Annual Report 2009/10
In an age where knowledge-based societies and globalization are surging forward, the internationalization of universities, creation of networks between universities, and strengthening of international partnerships are raising the value of higher education. They are also recognized as factors that are more important than ever before for the sake of conducting high quality research and turning out superior human resources. The tendency is toward an expansion of such initiatives in different countries and regions. Moreover, institutes of higher education are increasingly facing demands to give thought to solutions for challenges that exceed national boundaries, such as the environment, food, and infectious diseases. Beginning in 2003, AUN/SEED-Net has continued with its steady development as an “intraregional public good” designed to cope with such a rapidly changing society.
We started with Phase 2 in March 2008, after having received cooperation over the five-year period beginning in 2003. For Phase 2, we have been carrying out activities in good order while receiving tremendous cooperation and commitments from member institutions, Japanese supporting universities, and other concerned parties. The increase in participants to our regional conferences has been particularly noteworthy. At several regional conferences there has been an increase in the participants from universities other than member institutions and from industry, with this academic and human network starting to function as a more extensive network. With a view toward expanding this network and strengthening its foundations, in Phase 2 we are moving ahead with preparations to issue the ASEAN Engineering Journal. In conjunction with the regional conferences, which are expected to expand out to academic institutions in the ASEAN region in the future, this will offer a forum for researchers to present the results of their research. As a so-called gateway to academic society, this is considered to be indispensable for improving researcher’s motivation and for further raising the quality of their research through discussions with researchers in other countries and regions. For researchers in the ASEAN region, the expansion of such forum represents a major step towards the future development of the educational and research environment within the region.
In Phase 2, we will also be carrying out research support activities for graduates who acquired degrees under AUN/SEED-Net. When researchers acquire their degrees it does not mean that they have reached their goals, but rather that they have just lined up on the starting block. There are special expectations that AUN/SEED-Net graduates will achieve strong research results in an ongoing manner, and will turn out human resources who are capable of contributing to various countries and regions. Connections between people are what sustain the network. Graduates are strongly expected to continuously carry on with their relationship to AUN/SEED-Net as members of this network.
The Phase 2 activities will mark the halfway point for the five-year period of cooperation in 2010. At present, roughly 10 years have elapsed, including the preparatory period that began in 2001. Now, to develop AUN/SEED-Net to the next stage, everyone involved must use their intellectual ingenuity once more to think about modalities for AUN/SEED-Net. A mid-term review for the project is scheduled for October 2010, and I would like to use this opportunity to think about the ideal configuration for the future development of ASEAN together with everyone that underpins this network. I would like to ask for the continued cooperation of everyone involved.
Ms. Nobuko Kayashima
I congratulate the ASEAN University Network Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network (AUN/SEED-Net) for another fruitful year. The ASEAN Foundation is pleased to be a partner of the AUN/SEED-Net in helping strengthen the linkage and cooperation among the academe, industry and the community. This partnership has enhanced the educational and research capacities of 19 AUN Member Institutions and strengthened cooperation with 11 leading Japanese Universities. It has helped establish a sustainable human resources development network through the implementation of 25 regional conferences in various engineering fields.
For the coming year, the ASEAN Foundation and AUN/SEED-Net will implement another 14 regional conferences in nine engineering fields and in newly established interdisciplinary studies, which will bring together experts and researchers from leading universities in ASEAN and Japan as well as representatives from the government and private sectors. We expect these activities to provide an avenue for promoting transfer of relevant technologies for possible development and commercialization in the ASEAN countries.
Our continuing collaboration supports the mission of both organizations to promote sustainable social and economic development in ASEAN and in line with the ASEAN Foundation’s mandate to raise ASEAN awareness and identity, promote people-to-people interaction, develop human resources and alleviate poverty in the region.
We look forward to continued mutually rewarding partnership.
Dr. Filemon A. Uriarte, Jr.
It is my great pleasure to meet you again in the latest AUN/SEED-Net Annual Report. First of all, I, on behalf of the AUN Secretariat, would like to take this great opportunity to express my sincere thank to all of ASEAN and Japanese friends for their immense efforts in taking this successful network to this remarkable progress and achievements. With a strong commitment, the AUN Secretariat will assist all activities under the AUN/SEED-Net to achieve the goals and objectives in the next coming year.
AUN/SEED-Net has been one of the key components of AUN Co-Production Model comprising of the strength of a long established root of the core value system and the forward-looking way of management practice. The intertwining of both value system and the management practices has yielded the great result of success in higher education in various aspects. Within this Model, there situates the great piece of importance in excelling the regional cooperation through human development, the AUN/SEED-Net.
In serving one of the goals of ASEAN integration, AUN/SEED-Net has long been the sub-network functioning as the core of human development in various engineering fields. Reflecting its core mission, AUN/SEED-Net also help accelerate academic mobility in the region, both student and faculty staff mobility, through its various programmes such as scholarships for Master’s and PhD Sandwich Programmes, Collaborative Research, Short-Term Visits and Japanese Professors Dispatch, to name but a few.
AUN/SEED-Net is now moving along the road of Phase II with another great challenge ahead. After March 2013, this successful network will move a step further into Phase III. The groundwork for the challenges lying ahead has been prepared with all stakeholders’ views taken into account. It is encouraging to see one of the most successful cooperation taking its journey towards the ever growing path.
I would like to extend my gratitude to all staff and partner institutions for their tireless work with strong spirit and commitment that has together brought the AUN/SEED-Net to the success. I wish this cooperation and partnership will grow further and stay as the forerunner of inter-regional higher education cooperation. For the common benefits and mutual growth, I wish all the success for the future step of the AUN/SEED-Net.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nantana Gajaseni
The second year of AUN/SEED-Net’s Phase II was the year of continuity and progress for the Engineering Network among ASEAN and Japan. Our educating companions, including the leading 19 Member Institutions in ASEAN and renowned 11 Japanese Supporting Universities continued their endeavor to enhance capacities of the Member Institutions, expand collaborative research for industry and community, build the strong engineering network and establish the Graduate School Consortium of Engineering among ASEAN and Japan by utilizing all available core and supporting programs of AUN/SEED-Net Project.
The progress for the Engineering Network was well reflected by the scholarship programs that continued producing human resources in engineering field and accumulated about 620 master’s and doctor graduates in the year 2009. In the two-year master’s study at Hosting Institutions, a series of eight-month short-term study in Japan under the Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program or a full time study in Japan and Singapore supplied by Doctoral Degree Program in Japan and Doctoral Degree Program in Singapore respectively, AUN/SEED-Net scholars learnt to develop the critical thinking skills and expand their understanding of what they can contribute to their home country.
More than 350 alumni further expanded the knowledge acquired during their fellowship and made a positive contribution to their home country. The energy, passion, and commitment generated during their years with AUN/SEED-Net sought a new outlet. Some alumni made education their life’s work and sought to contribute to something larger than themselves.
The network was more established and stronger undoubtedly by the active participation of faculty staff members from the Member Institutions in ASEAN and Japan. Supported by the AUN/SEED-Net’s programs, namely Japanese Professor Dispatch Program and Short-term Visit in ASEAN Program, the faculty staff made visit to each other to discuss their possible research collaboration and other joint activities, as well as share and exchange the current knowledge and experience.
Throughout the year 2009, 15 Regional Conferences of nine engineering fields and five interdisciplinary areas (plus one carry-over) were organized in various cities of ASEAN. The conferences gathered more than 1,700 participants, attracted a wide range of engineering experts, and became greater in the scope by including participants from governmental sector, industry, community, and non-member universities. The generous support of the sponsors and contributors enabled us to give the large amount of financial supports to many faculty staff members of the Member Institutions, students, and alumni.
