message from AUN/SEED-Net Doctoral Sandwich Student
The 20th International Invention, Innovation, and Technology Exhibition (ITEX’09) was held in Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, Malaysia on May 15 - 17, 2009. It is an international event being held annually by MINDS (Malaysian Invention & Design Society), the largest body in Malaysia representing individuals, universities and companies who pursue excellence in invention, creativity, research and development, and industrial design. The exhibition brings together a showcase of inventions and innovations by universities, research institutions, individual inventors and the corporate sectors from Asian and European countries.
From the moment that my supervisor Prof. Dr. Ahmad Fauzi Mohd Noor informed me about this exhibition, I was so excited and wanted to experience such exhibition. At that time, we dared not thinking of any award, but to participate. However, we tried our best in this ITEX’09 with all of our efforts. On the first day of the exhibition, we explained about our research with demonstration to visitors and ITEX judges. On the second day, it was announced that our research was awarded one of the Gold Medals! We were very glad with this big surprise and my eyes were full of tears. There were live interviews by TV reporters, and photo sections. The gold medal award was presented in a very lively, entertaining dinner on the second night.
Our research is “Soft Magnesium Ferrite Nanocrystallites for Applications in Microwave Frequencies”, a collaborative reserach of USM, UY and Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT) sponsored by AUN/SEED-Net. It is the preparation of soft magnesium ferrite nanocrystallites for applications in microwave frequency range. This product is a solution for EMI problem (EMI suppression: cable filtering, computer and peripherals, communication systems) and electromagnetic shielding in sensitive human implants to our society which always seeks new technology.
Finally, we are grateful to AUN/SEED-Net supported by JICA, USM and TIT for the financial support and encouragement to conduct this research.
From Ms. Aye Aye Thant, doctoral sandwich student at Universiti Sains Malaysia, sent by University of Yangon, who won the ITEX'09 Gold Medal Award
The Doctoral Degree Program in Japan has been continued into Phase II to answer needs of the MIs for more teaching and research staff with higher degree. The program is designed for excellent students or faculty staff at MIs to pursue their study for doctoral degree in Japan for three years.
In JFY2008, the program received 33 applications from 12 SIs and granted 18 scholarships. The number of applications decreased from JFY2007 by 25% following the drop of application numbers from Myanmar and Cambodia. The SI with the highest number of applicants as well as awardees was HCMUT. In addition, there were nine PhD in Japan students receiving their degrees in this year, eight of whom graduated within the three-year scholarship period. Details of applications and scholarships in JFY 2008 are illustrated in Chart 6.
Chart 6: Doctoral Program in Japan Applicants and Scholarships in JFY2008 by SI
JFY2009 saw an increase of the applications again to 41. HCMUT sent nine applications and became the SI with the highest number of applications in consecutive years. While NUOL did not send any, ITC increased their applications to over 100% from JFY2008. Chart 7 shows the breakdown of applications by SI and field of study.
Chart 7: Doctoral Program in Japan Applications in JFY2009 by SI and Field of Study
Message from AUN/SEED-Net Doctoral Student in Japan
My dream is to become the most useful people for others. Then I realized that I could not reach my dream without faith and useful knowledge. As much as you have useful knowledge, as much as you can contribute to people and community. Being an AUN/SEED-Net student means opportunities to be trained, to sharpen up abilities, to gain knowledge and to meet wonderful people around the world. It is also about trying novel things, crossing limitations, expanding perspectives, and gaining new relationship.
Through AUN/SEED-Net, I could study manufacturing engineering deeply for my master’s degree at UM. Knowledge of product design and manufacturing are in my hand right now, under supervision of Prof. Dr. Zahari Taha. My soft-skill on conducting research and experiment was sharpened up through interactions with students, researchers, experts and staff at Centre for Product Design and Manufacturing UM. Also, my personalities were well developed by making relations and interaction with social life among international community. My knowledge increased rapidly during two years in Malaysia.
Through AUN/SEED-Net again, I continued my doctoral study in mechanical engineering at Keio University. An intelligent material named magneto-rheological fluid becomes an object of my research under supervision of Prof. Dr. Tatsuo Sawada. No one in my country studied this before, so I would be the pioneer if I could finish my study and return to be lecturer and researcher. My first year in Japan was wonderful, a complex chemistry between schools, academic, culture and social life. Despite two more challenging years, I wish my dream come true. Thanks to God, AUN/SEED-Net, UM, and Keio University for everything given to me.
From Mr. Muhammad Agung Bramantya, doctoral student at Keio University and master's graduate from University of Malaya, sent by Gadjah Mada University, who won the Best Poster Award at the 11th ERMR 2008 in Germany as well as the Fujiwara Award 2008 from Keio University
Since the first launch in JFY2006, the program has still maintained its attractiveness among the prospective applicants with the gradually increased number of applications by each year as illustrated in Chart 8. In JFY2008, NTU and NUS, as the program’s main sponsors, kindly kept the maximum scholarship quota of 20 or 10 to each university.
Chart 8: Overview of Doctoral Program in Singapore from JFY2006 - 2008
In details, 29 individuals from nine SIs applied to this program and six of them were AUN/SEED-Net alumni (4) and current Master’s students (2). Looking at their profession at the time of application, 73% were academic staff, 17% were fresh graduates/ graduating students and 10% were employees of private companies. The candidate submitted 40 applications in total; 19 to NTU and 21 to NUS as shown in Chart 9.
