24 May 2023, Bangkok, Thailand – The Asian Institute of Technology (AIT) hosted the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) Proposal Development Training Workshop (PDTW) on the theme of “Water Security: Improving Knowledge Systems, Governance, and Regional Cooperation” from May 22nd to May 24th, 2023. This dynamic event aimed to equip early career scientists and practitioners in the Southeast Asia (SEA) region with the skills and knowledge necessary to develop competitive project proposals.
The PDTW provided a unique opportunity for 19 participants from Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam to collaborate on projects related to water security, a pressing global issue within the context of global change and sustainability. Organised by AIT and supported by the SEA APN national Focal Points and Scientific Planning Group (SPG) members, as well as the APN Secretariat staff, the event was part of a series that included the 13th Southeast Asia Sub-regional Committee (SEA-SRC) meeting, the Early Career Professional Networking Session, and the Water Security Assessment Tool (WATSAT) workshop.
The PDTW was designed to foster collaboration and the development of competitive research proposals. Under the guidance of 17 resource persons who served as trainers, the event included brainstorming exercises, breakout sessions, and collaborative proposal development. The trainers, including APN National Focal Points and SPG members, guided project development and enhanced participants’ skills in addressing the diverse water security challenges.
The main theme of the PDTW, “Water Security: Improving Knowledge Systems, Governance, and Regional Cooperation,” was complemented by sub-themes that focused on topics such as the food-water-energy nexus, the impact of extreme events, and nature-based solutions for water and food security in Southeast Asia. The event aimed to understand these challenges comprehensively, promote interdisciplinary thinking, and encourage policy relevance and effective communication.
The PDTW also featured a panel discussion with AIT faculty project leaders, who shared insights on collaborative research, interdisciplinarity, policy relevance, engaging early career professionals, networking, communication, dissemination, and sustaining work beyond project activities. Their experiences emphasised the importance of persistence and teamwork in writing successful proposals.
The event concluded with a rigorous proposal review process and group presentations, enabling participants to receive constructive feedback and mentor guidance. The PDTW provided valuable insights, mentorship, and networking opportunities, empowering participants to submit competitive research proposals to the Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research.
In closing, the SEA PDTW at the Asian Institute of Technology Conference Center in Thailand was a significant step toward addressing water security challenges and enhancing regional cooperation in Southeast Asia. It offered a supportive environment for early career professionals to develop proposals, establish professional connections, and acquire the necessary tools and knowledge for addressing regional sustainability challenges effectively. The event encouraged meaningful interactions, knowledge sharing, and networking among participants, mentors, and experts in the field, setting the stage for sustainable development initiatives in the region.