In November 2009, Steering Committee Members and delegates from the concerned organizations across ASEAN and Japan attended the 16th Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2009 Annual Meeting of AUN/SEED-Net Project held in Hanoi. The Meeting fruitfully discussed overview of the current activities, plan for the Mid-Term Evaluation, future direction, as well as sustainable strategy for the Project.
This continuity and progress of the network is made possible by a major underwriting grant from JICA and would hardly happen without the great contribution of ASEAN Foundation. In addition to the aforementioned, I wish to extend my gratitude to the 19 Member Institutions and 11 Japanese Supporting Universities and other alliances who continuously work in partnership with AUN/SEED-Net to forge ahead with plans to have the sustainable development in ASEAN region.
Prof. Dr. Kazuo Tsutsumi
From the beginning of my term with AUN/SEED-Net project in 2008, it has been honor and privilege to be a part of the devoting project team. Throughout the years, the project aims to contribute to the growth, prosperity and success of the engineering education and its human capital enhancement. I can say that we quite accomplish successfully by looking at the larger scale of the Regional Conference, increased number of graduate students as well as interests received towards other supporting programs under AUN/SEED-Net as well as substantial contributions and commitments from Member Institutions to keep our network more solid and sustain. All this has been accomplished together with the active contribution of Japanese Government and JICA, Japanese Supporting Universities and Member Institutions despite all difficulties and challenges. Partnership working is only truly effective when all interested parties are able to contribute positively.
This collaboration does not just happen, it is the result of better-focused and more informed dialogue and engagement among AUN/SEED-Net’s involved stakeholders. During the period, there have been both newly initiated and the existing programs that have been improved and developed from phrase I. Only then can transferred knowledge, skills and experience be fully utilized to transform ASEAN Engineering phrase through capacity development approach. Now, we have passed the second half of the project phrase II, which the goal of this phase is to establish a sustainable framework of human resource development network in engineering field, aiming at contributing to the ASEAN region’s development, under the ownership of the member countries. All mentioned objectives have been achieved with challenges through the continually increased number of return alumni of AUN/SEED-Net Graduate programs to become valuable human capital asset in academic sector and industries across society, further collaboration between and among Member Institutions and Japanese Supporting Universities and beyond, or even interest received from participants outside the network to join the Regional Conferences. These are marked as a successful story of the project that would continue to prosperous.
In reflecting upon these years, achievement of the goals outlined in the strategic vision is very exciting and we have moved forward on several goals already in an effort to address needs to enhance engineering education and human recourses in engineering fields, collaboration as well as to strengthen the network to be better recognized. Starting from JFY2009, there has been an intensive discussion to set up ASEAN Engineering Journal and other research collaboration to research on common issues for society and industries’ needs and developments. More involvement is also extended to countries and institutions that are more in need through Short-term Visit Program in ASEAN, Research Support for Alumni Member Programs and others.
This year marks as another achievement year of AUN/SEED-Net, and I would like to extend a warm thank you to all person involved in the project particularly to Japanese Government and JICA, the Japanese Supporting Universities, the Member Institutions, the Government of the ASEAN Member Countries, the ASEAN Foundation, the ASEAN Secretariat, and the ASEAN University Network for their marvelous support and friendship to AUN/SEED-Net Project through from the beginning of the project. Thus, I proudly said with confidence that exciting and wonderful things will continue to be accomplished with JICA Project for AUN/SEED-Net. I wish you continuing success in all of your endeavors.
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. AUN/SEED-Net 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 mainly supported by the Japanese Government through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), and partially financed by the ASEAN Foundation. Activities of AUN/SEED-Net have been implemented by the Member Institutions and managed by the AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat, 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.
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 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 Doctoral Degree 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.
Other supporting programs are also provided for academic excellence and networking, e.g. Short-Term Research/Study Program in Japan, Short-term Visit Program in 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 diagram and Table 1 below.
Concept Structure of AUN/SEED-Net (as of JFY2009)
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 fields.)
Goals and Expected Outputs of Phase II
For Phase II (March 2008 - 2013), the 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 through upgrade of faculty qualifications and research capacities by Graduate Degree Scholarship Programs, Visit Programs, and Research Program for Alumni Members; collaborative research for industry and community through academic cooperation between ASEAN and Japanese researchers supported by Collaborative Research Program and Japanese Professor Dispatch Program; engineering network strengthening through annual gathering and knowledge exchange facilitated by Regional Conference Program, strengthening of the alumni network, and establishment of journal; and establishment of Graduate School Consortium of Engineering among ASEAN and Japan through development of online bibliography for ASEAN Engineering Research Gateway Program, resource and facility sharing, as well as consortium programs.
Enhancement of the MIs' capacities has been performed through upgrade of faculty qualifications by Graduate Degree Scholarship Programs which comprise Master's Degree Program, Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program, Doctoral Degree Program in Japan, and Doctoral Degree Program in Singapore. Graduate programs at the MIs have been strengthened or established with assistance from HIs and JSUs through exchanges of faculty staff under Short-term Visit Program in ASEAN. Research capacities of AUN/SEED-Net graduates working as faculty staff have been continuously developed through supports from Short-term Research Program in Japan and Research Program for Alumni Members.
Master's Degree Program
The Master’s Degree Program in JFY2009 continued its popularity with 143 applications received from 104 candidates. When looking at their careers, it was found that the majority was fresh graduates or final-year students (74%), followed by academic staff (20%) and company employees (6%).
Forty-five scholarships were granted to high-caliber candidates, fulfilling the Program’s annual quota. In terms of application number, like in the previous year, three biggest sending institutions were ITC, NUOL, and UGM; while there was no application from CU, DLSU, KMITL, UM, UP, and USM. In relation to scholarships acquired, three most successful sending institutions were ITC, NUOL, and YTU with 15, 9, and 6 scholarships awarded respectively (see Chart 1).
Chart 1: Master's Applicants, Applications, and Scholarships in JFY2009 by SI
Classified by preferred field and host institution, GeoE hosted by UGM, CE by CU and EnvE by UP were the most popular, receiving 27, 26, and 23 applications respectively. In principle each field should have five scholars, but ICT by KMITL and ManuE by UM had only three qualified scholars in this year. Thus, unused slots from both fields were allocated to GeoE, CE, EnvE and EEE according to the application number, but later the additional slot to GeoE was shifted to EnvE since the GeoE candidate could not enroll in UGM within JFY2009 due to personal reason. The final scholarship allocation is shown in Chart 2.
Chart 2: Master's Applications and Scholarships in JFY2009 by Field
When compared with JFY2008, the number of applications for JFY2009 was slightly higher. As in Chart 3, the fields which apparently received more applications were CE and GeoE; while the field receiving significantly less applications was ManuE. Sending-wise, ITC and NUOL sent many more applicants for JFY2009 whereas BUU, HCMUT, HUT and ITB sent fewer applicants than in JFY2008.
Chart 3: Comparison of Master's Applications in JFY2008 and JFY2009 by HI/Field
The Master’s Degree Program for JFY2010 was even more popular. Calling for applications from November 2009 – January 2010, the Secretariat received 212 applications from 158 applicants endorsed by their SIs at the end. NUOL, ITC and UGM were the top three SIs with 47, 34, and 24 applicants respectively. The most popular HIs were CU-CE, UP, and KMITL receiving 34, 28, and 25 applications accordingly. Screening and awarding processes would be going on until early JFY2010.
The Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program for JFY2009 started the tactic of two-batch calls for applications, with the purpose to draw more applications especially from newly-graduated students in several MIs. The two-batch calls were announced first in October 2008 and later in April 2009. In total there were 28 applications (16 in the first batch and 12 in the second batch) from 26 applicants (16 and 10), nine of which were AUN/SEED-Net alumni. Most applicants were faculty staff (54%), followed by fresh graduates (35%) and company employees (11%).