The same chart shows the allocation of the seven successful scholars admitted to the program at each HI. Actually, 10 candidates passed the screening and were awarded, namely four to NTU and six to NUS. Unfortunately, two turned down the scholarship offers (one to each HI) for personal problems and one deferred the scholarship to the JFY2009 for he had yet to complete Master’s degree.
Chart 9: Doctoral Program in Singapore Applicants and Scholarships in JFY2008 by HI
With the scholarship period of four years, the three first-batch students of JFY2006 and the nine second-batch students of JFY2007 were still studying and expected to complete their study within JFY2010 and JFY2011, respectively.
The program for JFY2009 called for applications during October 2008 – mid of February 2009 following the schedule of Phase I and received 31 applications from 27 candidates. More than half of the applicants were from YTU (14) while the rest were from CU (2), HCMUT (4), ITB (3), ITC (1) and UGM (3).
Corresponding to the discontinuation of the promotional trip in Phase II, an activity called “AUN/SEED-Net Open House” was initiated in JFY2007, originally as an activity for alumni network, with the focus on utilizing alumni as resource to promote the scholarship programs. After the first trial at NUOL in November 2007 with success, the activity was thus implemented as a substitute of the promotional trip. The open house, organized by SIs, would be a place where prospective candidates acquired comprehensive information about the AUN/SEED-Net scholarship and study programs not only through the presentation by HIs but also the sharing of experience by AUN/SEED-Net alumni. Nonetheless, unlike the promotional trip, no fund from the project was input but concerned SIs and HIs were requested to support expenses incurred as a part of the contribution to the sustainability of the network.
In JFY2008, six major SIs in Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos and Vietnam were encouraged to host the open house after the announcement of the scholarship programs for JFY2009. The event at each SIs was summarized in Table 3. Though it was the first time for most SIs, except NUOL, with great effort and generous contribution from the hosting SIs as well as the joining HIs, plus active involvement of the alumni at the concerned SIs, the half-day event was carried out successfully with considerable number of participants who were faculty staff, current students and fresh graduates.
Table 3: Summary of Open Houses in JFY2008
Nonetheless, being the first year of full implementation at several SIs, the preparation and operation were yet to be improved. In this fiscal year, due to late invitation sent from SIs as well as late notification from AUN/SEED-Net, only few HIs sent their representatives to the event. Some other HIs showed their keen interests but did not join in this year for they needed longer time to secure budget and to assign representatives for the open house. As a result, advance invitation would be forwarded 2-3 months prior to the event so as to enable participation of more HIs in the following years.
The effect of the open house 2008 was quite evident for ITC and NUOL when looking at the significant increase in the number of applicants to Master’s program 2009 by 40% and 26%, respectively (compared to Master’s program 2008). For the impact on HI-side, ITB succeeded to improve the number of Master’s applicants to fill their five slots and recruit seven extra students to study under the Indonesian Government Scholarship in JFY2009. UM, unfortunately, did not obtain a satisfactory output from the event possibly because of the short notice of their participation sent to the host SIs resulting in late invitation to prospective candidates in the field of ManuE. The events at UGM and ITB took place after the application deadline for JFY2009, therefore, the main purpose was to promote for the following year.
All in all, the project strongly hopes that the activity would be continued every year not only at these six major SIs but, ideally, at all SIs in order to boost balanced participation in the scholarship programs of all member countries.
Realizing the necessity to increase research quality in ASEAN, the AUN/SEED-Net has continued the implementation of Collaborative Research Program (CR) to Phase II as a tool to bring academicians in ASEAN and Japan together. Through the program, AUN/SEED-Net students conduct their researches whose topics are relevant to the regional issues under the supervision of principal advisors from HI, and co-advisors from MI and JSU, and bring out theses with high standard.
Entering JFY 2008, the program was modified to promote more mobility in engineering education in ASEAN. First, as to underline the importance of involvement from non-hosting MIs, participation of faculty staff from non-hosting MIs became compulsory in every CR proposal. Second, significantly CR topics under interdisciplinary areas have been encouraged as the scope of researches in ASEAN has been expanding to cope with current issues. Another change relates to the CR annual budget scale for students who enroll at the HI in the second phase; that are USD 3,500 per one master’s student and USD 5,000 per one doctoral student.
In addition to the effort to strengthen research capabilities through the CR program, the Project also provided special support to the HIs with needs to access more international journals according to Graduate Program Survey conducted during this fiscal year. DLSU and UGM were funded for yearly subscription to three international journals in their fields.
As shown in Table 4, in JFY 2008, 124 CR projects involving 105 master’s and 51 doctoral students were approved with total amount of support at over USD 600,000. The list of CR projects in JFY2008 is provided in Appendix I. Additionally, under the Journal Support scheme, approximately USD 10,000 were granted to enhance the capacity of engineering studies at HIs.
Table 4: Summary of Collaborative Research Program in JFY2008
Message from Faculty Staff of Member Institution
Looking back when I first joined AUN/SEED-Net, it is also the same time when I began my university lectureship at the department of civil engineering. As co-investigator of a master’s students at that time, I knew the AUN/SEED-Net as just a Japanese agency providing postgraduate scholarships for ASEAN students. After that I have joined more activities bit by bit, e.g. field-wise seminar and short term visit to Japan. Presently, I have involved in many AUN/SEED-Net programs and the most important role is being an academic supervisor of AUN/SEED-Net students.
I have learned from the AUN/SEED-Net activities that there are a lot of benefits beyond just scholarship. The Collaborative Research program can enhance more collaboration among AUN/SEED-Net members; the budget from this program also support us to perform good research at Chula. The Japanese Professor Dispatch program can be employed to invite some Japanese experts to transfer us knowledge or skills in particular area. Regional conference and workshop can help us share research that we have done in the past and shape what to do in the future.
