Introducing the AUN Thematic Network Series #4: AUN/SEED-Net

By Phasawit Jutatungcharoen, Programme Officer
1 March 2021

The ASEAN University Network/Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network, otherwise known as AUN/SEED-Net, is an AUN thematic network and a collaborative project with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It is focused on the development of innovative and highly skilled human resources in the field of Engineering. AUN/SEED-Net currently consists of 26 ASEAN Member Institutions and 14 Japanese Supporting Universities.

The concept of the sub-network originated due to the need for sustainable development after the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. AUN/SEED-Net was established under the auspices of the ASEAN University Network (AUN) in 2001 following the leaders’ initiatives related to the ASEAN-Japan Summit. The AUN/SEED-Net Project began in 2003 with the support of the Japanese Government, primarily through JICA. Since then, the project has proceeded through a series of five-year phases to build a strategic direction of implementation. The project is currently in Phase IV, slated to be completed in March 2023.

For the current Phase IV framework, its stated purpose and expectations by the end of the project period is to enhance the sustainability and expand the network of AUN/SEED-Net. The current project objectives are as follows:

  • To nurture international competitive personnel with multicultural awareness through academic cooperation among leading higher education institutions for engineering in ASEAN and Japan.
  • To advance the education and research capacities of leading higher education institutions for engineering in the region through collaboration and solidarity between the institutions and industrial sectors in ASEAN and Japan.

AUN-SEED/Net has done many programmes since their establishment. They have prominently been involved providing numerous grants. These included scholarships grants for Master and PhD degree programs at various institutions, research grants for collaborative research programs for alumni, industry, and common regional issues (CRA, CRI, CRC), as well as mobility grants for short-term visit programs in ASEAN and in Japan (SVAS, SRJP). They also served as a platform for various university-industry courses, seminars, and training programs.

As part of Phase IV, AUN-SEED/Net is involved in new programs and initiatives. This includes the Collaborative Education Program (CEP), which helps establish partnerships among academic institutions and the private sector in ASEAN and Japan. These are in the form of a consortium, and since 2018, there are ten institutions within the consortium.

Phase IV has also provided over 1,400 scholarships to ASEAN students as well as support for alumni in the form of the Alumni Support Program (ASP) launched in 2018 that serves to facilitate socialization and collaboration through events or research. In April 2021, the Alumni Support Program for Research (ASP-R) and the Alumni Support Program for Event (ASP-E) will be kicked-off. In addition, the Video Contest for Alumni Network (V-CAN) that allows for alumni to present videos discussing updates and create potential networking is another new platform initiated in 2020.

In terms of research, AUN/SEED-Net Regional Conferences have been organized and initiated in various ASEAN and Japanese universities. They are hosted by Member Institutions and tend to focus on different fields of engineering. Most recently, they have created a new research funding opportunity for the recent pandemic called the Special Program for Research against COVID-19 (SPRAC), expected to last until December 2021 and involving 35 different research proposals from various countries and fields.

AUN/SEED-Net also publishes the ASEAN Engineering Journal (AEJ), an official open access quarterly journal publication that covers 10 different fields of engineering and verified via a double-blind peer review system. AEJ is indexed in Scopus and welcomes papers from any researchers, lecturers, and students with no publication fee.

In addition to those main programs, AUN/SEED-Net also aims to contribute to 2 crucial initiatives of ASEAN and Japan: the “ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific” and “Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)”. AUN/SEED-Net has deliberated how to ensure and expand achievements between Phase I and IV by creating and strengthening linkage with potential partners in the new target regions of South Asia and Africa.

AUN/SEED-Net continues to be one of the long-standing thematic networks on the AUN and a fruitful product of cross-border collaboration. Their prolific activities provide a seal of quality to the whole network itself, and they are looking to expand its network even further for new collaborative partners to be involved in their many projects. Even after two decades, the progress of the network is yet to have slowed down.

Contact Information
-Email: contact@aun-seed.net
-Website: http://www.seed-net.org
-Tel: (66-2) 218-6419
-Fax: (66-2) 218-6418
-Office Address: Room 109-110, Building 2, Faculty of Engineering, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok Thailand 10330

In our next issue, we will be looking at AUNILO, one of the networks most ambitious projects for facilitating regional academic resource and information sharing.