Chart 4 shows that the three biggest SIs in this year were HUT, YTU, and HCMUT; while DLSU, ITB, KMITL, UP, UM, USM, and UY did not send any. Sixteen applicants were awarded scholarships, excluding three who declined or cancelled the offers due to family and/or technical reasons. The most successful SI for this year was HCMUT, with all five candidates being awarded. And when looking at awardees’ professions, seven were fresh graduates, six were faculty staff, and three were company employees.
Chart 4: Doctoral Sandwich Applicants, Applications, and Scholarships in JFY2009 by SI
Chart 5: Doctoral Sandwich Applications and Scholarships in JFY2009 by Field
As shown in Chart 5, the most popular fields for JFY2009 were CE and EEE hosted by CU and MatE by USM, each receiving five applications. In the first batch no field could fulfill the quota of three except MatE, but in the second batch all fields could get at least one slot, with CE and MatE that finally got as many as four and ME/AE that got two. Excluding the three declinations, 16 scholars were accepted at the HIs and would be co-supervised by Japanese professors from seven JSUs throughout the course of study (see Chart 6). Among them, six were AUN/SEED-Net graduates from USM (2), KMITL (1), ITB (1), UGM (1) and UP (1).
Chart 6: Doctoral Sandwich Scholarships in JFY2009 by JSU
In comparison with JFY2008, the number of Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program applications for JFY2009 rose by 22%. Some SIs had significantly increasing number of applicants such as HCMUT, HUT, and YTU while some SIs like NUOL, USM, and UY sent fewer applicants. Field-wise, the application number for JFY2009 was greater in every field, save for GeoE and EnvE which used to be among the top fields of JFY2008 (see Chart 7). However, we could expect for more applicants in these two fields in the next fiscal year.
Chart 7: Comparison of Doctoral Sandwich Applications in JFY2008 and JFY2009 by HI/Field
The Doctoral Degree Sandwich Program for JFY2010 was open for application during October 2009 – January 2010. At the end of the deadline, the Secretariat received 23 applications from 22 applicants who were faculty staff (50%), master’s graduates (45%), and private company staff (5%). The most applicants were sent from HCMUT (6); while CU-CE and UGM received the most applications (5 each). After screening done by the Secretariat and respective HIs, 14 applicants were shortlisted as successful while 13 slots remained unused (see Chart 8). To fulfill the quota of 27 scholarships, therefore, the Secretariat announced the second batch of the program in May 2010 with the deadline in the end of June 2010.
Chart 8: Doctoral Sandwich Applications and Scholarships for JFY2010 (1st Batch) by HI
Equipped with this program is the Short-term Study Program in Japan (SSJP), the program that supports scholars to gain research experiences in Japan under the supervision of Japanese co-advisors during their three-year scholarship period. Scholars of the AUN/SEED-Net’s Phase I (enrolling before JFY2008) can travel to Japan once for not more than 12 months; while scholars of Phase II (enrolling in or after JFY2008) can go to Japan once or twice for totally not more than eight months, with one of the two trips not exceeding one month. This revision was initiated in JFY2008 with the aim to facilitate better planning of thesis research, leading to smooth study progress and in-time graduation.
In JFY2009, six from nine eligible students of Phase I and 13 from 14 eligible students of Phase II conducted research trips to Japan; the rest planned to travel later. From the 13 students of Phase II, three students visited Japan for less than a month to discuss research topics with Japanese co-advisors whereas 10 students decided to make the first visit longer than one month with the main reason that the shorter visit could be saved for research finalization (see Table 2).
Table 2: Summary of Short-term Study Program in Japan in JFY2009 by Field
Another core program to enhance the capacity of MIs is the Doctoral Degree Program in Japan, which has continued to offer 18 quotas per fiscal year since the JFY2007. One objective is to build concrete foundation of the engineering education at each MI with more faculty staff and lecturers graduating in the doctoral level. From the beginning of this program to the end of JFY2009, 92 scholarships have been granted with 36 scholars under this program have completed or received degrees. More than 80% returned to their home countries to become faculty staff that would educate and produce more students in science and engineering field in ASEAN.
In JFY 2009, the number of applications increased from the previous fiscal year by almost 25% to the total of 45. The quotas were fulfilled as ITC received the greatest number of scholarships of five, of which two were for the field of GeoE. Also, since there were only a few applications to CE, one slot was shifted to ChE which had the largest number of applications. The detail of applications and scholarships in JFY2009 is depicted in Chart 9 and 10.
Chart 9: Doctoral Program in Japan Applications and Scholarships in JFY2009 by SI
Chart 10: Doctoral Program in Japan Successful Candidates in JFY2009 by SI and Field
The Doctoral Degree Program in Japan for JFY2010 called for applications between July and October 2010. Considering the application number, the year 2010 is the consecutive year without applications from NUOL. However, the number of applications went up by 10%, with ITC, UGM, and HCMUT tied as the SIs that submitted totally most applications (7 each). It must also be noted that there were no applications in the field of Environmental Engineering in this fiscal year and the two slots for this field would be distributed to the other fields with high number of applications. Chart 11 shows the applications in JFY2010 by SI and field of study.
Chart 11: Doctoral Program in Japan Applications in JFY2010 by SI and Field
The Doctoral Degree Program in Singapore was still highly competitive in JFY2009, as shown in Chart 12. From 27 applicants, only three were awarded to study in Singaporean MIs: one from ITB to NTU in the field of ME/AE and two from HCMUT to NUS in the field of ChE and EEE. Although YTU sent the most applicants (14), none was successful mainly because of strict criterion on English proficiency required by both HIs. Looking at the HI side, NTU and NUS were equally popular with 15 and 16 applications respectively.
Chart 12: Doctoral Singapore Applications, Applicants, and Scholarships in JFY2009 by SI
Tracing back to previous years’ statistics, the competition in this scholarship program tends to be tenser year by year. Only 22 from 102 applicants have been successful since 2006, equal to approximately 22%. Even with no regard to the year 2006 when only NUS participated in the program, applicant’s success rates were lower gradually from 36% in 2007 to 24% in 2008 and 11% in 2009. The overview of the program and the success rate are illustrated in Chart 13 and 14 respectively. Main reasons of the lower success rate as identified by both HIs include rigid acceptance criteria, requirement of high English test score, and competition with other regular applicants striving for financial aids.
Chart 13: Doctoral Singapore Applications and Scholarships in JFY2006 - 2009
Chart 14: Success Rate of Doctoral Singapore Applicants in JFY2007 - 2009
Consequently, there were merely 20 applications from 15 applicants for the Doctoral Degree Program in Singapore for JFY2010, which called for applications in October 2009 – February 2010. The biggest senders in this year were UM and HCMUT with four applicants each. Twelve applications were for NUS while eight were for NTU.
Over the past seven years, ties between ASEAN engineering academicians have become evidently stronger through AUN/SEED-Net activities. An aim to build a strong network is to make sure that resources and knowledge will be efficiently shared and lead to the hand-in-hand capacity enhancement. Short-term Visit Program in ASEAN (SVAS), which combined the two programs in JFY2008 namely Short-term Training/Research Program in ASEAN and Faculty Staff Dispatch Program, is one of the programs to help strengthen the ties as it provides travel support for faculty members to visit other MIs in ASEAN for various academic purposes.
In JFY 2009, SVAS called for applications twice, the first batch was for trips implemented between May 1, 2009 and October 31, 2009 and the second call was for trips from November 1, 2009 and completing within March 15, 2010. Nineteen quotas were utilized out of the 30 available slots while the first and the second batches received just about the same numbers of applications (9 and 10 respectively).