To me, I am now carrying out two research topics supported by AUN/SEED-Net. The first research entitled “Development of thermodynamics-based soil model and finite element implementation” has Mr. Dedi Apriadi from Indonesia working as a PhD research student. He just came back from one-year visit to Tokyo Institute of Technology under the PhD Sandwich program, where he earned lots of technical knowledge and culture. The second topic entitled “Dynamic properties of Chiang Mai Sand using cyclic simple shear test” has involved with a Cambodian master’s student named Mr. Soksan Thay. He is exceptionally hard-working student with good experimental skill. He has patiently carried out a plenty of experiments. Both students are expected to finish by October 2009. Moreover, I am involved with another two Thai PhD students under the CHE & AUN/SEED-Net scheme. One already visited Hokkaido University for one year and another plans to visit Kyoto University next year.
Not only I but also my colleagues have earned many opportunities from the AUN/SEED-Net to explore our international experience. I would like to express trustful gratitude to the AUN/SEED-Net for giving us great benefits to enhance and fulfill our postgraduate curriculum requirement. As a part of ASEAN people, we hope to see more valuable projects from JICA like the AUN/SEED-Net Project in the future.
From Asst. Prof. Dr. Suched Likitlersuang, Department of Civil Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University
The Regional Conference Program (RC) was firstly introduced in Phase II as an upgraded program of the Field-wise Seminar (FWS) in Phase I. Thirteen RCs organized in JFY2008 successfully served as larger venues for academics and experts from inside and outside AUN/SEED-Net network to gather and share new inventions and knowledge in their engineering community.
With the scale of conferences enlarged, ASEAN Foundation stepped in as main sponsor to support 25 RCs financially in two years during JFY 2008 – 2009. With one RC in the area of Biotechnology postponed to JFY2009, the 13 RCs in JFY2008 as in Table 5 were organized in five countries with two sources of major funding from either ASEAN Foundation or JICA.
Table 5: Regional Conferences/Workshops in JFY2008
There were almost 1,400 participants in total 13 RCs, 69% of whom were from the AUN/SEED-Net network while over 31% came from private sectors, governments, NGOs, and universities outside the network. The top three RCs with the most participants were MatE hosted by USM, ME/AE hosted by ITB and EEE hosted by CU respectively; just the RC in MatE impressively brought over a hundred of outside participants. The RCs had altogether more than 600 academic papers presented in either poster or oral format and honorary guest speakers from international organizations such as World Health Organization (WHO) and leading universities in USA or Japan.
The engineering network has been expanded as the increase in support from every party became obvious. There were RCs organized jointly with other international conferences as well as co-funded by other institutions. For instance, the RC in ME/AE which was the first RC of the second phase was organized in conjunction with an inauguration of Indonesian Section of Japan Society Mechanical Engineers (JSME) International Chapter. Commission on Higher Education (CHE), Thailand also acted as co-sponsor for two RCs in Thailand, namely RC in EEE and ICT.
Principal investigators and advisors of AUN/SEED-Net students at HIs are able to invite professors from JSUs to visit MIs to strengthen research collaboration and participate in RCs through the Japanese Professor Dispatch Program (JPDP). Initially, eight slots of dispatch for each fundamental field and two slots for each interdisciplinary area were offered in JFY 2008. During the fiscal year, the Project announced three additional slots to each field and area, making a total of 11 slots for each fundamental field and five slots for each interdisciplinary area, or a maximum of 124 dispatches.
At the end of JFY2008, 90 slots were utilized with GeoE field (combining with Disaster Mitigation area), ManuE field, and EEE field using up all their quotas. ICT field, though one dispatch under the quota ceiling, invited at least one professor from eight JSUs. On the other hand, the JSUs with the largest number of dispatched professors were Tokyo Institute of Technology (TIT), Hokkaido University and Kyushu University respectively.
In addition, as depicted in Table 6, almost 50% of the dispatches were for the professors to join the RCs only, while 24% of the professors extended the trip to conduct researches at MIs as well as taking part in the RCs.
Table 6: Japanese Professor Dispatch Program in JFY2008 by Purpose
To expand more supports to non-hosting MIs especially in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, Faculty Staff Dispatch Program was launched with features that enable the non-hosting MIs to invite faculty staff of other MIs and JSUs to pay a visit to their institutions for various academic purposes. Implementation of the program throughout JFY2008 expressed smooth and sufficient transfer of knowledges and intellectual abilities from the invited MIs and JSUs to the inviting non-hosting MIs.
With quota of three dispatches from MIs and one from JSU per an inviting MI, HCMUT utilized two slots of the dispatch from MI and one slot of the dispatch from JSU, and NUOL utilized two slots - one each from MI and JSU. Table 7 shows more details of the dispatches.
Table 7: Faculty Staff Dispatch Program in JFY2008
With a view to enhancing academic capacity of non-hosting MIs and promoting research collaboration among all MIs, Short-term Training/Research Program in ASEAN was launched for faculty staff of non-hosting MIs and AUN/SEED-Net graduates. Participants of this program could obtain more knowledge and upgrade their teaching and research skills through research training at concerned HIs in ASEAN. Meanwhile, academic network of all MIs was maintained and kept dynamic as a result of this academic activity.
In JFY2008, from total 27 quotas to be allocated equally to nine host fields, only two quotas were utilized by participants from ITC in two engineering fields, namely ChE and EnvE. One quota of ChE field was utilized for the visit to DLSU, and the other quota of EnvE was utilized for the visit to UP. More details are depicted in Table 8.
