SINGAPORE, 10 October 2019 – Today Dr. Zhou Yan of Singapore from the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore won the 2019 ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women sponsored by UL for her extensive research and work on energy efficient water treatment and reclamation (or recycling) for industrial and daily use, which has benefited several communities around Asia.

Additionally, Dr. Mary Donnabelle Balela from the Philippines received an honorable mention for her research on homegrown technology that promotes the circular economy—utilising locally available raw materials for electronics, environmental, and energy applications, and finding ways to use agricultural waste in developing water treatment absorbents.

The Prize recipients were announced at a ceremony earlier today in conjunction with the 77th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation (COSTI-77) and ASEAN 18th Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology and Innovation (AMMSTI-18) in Singapore.

The ASEAN-U.S. Science Prize for Women sponsored by UL is an annual contest organized by ASEAN, through COSTI, the U.S. Government, through USAID and UL, a global safety certification company with 46 world-wide offices and headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, USA.

“Congratulations to Dr. Zhou Yan and Dr. Mary Donnabelle Balela for their well-deserved achievements,” said Dr. Raj. Thampuran, Singapore COSTI Chairman and Senior Advisor of A*STAR. “The ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women underscores the importance of talent in advancing science and technology, that will tackle global sustainability challenges, and contribute to the growth of the region. Dr. Zhou and Dr. Balela are role models for all, and will inspire next-generation female talent into careers in STEM,” added Dr. Raj.

The two regional finalists were selected from a pool of national finalists from seven ASEAN Member States, who represent the best and the brightest young women scientists focusing on the circular economy, this year’s theme of the Prize. COSTI chose the ‘CircularEconomy’ as this year’s theme to highlight the need for innovative management of the ASEAN’s natural resources to meet the growing demands of the region’s rapid population growth. As the winner, Dr. Zhou Yan received an award of USD 20,000, whereas honorable mention, Dr. Mary Donnabelle Balela, received a USD 5,000 award.

Catherine Sheehy, head of UL Advisory Solutions, Environment and Sustainability congratulated Dr. Zhou Yan “for winning this year’s Science Prize. It is our hope that these regional finalists’ will inspire the next generation of young women in ASEAN in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics to find more opportunities to showcase their work and develop new innovations that will further benefit the region.”

Melissa A. Brown, Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. of the U.S. Mission to ASEAN, said “the United States is proud to support efforts that help realize the potential of women scientists, and we offer our congratulations to Dr. Zhou Yan on winning this year’s prize. Empowering women scientists is necessary to find the most innovative, sustainable solutions to drive economic growth and protect the region’s natural resources.”

The ASEAN-US Science Prize for Women sponsored by UL awards promising, ASEAN-based, early- to mid-career female scientists with recognition from ASEAN and the US Government for their academic and professional achievements. The Prize competition will continue in 2020 with the theme preventive healthcare. More detailed information on this year’s winner, honorable mention and other national finalists as well as information on the 2020 competition can be found at https://scienceprize4women.asean.org. ​