Through various academic purposes, 19 faculty members utilized the program to visit and learn about current research activities at relevant laboratories. Most of them were invited to give special lectures and present their researches to lecturers and students. Discussions on research collaboration, curriculum, and course content were reported to occur in nearly all visits. Some visiting staff including Dr. Nukman Bin Yusoff from UM who visited ITC, HCMUT, and HUT; and KMITL team to NUOL, also took the opportunities to promote their graduate programs with prospective students.
The program was also promoted to enable alumni members to continue their research by inviting advisors to their universities and/or by revisiting the HIs. Mr. Phouvang Phoumephone from NUOL, a UGM master’s graduate, made such use of the program and went back to UGM for one month to conduct his research.
As shown in Chart 15, most visiting faculty staff under this program were from NUOL (6) while CU seemed to be the most popular destination receiving six visits. Majority of faculty staff utilizing SVAS were in GeoE (7).
Chart 15: Short-term Visit Program in ASEAN in JFY2009
What’s more, MIs’ ownership spirit had been impressively witnessed through this program, considering cooperation and support. Most visiting faculty members were provided with accommodation during the visits by the host MIs, while ITC and UM generously supported their visiting staff with daily allowance and HCMUT with air-tickets.
“I hope the visit will establish stronger ties between members and a real establishment in research between us can be realized in the near future. I really recommend the other staff from MIs take this opportunity to visit among the members so that a prosperous research culture between MIs can be increased from time to time.”
From Dr. Nukman Bin Yusoff, Department of Engineering Design and Manufacture, UM, visiting ITC on December 15 - 25, 2009
“I was very interested in the research at the Department of Construction Material concerning recycle and low-cost material. That type of research can be applied by using local material in Laos as well. Therefore, future collaborative research between staff from the two countries should be created in the near future”
From Mr. Phonephet Mounnarath, Department of Civil Engineering, NUOL, visiting HCMUT on January 11 - 31, 2010
Short-term Research Program in Japan (SRJP) has been progressively developed from Short-term Training/Research Program in Japan in an attempt not only to ensure capacity enhancement among AUN/SEED-Net alumni but also to encourage a tangible output initiated from this short-term research activities. The program is intended to provide trip support for 18 alumni per year by dividing call for application into two batches (9 slots per batch). For JFY 2009, the program was able to draw 10 applications in total, but there were only seven applications considered to be eligible to receive support under SRJP. Successful applicants are listed in Appendix I.
A conclusion can be made from all applications that alumni from Vietnam were the majority of successful candidates while Kyushu University ranked at the top of Japanese universities alumni made a visit to. An overall image of the program in JFY 2009 can be projected as in the charts below.
Chart 16: Short-term Research Program in Japan in JFY2009 by Field of Participants
Chart 17: Short-term Research Program in Japan in JFY2009 by SI of Participants
Chart 18: Short-term Research Program in Japan in JFY2009 by Visited JSU
Although the program has been implemented recently with a small number of applications, the program resulted in a considerable extent of concrete research works. One outstanding output is a research paper conducted by Dr. Nguyen Kim Phuong in collaboration with Prof. Dr. ITOI Ryuichi at Kyushu University. The manuscript was published on “Memoirs of the Faculty of Engineering, Kyushu University.” Despite one-month period of SRJP which may not guarantee the most promising research works or activities, the program has started to light up an area for academic and personal collaboration which in turn can help establish continuous improvement and sustainability of the network.
Research Program for Alumni Members (RA) is aimed to encourage and attract AUN/SEED-Net’s graduates who return to their home countries and become teaching staff at the MIs to strengthen and further their research knowledge and interests in their home countries. The program captures interests from many applicants with a grant of maximum USD 2,000 offered to each applicant who presents a proposal of outstanding and interesting research topic.
In order to fully utilize the 20 slots, the two-batch calls for application were introduced in JFY2009. The first call was between December 15, 2008 and March 31, 2009, and the second call was between May 4, 2009 and July 31, 2009. Therefore, the number of applications was increased from the previous year to 21 applications out of the two batches and 14 grants were awarded in JFY2009 plus four grants for UY carried-over to JFY2010. The highest number of candidates receiving grants were from UGM (5), which also sent the most applications at six as depicted in Chart 19.
Chart 19: Number of RA Applications VS Successful Applicants in JFY2009 by Batch and MIs
Unsuccessful candidates included those who could not meet application requirements or have not yet graduated when applying for the program; while some proposing more than one proposal were approved for only one proposal. Please see Appendix 2 for more details of accepted candidates.
“As an awardee of AUN/SEED-Net’s PhD scholarship in Japan, I became a member of AUN/SEED-Net alumni after my study at Toyohashi University of Technology in 2004-2007. I have received two grants from the RA program in 2008 and 2009 for my researches, namely Synthesis and Characterization of Low Bandgap t-Zirconia Thin Film, and Synthesis of mesoporous Bioceramic Hydroxyapatite (HA), both in material engineering studies. The RA program is a good complementary research fund where it helps me contribute to the research works in my research team. By having this grant, the research about Nano Porous Bioceramics and Zirconia thin film has been successfully conducted and presented in international conferences. A better understanding of these two materials could not be achieved without the RA program.”
“Although the grant is not offered with a substantial amount, it is very helpful especially to junior academic members to continue and expand their research knowledge within their home institution. The program’s well screening procedure can ensure that the grant would be used wisely and maximize research output and interest. Therefore, I would like to thank AUN/SEED-Net for offering a great opportunity to a young researcher like me to carry out and expand areas of my research interest, and hope that other alumni would benefit from this program too.”
From Dr. Yeoh Fei Yee, AUN/SEED-Net alumnus at USM and grantee of the RA Program
Collaborative Research Program tries to encourage research activities that address common issues of the ASEAN region and have economic and social impacts on industry and community. Research areas have been expanded to include five interdisciplinary areas of disaster mitigation, global environment, new and renewable energy, biotechnology, and natural resources and materials. Japanese Professor Dispatch Program continues to foster research collaboration between MIs and JSUs; while more involvement of industrial and community sectors has been promoted.
Collaborative Research Program
Through Collaborative Research Program (CR), Japanese professors, faculty staffs from MIs, and AUN/SEED-Net scholars are able to continue the ongoing joint effort to promote social and economic development of the region. The topic of each CR project is proposed by the MIs, as to match with the common interest of the ASEAN community with the high hope that the end result would benefit the ASEAN people.
It is compulsory for each CR project to include an AUN/SEED-Net student, a faculty staff from HI and MI, and a Japanese professor. Several programs can be used to contribute to the CR implementation. For examples, the Japanese Professor Dispatch Program (JPDP) supports Japanese co-investigator of the CR project to visit HI and MI to supervise the research; and the Research Program for Alumni Members (RA) supports AUN/SEED-Net alumni to do the experiment under the same CR topic at their own country. Moreover, many projects were done jointly with local students at the HI and some projects were able to get the involvement from agencies outside the network. Some even attracted additional financial support from local industries or private companies, e.g. the project ‘Intelligent Fault Location in Transmission Network’ in EEE that received USD 45,000 from Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). It is encouraging that together with JPDP and RA, this CR program as the core can enhance educational and research capabilities of our network members as well as strengthening and expanding the network as a whole.
The number of CR projects and amount of financial support in this JFY 2009 is shown in Table 3. From the total of USD 614,550 disbursed to eight HIs for the development of research and study in nine fields of engineering, about 9% was contributed by Commission on Higher Education of Thailand (CHE) specifically for the CR projects in Thai HIs. Besides, the AUN/SEED-Net Project continued the additional support scheme for international journal subscriptions at HIs in Indonesia and the Philippines.