Table 8: Short-term Training/Research Program in ASEAN in JFY2008
The AUN/SEED-Net Project stepped to Phase II with growing number of graduates returning home countries to become faculty staff at sending MIs. To enhance research and educational capacity of the AUN/SEED-Net faculty-staff graduates, Short-term Training/Research Program in Japan was launched. Through the program, eligible graduates could make a visit to JSUs so as to receive advanced training from Japanese professors or conduct quality research at fully-equipped laboratories in Japan. Concurrently, relationship between the MIs and the JSUs was developed and strengthened through academic activities of the faculty staff.
In JFY2008, the obtainable 18 slots were prepared primarily for two application batches. Resulting from the two-batch calls for application, six successful applicants of the first batch and four successful applicants of the second batch were granted support from the program. In order to fulfill the remaining slots, the third batch call was made and, ultimately, three more applicants were granted the support.
The 13 participants of this program were in five engineering fields from seven SIs and made visits to five JSUs, as shown respectively in Chart 10, 11, and 12.
Chart 10: Short-term Training/Research Program in Japan in JFY2008 by Field
Chart 11: Short-term Training/Research Program in Japan in JFY2008 by SI
Chart 12: Short-term Training/Research Program in Japan in JFY2008 by JSU
Aiming to promote continuous capacity enhancement of alumni who returned to teach at their home institutions, the Research Program for Alumni Members was introduced in JFY2008 to give financial support to the faculty-staff alumni for their further research in home countries, preferably in relation to their CR topics done during master’s or doctoral study. Every year the program would grant the 2,000-USD fund to each of maximum 20 selected alumni with best proposals. Outputs of the research will be presented at AUN/SEED-Net Regional Conference/Workshop in the related engineering field.
The program in JFY2008 called for application during April - June 2008. Nine alumni filed applications but only seven of them were selected for the grant, while two applicants were unsuccessful because one was yet to graduate (ITC) and another sent the research proposal which was not sufficiently concrete (NUOL). In addition to the grant from AUN/SEED-Net, three alumni from HCMUT, UP and USM integrated the proposed research projects with fund from other sources. The summary of participated alumni and their research projects under the program is given in Table 9 below.
Table 9: Summary of Research Program for Alumni Members in JFY2008
In response to the project’s encouragement to conduct orientation and monitoring meetings over the teleconference, the orientation for new students in JFY2008 was conducted through the teleconference by most HIs, except CU and KMITL for the traditional visits were convenient and incurred small costs as well as NUS for it was joint with other meeting. Stepping in Phase II, student regulations of Phase I were reviewed based on the improving on-time graduation rate of master’s students and the project’s new policy about students’ mobility. Accordingly, the extension of scholarship for the Master’s program has been discontinued while the postponement of return date allows longer period for both master’s and doctoral students. Besides, a new regulation about leave for study/ research was introduced. All the regulations enforced in Phase II are explained in Appendix II.
In this fiscal year, 10 doctoral sandwich students of 2005-intake requested for extension of scholarship for 2 - 6 months with the aim to complete/revise thesis, take final examination and/or fulfill journal publication requirement; two of them completed the study within the extension period (KMITL, USM) while one graduated after the extension ended. Seven of them carried on their study in JFY2009. Meanwhile, 12 master’s students and two doctoral sandwich students requested for postponement of return date with the period of 2 - 8 weeks.
For the Leave for Study/Research Purpose, two master’s students requested for the leave and got approvals from AUN/SEED-Net as described in Table 10. Hopefully, in the following years more students would make use of this leave in order to boost the mobility of students as well as the deeper HI-SI research cooperation.
Table 10: Students' Requests for Leave for Study/Research Purpose in JFY2008
As for the monitoring of the students, three usual means were utilized, namely meetings with students and HI’s faculty staff, semester/trimester-interval submission of progress reports and semi-annual report of publications. Most monitoring meetings were arranged during visits at HIs in conjunction with other main activities like regional conference, with some exceptions where the monitoring visit was conducted individually.
In general, there was no serious problem reported through the meeting and progress report. Most students in all programs showed satisfactory performance and study progress. Nonetheless, unluckily, there were two master’s students whose scholarships were terminated in this fiscal year; one (from the JFY2006 batch) for his failure to meet continuation requirement plus the other (from JFY2007 batch) for his long absence without notice and proper reason. The overview of all students in each program classified by their status is depicted in Chart 13.
Chart 13: Overview of AUN/SEED-Net Students in JFY2001-2008 by Status
In June and November 2008, students were requested to submit or update their publication report. Cumulative number of publications collected from AUN/SEED-Net students in each program since JFY2005 is summarized in Table 11.
Table 11: Number of Publications by AUN/SEED-Net Students
In JFY2008, 57 students graduated from our scholarship programs, namely 41 from Master’s program, eight from Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program and eight from Doctoral Degree Program in Japan. In summary, since JFY2003 the project has produced 230 master’s graduates and 41 doctoral graduates (20 and 21 from ASEAN and Japan, respectively). The number of graduates produced in each fiscal year is depicted in Chart 14.
Chart 14: Number of Graduates by Year of Graduation
To date 46% of master’s graduates have been continuing their study at a higher level. Among those, 76% are under AUN/SEED-Net supports and 24% under supports from other sources. So far 12 of the master’s graduates pursuing doctoral degrees under the AUN/SEED-Net programs have completed their doctoral study (eight from Japan and four from ASEAN). Therefore, if counted by head, the number of alumni would become 259 (from 271 graduates) as illustrated in Chart 15.
Chart 15: Number of Alumni from JFY2003-2008 by SI
As for professions of the alumni, to date the majority has returned to their home country and serves as faculty staff (101) while 94 alumni are pursuing doctoral degrees (69 are under the AUN/SEED-Net scholarship programs) and around 62% of these doctoral students are faculty staff. Other professions of the alumni are summarized in Chart 16.
Chart 16: Number of Alumni from JFY2003-2008 by Profession
Considering the expanding alumni network, the existing activities for alumni like group e-mails and quota to participate in AUN/SEED-Net regional conferences/workshops were carried on while new supporting programs were introduced and implemented in Phase II with the alumni working at their home institutions, namely the Research Program for Alumni Members (RA) and the Short-term Training/Research Program in Japan (STJP). They aim to boost research capacity of the alumni by providing financial support to conduct research in their home countries under RA and visit JSU(s) for training or research purpose through STJP. Besides, the faculty-staff alumni are also eligible and encouraged to join the other new program called Short-term Training/Research Program in ASEAN which grants financial support for visit at other MIs for training or research purpose. The participation of the alumni in these supporting programs in JFY2008 is summarized in Table 12.
Table 12: Number of Alumni Joining Supporting Programs in JFY2008 by SI
Message from Alumni Member
In 2004, I received a scholarship from AUN/SEED-Net for the PhD Sandwich program in Chemical Engineering. My advisors in HI were Prof. Dr. Julius Maridable, Vice Chancellor of DLSU, and Prof. Dr. Pag-asa D. Gaspillo, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, DLSU, and my Japanese co-advisor was Prof. Dr. Junjiro Kawasaki from TIT. During the study I have been to TIT to carry out my graduation thesis, entitled “Extraction of Essential Oil from Lemongrass Using Supercritical Carbon Dioxide”. This paper received the “2008 Outstanding Scientific Paper Award” from the National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines, for the paper of graduation thesis on July 10, 2008.
After I graduated in March 2008, I came back to my university to continue my teaching and research. Now I am Vice-Dean of Chemical Engineering Faculty, HCMUT. I teach theory subjects such as General Chemistry, Inorganic Chemistry and Inorganic Pigment Engineering - a special subject for last year students, and some experiment subjects such as General Chemistry and Inorganic Chemistry, as well as Graduation Training for last year students. Besides, I am advisor for seven undergraduate students and two master’s students at HCMUT. I am now also one of co-advisors of Ms. Khin Hnin Aye, PhD student from Myanmar under the AUN/SEED-Net PhD Sandwich program in DLSU.
After I returned, I published one of my textbook in Vietnamese, “Inorganic Pigment Engineering”. Right now I am starting an alumni research entitled “Bleaching on Shellac Using Inorganic Oxidation Compounds” to ask for AUN/SEED-Net support under the Research Program for Alumni Members (RA), apart from being a co-chairman for the project “The Study on Activating of Waste Mud from Bao Loc - Lam Dong Bauxite Ore Refining to Use as Adsorbent Substances” - the second phase of a JICA’s project, and a chairman for the project “The Study to Produce Pigment MFe2O4 at Low Temperature - M is (+2) Metal Ion Using Metallic-organic Method” - now waiting for approval from Ho Chi Minh City government.
I found that the AUN/SEED-Net activities and supports for alumni not only help alumni continue their research after their graduation and strengthen their knowledge as well as their scientific skills, but also strengthen the relationship among alumni, their institutions and between Japan and ASEAN. Also, results from the alumni’s researches can contribute to the AUN/SEED-Net programs.
From Dr. Huynh Ky Phoung Ha, Vice Dean, Faculty of Chemical Engineering, Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology; AUN/SEED-Net alumnus graduating from De La Salle University
JFY2008 was the transition period from Phase I to Phase II of the AUN/SEED-Net Project, thus it was the appropriate time to evaluate what the Project has done and to determine future activities in public relations (PR). A survey form was designed for this purpose and was distributed widely to all stakeholders, students and graduates, as well as the public through e-mails and the AUN/SEED-Net web site. At the end of the two-month survey from April – May 2008, we received 115 responses mostly from students, alumni members, and faculty staff at MIs. Most of them knew AUN/SEED-Net from words of mouth (introduction by others) and seminars, as shown in Chart 17. From this data, we can conclude that promotion of the network by network members on any occasion and organization of seminars or conferences are very important as the most spreading and effective tools to publicize the network.
Chart 17: How People Get To Know AUN/SEED-Net
Among several PR items and activities launched in Phase I, web site, meeting reports and conference/seminar proceedings were most frequently used, exemplified in Chart 18. E-newsletter, however, was another popular item for Japanese professors, students and alumni. As for the public, posters posted at MIs and other places seemed to be another effective tool.
Chart 18: How Often People Use PR Items
Chart 19 shows the average score of the respondents’ satisfaction with our PR materials and activities in Phase I. Most respondents were satisfied with all materials and activities, with web site receiving the highest score. However, they suggested some improvements for the PR activities in Phase II such as distribution of PR materials to the MIs for their events on advance request, distribution of posters to the MIs along with graduate program announcements, production of VDO presentation for program and network promotion, report on conferences’ outcomes in newsletters, setup of online discussion forum, and upload of research list and abstracts to the AUN/SEED-Net web site.