Table 3: Number of Collaborative Research Projects and Amount of Support in JFY2009
Main objectives of the Japanese Professor Dispatch Program (JPDP) enabling professors from JSUs to visit MIs in ASEAN are for the purposes of joint thesis research supervision of AUN/SEED-Net students, research collaboration between MIs and JSUs, research experiments, as well as special lectures given to students and faculty staff at the MIs. At the end of this fiscal year, 83 dispatches were completed. Distribution of the dispatches categorized by field, JSU, and country is depicted in the charts below.
Chart 20: Japanese Professor Dispatches in JFY2009 by Field
Chart 21: Japanese Professor Dispatches in JFY2009 by JSU
Chart 22: Japanese Professor Dispatches in JFY2009 by Country
In the aspect of purpose, among 83 dispatches in JFY2009, the dispatch for attending AUN/SEED-Net Regional Conferences (RC) only was accounted for 53% (44 dispatches), the dispatch for research collaboration only was accounted for 24% (20 dispatches), and the dispatch for multiple purposes including research collaboration, giving lecture, and attending RC in a single trip was accounted for 23% (19 dispatches).
One of the AUN/SEED-Net Project’s remarkable achievements in extending the network to the industrial sector was, in part, initiated by JPDP when the program facilitated the dispatch of Mr. Takeshi Taneichi, Executive Advisor of Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) to attend the second RC in the EEE field organized by CU in September 2009. From the conference, the Executive Advisor of the largest electric power company in Japan and the 4th largest electric power company in the world expressed the intention to invite Japanese companies in the conference-hosting country to join the future events as well as the MIs to meetings in Japan.
“On February 3, 2010, under the AUN/SEED-Net’s JPDP Program, Department of Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, CU invited Prof. Hirofumi Akagi from TIT, Japan to give a lecture in the special seminar on ‘The Japanese-Version Smart Grid and its Related Power Electronics Technology’. The seminar was technically co-sponsored by Center of Excellence in Electrical Power Technology (CEPT), Faculty of Engineering, CU and the IEEE IAS/PELS/IES Joint Chapter, Thailand Section. It was very successful with more than 150 attendees from various organizations: 48% from electrical utilities, 32% from universities, and 20% from private companies and research centers.”
“The seminar attracted a lot of academicians and professionals in the field because not only have smart grid and its related power electronics technology been the most recent topic for power engineering but also Prof. Hirofumi has been a well-recognized pioneer in the areas. This seminar provided an unusual opportunity to learn directly from the pioneer and to exchange the vision of smart grid for both Japanese and Thai directions.”
“Prof. Hirofumi is also a co-investigator of the AUN/SEED-Net CR Project titled "A Direct Drive of Multiple Multi-Pole Synchronous Generators for Wind Energy Conversion System” under which Mr. Phanxay Chanthavong, a master’s scholar from NUOL has been technically and financially supported. During the visit, Prof. Hirofumi also participated in Mr. Phanxay’s proposal exam as a member of examination committee. He also visited Power Electronic Research Laboratory and actively discussed with faculty staff in the department.”
From Dr. Surapong Suwankawin, Electrical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, CU
The AUN/SEED-Net Network, as the engineering network of ASEAN, has been strengthened for greater benefits and sustainability through Regional Conference Program, alumni network, and journal publication. The Network would also be expanded to involve industry, community, and non-MIs.
Regional Conference Program
Regional Conferences (RC) have played an important role in bringing together people in the engineering network. Academically, the RC is a venue for presenting new knowledge and technology in respective field emerging during the year. More than that, it is a gathering of people from education, public and private sectors who share the same interest, that provide opportunities for more collaboration after the event. Organized in rotation by MIs annually, the RC brings upon a strong connection among significant figures in engineering in ASEAN.
The RC program in JFY2009 started off in July 2009 with the 1st Regional Conference in Biotechnology: Biofuels 2009 which was originally postponed from JFY2008, increasing the number of RCs in this year to 15. All of the RCs in this fiscal year were mainly sponsored by the ASEAN Foundation (AF), while JICA supported trips of Japanese professors, AUN/SEED-Net’s alumni, and students in Japan and Singapore to join the event. The list of RCs in JFY2009 is given in Appendix 3.
Built from the Field-wise Seminar in Phase I of the AUN/SEED-Net Project, the RC program in this second year of operation saw an expansion of the event together with involvements from industries and private sectors. The total number of participants at 1,735 went up by 24% from the previous year, in particular the number of outside participants that rose drastically. The RC that brought the most outsiders was the RC in EnvE jointly organized with the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure and Built Environment in Developing Countries (SIBE) by ITB Indonesia. As depicted in Chart 23, there were over 250 outside participants in this RC, thus combining with participants from AUN/SEED-Net made this event the largest conference in terms of the total number of participants.
Chart 23: Number of Participants in Regional Conferences in JFY2009
Following the success of the program in consecutive years, AUN/SEED-Net submitted a proposal to the AF for the continuing support for the fiscal year 2010 with a bright prospect of approval.
"The 2nd RC in EnvE was held in Bandung, Indonesia, hosted by Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, ITB on November 2 - 3, 2009. A topic of Sustainable Infrastructure and Built Environment in Developing Countries was chosen since the sustainable infrastructure system is the basic need of a society for its survival, health and better quality of living. In order to expand the conference as a platform for knowledge exchange in international scale, this conference was jointly organized with the 1st International Conference on Sustainable Infrastructure and Built Environment in Developing Countries (SIBE). The event was successfully held and attended by more than 360 participants with 223 papers presented from ASEAN and non-ASEAN countries, i.e. Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Nigeria, Kenya, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, Norway, and USA.”
“This conference provided a chance for exchange of ideas, information, and experiences among academics, researchers, consultants, engineers, manufacturers and postgraduate scholars in CE and EnvE fields. It was also a very good event to discuss and evaluate the latest approaches, innovative technologies, policies and new directions in infrastructure development, pollution prevention and eco-friendly technologies adapted to developing countries, as well as a chance to promote cooperation and networking among practitioners and researchers in addressing infrastructure and built environment issues.”
“The success of this RC in attracting many participants and papers from all over the world indicates that the RC program is important to be maintained. Through this kind of conference, researchers, students and alumni from the MIs have an excellent opportunity for presenting their researches and being more internationally recognized.”
From Dr. Kania Dewi, Department of Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, ITB, Indonesia
The AUN/SEED-Net’s alumni network keeps growing every year. In JFY2009 we had 82 graduates more, 12 of which were master’s alumni completing AUN/SEED-Net’s doctoral programs. Totaling with the alumni number in the past years, our alumni network has embraced 330 members at this moment, 23 of which received both master’s and doctoral scholarships from AUN/SEED-Net. UGM, NUOL, and HCMUT were top three SIs with 65, 51, and 46 alumni respectively as shown in Chart 24.
Chart 24: Overview of AUN/SEED-Net Alumni Network by SI
In view of profession, Chart 25 indicates that most AUN/SEED-Net alumni have worked as faculty staff, equal to 138 or 42% of the total alumni members. Around 34% or 112 alumni have been pursuing doctoral degrees under AUN/SEED-Net support (71%) or other sponsorships (29%); by the time of study 45 of them still hold faculty staff positions. The rest has worked as company employees, government staff, researchers, etc. From the statistics, we could claim that our objective to upgrade the MIs’ faculty qualifications was met since most alumni have become faculty staff and researchers.