Chart 19: Average Satisfaction Score of PR Items
As a result of the survey, the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat started new public relations activities and materials while improving the existing activities. Newsletters from JFY2008 onwards have contained summary reports on regional conferences and their significant outcomes. We also promoted the network and its members as well as its achievements through brochures, posters and VDO presentations delivered at the symposium organized by JICA Headquarters in conjunction with the 15th AUN/SEED-Net Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2008 Annual Meeting in Tokyo. AUN/SEED-Net regional conferences/workshops and open houses arranged in various countries have become our focused arenas since they could attract a lot of targeted people. To promote the network and the programs at these events, roll-up displays presenting the Project’s background and the graduate programs’ information have been produced, plus new sets of giveaways consisting of ball pens and note pads.
The stakeholders also helped promote AUN/SEED-Net to the public. For instances, ASEAN Foundation has published special leaflets for AUN/SEED-Net and has publicized news about our regional conferences/workshops on its web site. The Commission on Higher Education of Thailand publicized an article about the Project and the 15th Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2008 Annual Meeting in its newsletter. The International Development Journal published an article revisiting the Project to help promote the network to the Japanese. CU and DLSU often published news and articles relating to the Project on their newsletters, not to mention other MIs’ attempts to promote the network through their home pages. Especially, Thailand as the current chair of the ASEAN has promoted a lot of ASEAN cooperative activities including those dealing with higher education. In this regard, the AUN/SEED-Net Project was selected as a showcase of the ASEAN cooperation in this area and was broadcasted to the public in the news program “For ASEAN Community” on Modern Nine TV.
In total AUN/SEED-Net appeared to the public in forms of news and articles for 35 times during the whole fiscal year. Access to the AUN/SEED-Net web site reached its peak at 46,558 times with as many as 22,600 visitors. And apart from regular publications e.g. Minutes of the 15th Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2008 Annual Meeting, annual report, and newsletters, the Secretariat issued three press releases and a special book in commemoration of the AUN/SEED-Net Project’s Phase I called “The First Book of Achievements: Seeds of Hope”. This book reviews the Project’s objectives and gives an account of achievements and success stories from the establishment to the end of Phase I, with the aim at promoting the network’s merits for support and sustainability.
With these endeavors, it is expected that the public will understand the AUN/SEED-Net Project more clearly and become interested in joining the network and applying to the programs offered. However, the Secretariat still tries to work on other suggestions by the survey respondents, including production of VDO presentation and upload of student’s research list and abstracts to the web site. The next year will be another year of hard work for our public relations.
The fiscal year 2008 kicked off the second phase of the AUN/SEED-Net Project. From careful planning since a few years before, the new phase began its operation quite smoothly with tremendous contribution from stakeholders who recognized the Project’s merits in the past and wished for stronger impacts in the coming years.
Phase II of the AUN/SEED-Net Project began a new chapter in term of budget acquisition. Totally supported by the Japanese Government through JICA and partially by the ASEAN Foundation in Phase I, the Project’s budget in Phase II will be shouldered for one-third by the MIs, the member countries, and any other parties even though over 60% of the Project’s budget still comes from the Japanese Government through JICA and the ASEAN Foundation, as depicted in Chart 20.
Chart 20: Expected Cost-sharing for Phase II
In JFY2008 the MIs and the member countries began to provide substantial contributions to the Project according to the cost-sharing scheme agreed before the start of this phase. Those contributions include tuition fee waiving, research fund, travel cost for scholars, and travel cost and/or allowance for staff traveling overseas under AUN/SEED-Net programs. Besides, some supports have been extended from the last phase such as research scholarships for Doctoral Degree Program in Singapore offered by NUS and NTU and support during doctoral scholarship extension period by other HIs.
For the Graduate Programs which are main activities under the cost-sharing scheme, as many as 44 scholars of the JFY2008 intake have received co-supports from the MIs in terms of tuition fee, research fund, accommodation, and travel cost as shown in Chart 21. The total cost-sharing support by the MIs and the member countries in JFY2008 could be estimated roughly at USD 1,097,315 maximum, the most ever since the Project’s establishment. Summary of the cost-sharing support by the MIs and the member countries in JFY2008 are given in Appendix III.
Chart 21: Cost-sharing for Graduate Programs in JFY2008
Regional conferences are mainly sponsored by the ASEAN Foundation (AF), which granted the budget of USD 778,734 from the Japan-ASEAN Solidarity Fund to support the arrangement of conferences during JFY2008 - 2009. Apart from the AF and JICA budget, some conferences received financial and/or technical sponsorships from several organizations, e.g. MIs, JSUs and non-JSUs, government bodies, and established academic societies, as listed in Table 13. The conferences attracted many attendants in and outside the AUN/SEED-Net network, extending the network recognition and outreach to the wider world. AF Executive Director Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr. remarked after attending several conferences in JFY2008 that they were nicely organized and produced fruitful outcomes. He hoped that the conferences would serve as the key to strong academic network where scholars, industries and community working together for the region’s development.
Table 13: Regional Conference Co-sponsors from Other Organizations in JFY2008
The budget structure of JFY2008 is exemplified in Chart 22. In the first year of Phase II, JICA funded as much as USD 4.7 million to the AUN/SEED-Net Project, equal to 76% of the total annual budget. AF supported USD 0.35 million, 6% of the annual budget, for organization of 10 regional conferences in JFY2008. The rest 18%, equal to USD 1.1 million, was co-shared by the MIs and the member countries.