Chart 25: AUN/SEED-Net Alumni by Profession
AUN/SEED-Net has tried to further polish our alumni through implementation of several programs. The RC Program supports two alumni to present the research work at each of our RCs; the RA Program funds research projects conducted by alumni at home institutions; the SRJP and the SVAS Programs allow them to visit other MIs or JSUs for academic or research purposes. Numbers of alumni who received supports from the AUN/SEED-Net’s programs are collected in Table 4.
Table 4: Number of Alumni Receiving AUN/SEED-Net's Supports in JFY 2009
On the other hand, AUN/SEED-Net alumni have started to give back to the Project and the network. Some alumni have become investigators or co-investigators of their juniors, and many helped organize AUN/SEED-Net’s regional conferences and open houses in their cities.
To keep them together, the alumni started a new channel of communication apart from Yahoo! mailing groups. The Facebook group “AUN/SEED-Net JICA” set up by Ms. Julirose Gonzales, UM master’s graduate and doctoral sandwich student sent by UP, has been a forum for all AUN/SEED-Net alumni to exchange information and update their activities. To date the group has 234 registered members.
"In 2002 I was offered AUN/SEED-Net scholarship for doctorate study in Japan at TIT and join the Yasuda and Tanabe laboratory of the Materials and Structures Laboratory, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering. It was just fortunate for me to have supervisors like Prof. Eiichi Yasuda and (then) Assoc. Professor Yasuhiro Tanabe who were very understanding and provided me with all kinds of support. My stay in Japan not only enriched my knowledge as a research scientist and engineer but my whole being as well and practically returned me to my own country, the Philippines, better equipped and armored to make a difference and hopefully to contribute significantly.”
"Since 2008, I have been serving as Chairman of the Department of Mining, Metallurgical, and Materials Engineering at UP. Starting my own research track and research group in the university was immediately my agenda and these were facilitated by the combined research funds from UP given to returning faculty members with doctorate degree, contract projects with private institutions like Intel Philippines, Inc., and alumni and collaborative research grants from AUN/SEED-Net. With the combined grants mentioned earlier, I was able to pursue my advocacy in creating higher value applications for materials that can be sourced in the Philippines. My initial output in these studies created a research portfolio that I used to convince other funding agencies, especially the Department of Science and Technology, with which I currently have three on-going projects amounting 17 million pesos.”
From Dr. Leslie Joy Diaz, AUN/SEED-Net alumna at UP now serving as Chairman of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and advisor of an AUN/SEED-Net student
The first step to launch the ASEAN Engineering Research Gateway Program started in this fiscal year 2009. Many frameworks were presented at the RCs to get ideas and comments from RC participants in the AUN/SEED-Net Network.
The journal that is designed to be a collection of research papers from ASEAN engineering academicians is crucial to the network strengthening and the establishment of ASEAN - Japan Graduate School Consortium of Engineering. This beginning of the journal publication is the mark of the start of the sustainable network of AUN/SEED-Net. It is expected that electronic and paper versions of AUN/SEED-Net’s journal called “ASEAN Engineering Journal” would be released in the late JFY2010.
The concept of the Journal Supporting Program is as below.
The AUN/SEED-Net Network should become the sustainable framework of human resource development network in engineering field, to further strengthen academic collaboration and solidarity between ASEAN and Japan. Establishment of ASEAN - Japan Graduate School Consortium of Engineering is therefore one of the expected outputs in Phase II, whereby sharing of resources and facilities as well as joint programs among MIs and JSUs will be implemented.
Towards the establishment of ASEAN - Japan Graduate School Consortium of Engineering, which is one main objective of the AUN/SEED-Net Project’s Phase II, information archiving and management are key components for the AUN/SEED-Net Network which involves more than 2,000 academicians. In JFY2009, a plan to develop new database system as a basis of ASEAN Engineering Research Gateway Program has been realized. The new database system consists of personnel and research bibliography database. It would be used for the purpose of information sharing and supporting internal operations.
The AUN/SEED-Net’s main database consists of records of scholars, professors, and alumni, while the bibliography database consists of extracted data such as publication list and authors from our soon-to-be-published AUN/SEED-Net Engineering Journal and proceedings of regional conferences. The new database system is now under the stage of finalizing specifications. Web-based bibliography is expected to be launched in the next fiscal year.
The concept of the AUN/SEED-Net database is as follows.
The AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat conducts regular orientation and monitoring activities to assure teaching quality of the HIs and smooth study progress of our students. These activities are platforms for students and faculty staff to share and consult with us about their situations, issues, concerns, or suggestions. At the same time they provide the Secretariat with a chance to inform and discuss new information, regulations and issues. Orientations are held at the beginning of every semester via teleconference system or at the HIs, while monitoring meetings are held once a year at the HIs. Not only meetings, the Secretariat requires the students to submit study plans and progress reports at each semester end as well as publication reports twice a year in May and November.
From the quality assurance measures conducted in 2009, we could identify main problems in coursework, relationship with advisor and co-advisor, and inadequate or ill-performed facilities. For examples, some courses were delivered partly in local languages or course contents did not match with research work. A few students commented that advisors and Japanese co-advisors should communicate more to help them with study and research plans. Several complaints were made on internet facility, testing equipment, accommodation condition, and limited conference subsidy. Nevertheless, most students were satisfied with their studies and living. From HIs’ views, some advisors commented about students’ weak background and English communication skills which could be causes of academic failure. To resolve these problems, some HIs provided AUN/SEED-Net students with special tutorial class and English writing center while improving their courses and facilities.
A few students faced different kinds of problems or unexpected situations that led to postponement of return date, extension of scholarship, or even termination of scholarship. According to AUN/SEED-Net regulations revised in JFY2008, the postponement can be allowed for two months maximum in case of master’s students and three months maximum in case of doctoral students without financial support during the postponed period. The extension of scholarship, in contrast, applies to doctoral sandwich students only for a maximum duration of six months with partial support from HIs and AUN/SEED-Net during the extended period.
For JFY2009, there were 18 requests for postponement with average duration of less than a month. All students who requested postponement could graduate within the allowed period after minor revision of thesis or completion of administrative procedures. Fifteen students applied for extension to finish experiments and thesis writing, equal to 17% of total expected graduates of this fiscal year. Average extended period was around five months. Five students, unfortunately, were terminated because of low academic performance.
Chart 26 shows the number of graduates by year of graduation. For JFY2009 alone there were 82 graduates: 56 masters, 11 doctors from Japan, and 15 doctors from ASEAN countries in which one was the first master’s-upgraded-to-PhD student at NUS. In summary, the AUN/SEED-Net Project has granted 623 scholarships since JFY2003 and 353 scholars have graduated, including 23 scholars who received AUN/SEED-Net scholarships twice.
Chart 26: AUN/SEED-Net Graduates by Year of Graduation
As of March 2010 the Project had 228 ongoing students in all the Graduate Programs; among them four had been upgraded to doctoral level in Singapore. Eighteen students were on suspension as they were yet to complete certain graduation requirements after their scholarships ended, e.g. waiting for journal publication or English test score. Twenty scholars were terminated during the course mostly due to academic problems. Chart 27 exemplifies the overview of all students by study status.
Chart 27: AUN/SEED-Net Students in JFY2001-2009 by Status
For those completing study in JFY2009, as many as 41 graduates or 50% worked in universities or research institutes, of which 13 graduates were newly recruited. Twenty graduates or 24% received PhD scholarships from AUN/SEED-Net, of which one was faculty staff. Two were employed by their government agencies while the rest has been continuing post-doctorate study, waiting for academic staff positions, or working in private companies (see Table 5). Looking at graduation level, 85% of doctoral graduates and 36% of master’s graduates work as teaching or research staff, and about 36% of those pursuing doctoral degrees has a high tendency to be academic staff after graduation.
Table 5: Profession of AUN/SEED-Net Graduates in JFY2009
Table 6 demonstrates the publication number reported by our students and alumni. Based on their reports, thesis-related publications reached 681 at the end of JFY2009, an increase by 25% from JFY2008. Most papers were published in international proceedings (434), followed by national proceedings (124), international journals (96) and national journals (27).
Table 6: Thesis-related Publications by AUN/SEED-Net Students and Alumni as of JFY2009
In JFY2009 the AUN/SEED-Net Project continued promoting the network through printed materials and presentations at AUN/SEED-Net’s regional conferences and open houses held in various ASEAN countries. The stakeholders such as JICA and ASEAN Foundation also helped promote AUN/SEED-Net to policymakers, academics, and the public.
In this year the DVD presentation of the AUN/SEED-Net network was produced. The presentation, around six minutes long, was narrated in English with option to show or hide subtitle. Apart from introduction to the Project, interviews of executives, MI staff and students about their impressions were included. The Secretariat distributed many DVD copies to the MIs, concerned ministries and agencies with the hope that this DVD presentation would help publicize and clarify the Project’s objectives and activities, which would lead to more recognition and further cooperation.
And to facilitate promotion of the network in different countries for financial and non-financial contribution, the AUN/SEED-Net Project came up with an idea to produce materials in local languages with the belief that people can better understand messages conveyed in their own languages and contexts. Therefore, AUN/SEED-Net brochures in Japanese were produced particularly for distribution in Japan, followed by DVD presentation in Japanese which would be launched in JFY2010. Meanwhile, the Public Relations Program was invented to encourage the MIs’ involvement in publicizing the network’s benefits to their governments and people by production of DVD presentation. Announced in January 2010, the Program would sponsor the production of DVD presentation in local language by any interested MI during the year 2010.
The number of visitors to AUN/SEED-Net web site in JFY2009 was still high at 20,111, with almost 5,000 returning to the web site more than once. The web site was viewed for 43,394 times, frequently from Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam. News of AUN/SEED-Net was publicized around 30 times on web sites as well as local newspapers in Lao PDR, the Philippines, and Vietnam, mostly relating to scholarship programs and regional conferences.
AUN/SEED-Net was on the show again in October 2009 when MCOT News, a Thai news agency, promoted the Project as a showcase for ASEAN cooperation on education in its special report on ASEAN Youth & Education, on-aired in the program “ASEAN View”. The report looked at education in various ASEAN member countries and cited that student mobility would be main activity for all members to step towards the ASEAN community. In this regard, AUN/SEED-Net was praised for encouraging ASEAN education development and student exchange.
As an activity mainly facilitated and organized by AUN/SEED-Net alumni at their institutions, Open House is the stage for AUN/SEED-Net to promote the scholarship programs as well as HIs to promote the study programs of their own. In JFY2009, six MIs held the AUN/SEED-Net’s open houses with an estimated total number of participants over 500 as presented in Table 7. Most of them were bachelor’s students from Faculty of Engineering who were about to graduate and interested in continuing their study in ASEAN. This degree of attention to our program and our network was inspiring.
Table 7: AUN/SEED-Net Open Houses in JFY2009
The open house activity was obviously successful as it clearly led to much greater number of applications to the AUN/SEED-Net Graduate Programs in JFY2010. The most impressive evidence is UM whose staff attended five of six open houses. Due to this active involvement to this program and enthusiasm to promote their course, the number of applications to the Master’s Degree Program at UM in JFY2010 rose significantly by 700%. Looking from the perspective of SIs, the number of applications from NUOL was boosted by 42%, while ITC maintained its high quantity, as the overall number was up notably.
With remarkable output, the AUN/SEED-Net open house has become the main function that every SI is encouraged to mark on its annual calendar. To some degree, this half-day event represents the contribution back to the Project from the alumni who return to be faculty staff and are now educating new generations of engineers in their home countries. Through this activity, the awareness of the AUN/SEED-Net Project has increased, while the alumni network has grown stronger as well.
In JFY2009 the MIs and the member countries continued their committed contributions to the Project. Thirty-eight master’s and five doctoral sandwich scholars of JFY2009 intake received various kinds of supports from the MIs. The supports ranged from tuition fee waiving, research fund, on-campus accommodation, to travel cost for scholars. Three doctoral students under the Doctoral Degree Program in Singapore for JFY2009 received NUS and NTU research scholarships covering tuition fee and monthly stipend. Also, there were 13 final-year doctoral students received the support of tuition waiving during scholarship extension period from their HIs.
The MIs extended contributions beyond the Graduate Programs to other programs and activities. In JFY2009, several MIs supported travel cost and allowance for their staff joining AUN/SEED-Net’s regional conferences and open houses overseas. Some MIs also supported local transportation and accommodation for faculty staff of other MIs visiting under the Short-term Visit Program in ASEAN. The contribution classified by MIs is presented in Appendix 4.
Estimated cost-sharing by the MIs and the member countries in JFY2009 totaled at least around USD 0.68 million. Together with the approximate budget of USD 4.03 million injected by JICA and USD 0.38 million injected by the ASEAN Foundation (AF)*, the Project’s budget in JFY2009 amounted to USD 5.10 million. JICA’s portion was equal to 79%, MIs and member countries’ portion 13%, and AF’s portion for arrangement of regional conferences was 8% of the annual budget. The budget structure of JFY2009 is shown in Chart 28.
Chart 28: The AUN/SEED-Net Project's Budget in JFY2009 (Million USD)
The cost-shared amount was lower than that of last year mainly due to smaller number of scholarships to be co-shared, bringing about reduced amount of support from both HIs and SIs. Especially in this year the Singaporean MIs, whose support amount was huge, accepted only three scholars compared to seven scholars in JFY2008.
Although the amount of cost-shared support was lower, the scope of support was actually wider to cover some items which were not committed before, e.g. travel cost and allowance for staff participated in AUN/SEED-Net’s regional conferences and open houses, field trip expenses for staff joining the SVAS Program, etc. Also, in this year the research fund from the Commission on Higher Education of Thailand was extended to support partial arrangement costs of three regional conferences in Thailand. The Government of Indonesia continued granting scholarships to AUN/SEED-Net applicants who did not receive AUN/SEED-Net scholarships. Considering the support scope, it can be claimed that the MIs and the member countries have attended more to the issue of sustainability by sharing any necessary expenses when budget and occasion allow, even though the amount might be limited at the moment.
Sustainable Strategy for AUN/SEED-Net
The AUN/SEED-Net network has been established for eight years since 2001 and has been contributing to the sustainable development of the ASEAN region, but the network itself has not yet founded sustainably on the ground of ASEAN. For sustainability, the network was advised to focus on impactful activities at the ASEAN scale in order to be recognized at a regional level and to draw more support from the MIs, member countries, and external organizations. The network’s activities should also go along with AUN and ASEAN bodies so as to be in the eyes of the ASEAN leaders.
Considering limited resources of the Project, the MIs should also seek more possibilities to enhance collaboration and sustain the network. For example, some MIs have interdisciplinary research collaborations with Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of Japan (MEXT), Japan Society for Promotion of Science (JSPS), and JICA in which other MIs can participate.
To sustain this meaningful network, the Secretariat formulated the sustainable strategy for AUN/SEED-Net based on the abovementioned advice and expectations from the network stakeholders. The sustainable strategy for AUN/SEED-Net or the 20-year goals of AUN/SEED-Net was proposed at the 16th AUN/SEED-Net Steering Committee Meeting in November 2009 for consideration by the Steering Committee, who will revert their comments in next year’s meeting. The 20-year goals of AUN/SEED-Net are illustrated in the diagram below.