Chart 22: Budget Structure of JFY2008
For the proposal to the ASEAN Secretariat, it was concluded that the ASEAN Secretariat as fundraiser would seek any possible funds donated to ASEAN from Japan to sponsor the Project’s Phase II and would mention the need for the fund at any related ASEAN or ASEAN-Japan forums. However, the issue of financial strategy should be discussed further among the stakeholders; and the ASEAN member countries as the network owners would need to find proper mechanism to sustain the AUN/SEED-Net Network and its human resource development framework. To our delight, nevertheless, AUN/SEED-Net was given special attention at the 1st ASEM Conference of Ministers Responsible for Education held in Berlin during May 5-6, 2008. Focusing on strengthening cooperation in higher education by forging strategic partnerships, the ASEM Education Ministers viewed that AUN/SEED-Net as one of significant university networks among ASEM partners should be promoted to increase sustainability.
As one means to maintain the network, the MIs signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) at the 15th Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2008 Annual Meeting on October 22, 2008. This MOU will facilitate academic exchanges, resource sharing, as well as joint research within the network, which will be steppingstones to the future Graduate School Consortium of Engineering among ASEAN – Japan. The MIs would brainstorm at the next meetings to activate the MOU for networking and consortium programs, which would contribute to the ASEAN community in the long run.
CHE Faculty Development Scholarship Program in Engineering with Collaboration of AUN/SEED-Net
The Faculty Development Scholarship Program in Engineering by the Commission on Higher Education of Thailand (CHE) has been collaborating with AUN/SEED-Net since 2005, with the aim to increase the number of high quality lecturers and enhance academic performance in engineering in Thai state universities, corresponding to the objectives of AUN/SEED-Net. The program grants a maximum of 24 doctoral scholarships annually in three engineering fields hosted by Thai MIs, namely CE and EEE by CU and ICT by KMITL. Scholars under this program can study in the same classes of AUN/SEED-Net international students as well as sharing laboratory facilities and equipment supplied by AUN/SEED-Net. They are encouraged to involve in AUN/SEED-Net’s CR projects, whereby they can have Japanese professors serve as research co-investigators. During the study, scholars are allowed to conduct research at a Japanese university for 6-12 months and attend field-wise seminars or regional conferences in their fields if organized in Thailand.
Tenable for four years, 2008 was the last awarding year of the program. In 2008 there were 21 applicants and only 14 were successful (four in CE, two in EEE, and eight in ICT). In summary, from 2005-2008, the program received 76 applications and awarded 53 scholarships (27 in CE, 11 in EEE and 15 in ICT). As of March 2008, two scholars graduated and became faculty staff at their sending universities, nine were terminated, while 42 were on the course.
Though this program has ended, CHE still considers to continue supporting AUN/SEED-Net in other means and one already-implemented scheme is the CR fund for AUN/SEED-Net students at CU and KMITL. For all the supports, the AUN/SEED-Net Project has always been grateful to CHE and the Thai Government.
Indonesian Government Scholarship Program
Since 2007, Directorate General of Higher Education, Ministry of National Education of Indonesia has allocated 15 Indonesian Government scholarships to ITB and UGM for awarding faculty staff and faculty-staff-to-be mainly from AUN/SEED-Net MIs to pursue master’s degree in the field of mechanical and aeronautical engineering at ITB and geological engineering at UGM. Annually for five years from 2007-2011, 15 scholarships will be half-shared between the two institutions.
In addition to six scholars in the previous year, in 2008 there were seven awardees from ITC (3), NUOL (2) and HCMUT (2) to study for master’s degree in geological engineering at UGM. Unfortunately, there were no successful applicants from AUN/SEED-Net MIs to ITB yet. Nevertheless, with these additional scholarships, the international programs at the institutions could be stimulated by increased numbers of international students and consequently dynamically improved.
Not only should the Project be thankful for the contribution from the Indonesian Government that shores up the Project’s goals, but this well-illustrated ownership spirit should be marked for its committed effort to path the region’s future together.
The 2nd Coordinator Meeting
April 24-25, 2008: The second Coordinator Meeting for 2008 was organized at CU, Bangkok, with 51 participants including coordinators and observers from the MIs, JICA, and AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat. The plan to strengthen management and administrative capacity for activities in Phase II, new supporting programs as well as the situation of decreasing application number were main agenda of the meeting, apart from action plans of interdisciplinary research and future activities by HIs and MIs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. In conclusion, all MIs and AUN/SEED-Net agreed to find ways to boost program competitiveness and recognition, to add value to the programs, and to utilize the network to enhance the programs.
ASEAN-COST Plus Three Meeting
May 24-30, 2008: Mr. Umemiya Naoki, Program Coordinator as AUN/SEED-Net representative, attended the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST) Plus Three Meeting and the New Energy Forum for Sustainable Environment held at Kyoto University, Japan. The forum was jointly organized by Kyoto University, Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, and Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to discuss and promote partnership on education and research in the field of new energy for the Asian region.
Visit to the Commission on Higher Education of Thailand
October 2, 2008: The Secretariat team consisting of Executive Director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon, Program Coordinator Mr. Umemiya Naoki, and Senior Program Officer Ms. Rungchalai Punninda visited the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) of Thailand to introduce the new AUN/SEED-Net Executive Director to CHE Secretary General Dr. Sumate Yamnoon and officials in charge of the AUN/SEED-Net Project, as well as to brief them the programs of the 15th Steering Committee Meeting, the symposium, and the meetings with Japanese ministries.