The 20-Year Goals of AUN/SEED-Net
Compared to a tree, the Project has sowed seed of development in Phase I (2003-2008) by setting up the network between MIs and JSUs. The seed has been budding and blooming in this Phase II (2008-2013) when we try to found a sustainable framework of human resource development network that contributes to development of ASEAN. After Phase II, if the Project is extended, we aim to be a big tree by establishing the ASEAN - Japan Graduate School Consortium of Engineering (GSCE) for developing research capabilities and promoting research activities of the members through ASEAN and Japan partnership. And to be sustained, the network would be transformed into the ASEAN - Japan University of Science & Technology (AJUST), an international education and research institution accredited by each member country to offer academic programs and activities that solve socio-economic development issues in the ASEAN region. It has been expected that to become AJUST, the network might need at least 10 years after Phase II to prepare necessary groundwork.
The 16th AUN/SEED-Net Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2009 Annual Meeting
November 6, 2009: The 16th Steering Committee Meeting and Year 2009 Annual Meeting of the AUN/SEED-Net Project was held in Hanoi, Vietnam. It was attended by 60 participants from MIs, JSUC, AUN Secretariat, JICA Headquarters and JICA Vietnam Office, and AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat. Apart from regular agenda, the meeting discussed in detail the agenda of affiliated institutions, mid-term evaluation, and sustainable strategy for AUN/SEED-Net. The meeting made significant suggestions on activation of the MOU signed by the MIs at the 15th Steering Committee Meeting, promotion of programs through various means, allocation of scholarships to interdisciplinary research areas, implementation of PhD upgrade and direct PhD schemes, and journal establishment.
The 3rd AUN/SEED-Net Coordinator Meeting
May 22, 2009: The AUN/SEED-Net Coordinator Meeting for the year 2009 was arranged at the Montien Hotel, Bangkok. There were 45 participants from MIs, JICA Headquarters and JICA Thailand Office, AUN Secretariat, and AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat attending the meeting. In summary, the meeting agreed with the ideas to have affiliated institutions joining the Graduate Programs and to adopt direct PhD and PhD upgrade schemes under the PhD Sandwich Program from next year. For supporting programs improvement, MIs proposed to have an online forum where they can share information and good practices as well as connection to industries, and to work on accreditation system taking into consideration the Erasmus Mundus model. The Secretariat might need to survey for alumni’s feedbacks on activities provided by the Project to find rooms for improvement/adjustment. Concerning joint activities from MOU, the meeting discussed extensively on journal and academic society establishment since there were several points of view on proper mechanisms.
The JSUC Meeting
August 3, 2009: Chief Advisor Prof. Dr. Kazuo Tsutsumi and Program Coordinator Mr. Yuichi Ohashi joined the JSUC Meeting in Tokyo, Japan. The meeting approved the appointment of Prof. Chitoshi Miki from TIT as the Chairman of JSUC. It also reviewed and made some suggestions about AUN/SEED-Net’s activity report of JFY2009/10, sustainability strategy, collaboration with Ministry of Education Culture Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT), other funding agencies such as Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS), private foundations, etc., and recommendation about strengthening of AUN/SEED-Net’s public relations in Japan.
April 1, 2009: The AUN/SEED-Net Secretariat team visited the AUN Secretariat to meet the then AUN Executive Director Assoc. Prof. Dr. Piniti Ratananukul, who has been promoted to be the Deputy Secretary General of the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) of Thailand. Main discussion points concerned the CHE Faculty Development Scholarship Program in Collaboration with AUN/SEED-Net and the support from the Thai government that might be available for AUN/SEED-Net.
April 8, 2009: Mr. Kazuhisa Matsuoka, President of Japan International Cooperation Center (JICE), visited the Secretariat to promote JICE, learn needs of Asian countries in sending their personnel to Japan, and seek for possibility for collaboration between JICE and AUN/SEED-Net.
May 27, 2009: The Secretariat received a visit of UGM faculty staff led by Dean of Engineering Assoc. Prof. Dr. Tumiran. The team came to Bangkok to discuss with KMITL and CU on exchange activities to be initiated after MOU signing between UGM – KMITL and UGM – CU last year.
June 3, 2009: The Office of Environmental Education, Ministry of Environment of Japan visited the Secretariat to learn more about the AUN/SEED-Net Project and to find possibilities for collaboration.
June 10, 2009: The Secretariat team led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon, Executive Director, paid a courtesy visit to Dr. Filemon Jr. Uriarte, Executive Director of the ASEAN Foundation (AF), and Ms. Septania Kadir, Program Coordinator, to discuss the support for Regional Conference Program.
July 28, 2009: Prof. Dr. Kazuo Tsutsumi, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon, and Mr. Yuichi Ohashi made a courtesy visit to Embassy of Japan in Bangkok. Economic Minister Mr. Masato Otaka was keenly interested in the AUN/SEED-Net Project as an important project on human resource development for the ASEAN region and was willing to support the Project for sustainability.
August 20, 2009: A team from Tokai University visited the Secretariat to learn more about the Project in order to find possibilities for future cooperation.
September 8, 2009: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon and Senior Program Officer Ms. Rungchalai Punninda paid a courtesy visit to Dr. Chantavit Sujatanond, Deputy Secretary General, the Commission on Higher Education of Thailand (CHE), who involved with AUN/SEED-Net Project from the beginning, to express gratitute for her support and to ask for her advice on sustainability issues.
November 3, 2009: The Secretariat welcomed Mr. Mitsuya Araki, President of the International Development Journal, who was interested in the model of human resources development for interactive development of Southeast Asia/Japan and the progress of AUN/SEED-Net’s activities.
March 4, 2010: The Secretariat welcomed Prof. Dr. Hideki Ogawa from Okayama University who would like to know progress and future plan of the AUN/SEED-Net Project.
March 11, 2010: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon, Asst. Prof. Dr. Vachara Peansupap and Mr. Yuichi Ohashi paid courtesy visits to Ministry of Education of Lao PDR and the Embassy of Japan in Lao PDR to report the progress of the AUN/SEED-Net Project. Both organizations supported our activities.
March 16 - 18, 2010: The team led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Prakit Tangtisanon visited JICA Myanmar, Japanese Embassy in Myanmar, Ministry of Education (MOE) of Myanmar, UY and YTU. The purposes of the visit were to discuss with UY staff on the RA Program, to enhance cooperation between both MIs and AUN/SEED-Net, and to discuss issues of the Project with related organizations.
March 25, 2010: The Secretariat received the visit of Mr. Takashi Kaneko, Former Vice President of JICA, Ms. Nobuko Kayashima, Director General of Human Development, Mr. Nobuyuki Konishi, Director of Higher Education Division, Mr. Akihisa Tanaka, Senior Representative, and Ms. Mariko Kinoshita, Representative of JICA Thailand Office.
November 23 - 25, 2009: The Secretariat was invited to join and present the AUN/SEED-Net activities focusing on environment and energy areas at the International Symposium on Sustainable Energy and Environment Protection (ISSEEP) 2009 organized in Yogyakarta by the Indonesian Catalyst Society (MKI) and the Sustainable Energy and Environment (SEE) Forum in collaboration with Department of Chemical Engineering and Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, UGM. The forum expected to find solutions to mitigate environmental problems through new and renewable energy within the ASEAN region by bringing together Asian and European experts in various fields.
December 18, 2009: Prof. Dr. Kazuo Tsutsumi represented the Secretariat as a witness to the signing ceremony of the MOU between AUN and Kyoto University for the Sustainable Environment and Energy (SEE) Forum at the CHE Office, Bangkok. This MOU would promote academic collaboration between both parties in the field of sustainable environment and energy studies.