The 15th Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2008 Annual Meeting & the Symposium on Strategic Partnership among Higher Education Institutions in ASEAN and Japan
October 22-23, 2008: According to the amended Cooperative Framework of the AUN/SEED-Net Project, the Steering Committee Meeting previously held twice a year would be held once a year together with the Annual Meeting. As the first meeting of Phase II, the 15th AUN/SEED-Net Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2008 Annual Meeting was specially hosted by JICA Headquarters and the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat in Tokyo, Japan, on October 22, 2008. There were 68 participants from the MIs, AUN, ASEAN Secretariat, JSUs, Ministry of Education of the ASEAN countries, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan (MOFA), Ministry of Education, Sports, Culture, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT), JICA Headquarters and AUN/SEED-Net. The meeting endorsed the nomination of new AUN/SEED-Net Executive Director, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon, and brainstormed extensively to intensify collaboration, to attract more applications, and to find additional funding mechanism. The MIs also signed the joint MOU to facilitate staff and student mobility as well as resource sharing, which is an initial step towards the Graduate School Consortium of Engineering among ASEAN and Japan.
In conjunction, the Symposium on Strategic Partnership among Higher Education Institutions in ASEAN and Japan: Building Regional Public Goods for Socio-Economic Development and Global Issues Solution was organized by JICA on October 23, 2008 to commemorate the success of the AUN/SEED-Net Project’s Phase I. It attracted almost 200 attendants from Japan and other countries who were interested in ASEAN – Japan higher education partnership. Keynote speeches and presentations by prominent figures on educational partnership projects highly esteemed the AUN/SEED-Net Project and its merits. Also, at the venue there were research poster exhibits by PhD students in Japan and public relations presentations of the MIs.
Apart from the two main events, the ministry officials and the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat paid courtesy visits to MOFA and MEXT in order to discuss the collaboration between ASEAN and Japan and to extend gratitude for their supports to the AUN/SEED-Net Project. The Secretariat team also visited staff and AUN/SEED-Net students at JICA Tokyo Center and JICA Yokohama Center to discuss how to improve the project implementation. A visit to TIT where accepted the largest number of AUN/SEED-Net students in Japan was also arranged so that the Secretariat could meet the management and professors, explore laboratories and facilities, and monitor the students.
The 24th AUN Board of Trustees Meeting
January 28-31, 2009: The AUN/SEED-Net team comprising Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon, Executive Director, Mr. Umemiya Naoki, Program Coordinator, and Ms. Rungchalai Punninda, Senior Program Officer, attended the 24th AUN Board of Trustees Meeting and the 2nd AUN Rectors’ Conference in Brunei Darussalam. The meeting and the conference were attended by high rank officials on higher education of the ASEAN countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, SEAMEO-RIHED, rectors and presidents, and management staff of AUN member universities. Agenda in focus included the amendment of AUN Charter, the assignment of new AUN Executive Director, and the enlargement of AUN membership. At the meeting, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit as AUN/SEED-Net Executive Director delivered the report on the update of AUN/SEED-Net activities to the Board of Trustees for their acknowledgement.
ASEAN+3 Higher Education Policy Dialogue 2009
March 21-22, 2009: The ASEAN+3 Higher Education Policy Dialogue 2009 “Intellectual Contribution to Enhancing the Future Higher Education in East-Asian Community” was arranged in Phuket, Thailand, by AUN with support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) of Thailand. The purpose of the meeting was to promote networking among universities in ASEAN and the Plus Three countries (Japan, China and Republic of Korea) and to make recommendations for higher education cooperation to be submitted to the ASEAN Education Ministers Meeting (ASED) in April 2009 and relevant ASEAN+3 meetings. Mr. Umemiya Naoki and Ms. Rungchalai Punninda from the AUN/SEED-Net Project joined this meeting as observers. In conclusion, the meeting agreed to establish the ASEAN+3 University Network and convene the ASEAN+3 Rectors’ Conference as well as the ASEAN+3 Heads of International Relations Offices’ Meeting annually in rotation between the AUN member universities and the universities in the Plus Three countries. The network would like to create ASEAN+3 Collaborative Academic Programs in various fields and to encourage student and staff mobility.
Reception of Visits
August 29, 2008: The Secretariat received a visit from Kyushu University. The group, comprising 13 students led by Prof. Dr. Kihara Takashi from Faculty of Economics, would like to learn more about AUN/SEED-Net activities.
September 10, 2008: The Secretariat received a visit from Sendai National College of Technology accompanied by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ruttikorn Varakulsiripunth, Vice President of KMITL. The objective of the visit was to learn about AUN/SEED-Net Project as a model project that promotes scholar exchange in the region.
March 5, 2009: The Secretariat received a visit of Mr. Nishiwaki Hidetaka, Director General of Human Development Department, JICA Headquarters.
It is the pride of the AUN/SEED-Net Project to be awarded the “JICA Award” for outstanding contribution to human resource development in ASEAN countries throughout the past years.
The JICA Award is the award given by JICA to successful projects with outstanding results contributing to development of human resource, society, and economy as well as promoting mutual understanding and relationship between Japan and other countries. Awarding selection is made every five years from over 800 JICA projects around the world. In 2008, only 22 projects were selected and AUN/SEED-Net was among them.
The award was announced at JICA Headquarters in Tokyo in September 2008 and was presented by Mr. Onoda Katsuji, Chief Representative of JICA Thailand Office, to the AUN/SEED-Net Project represented by CU Dean of Engineering Assoc. Prof. Dr. Boonsom Lerdhirunwong, KMITL Vice President Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ruttikorn Varakulsiripunth, BUU Deputy Dean of Engineering Dr. Charoen Chinwanitcharoen, and AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat led by Executive Director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon on November 6, 2008.
This award is not only the reward for our endeavor in the first five years. It is also the moral support for all of us to continue devoting resources and energy to realize our expected goals in the coming years of the AUN/SEED-Net Project.