Research: What is ASEAN's Moonshot?

ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference 2018

Date : 3 & 4 December 2018

Venue : Sunway University, Malaysia

Cocktail Reception & Formal Hall

Date : 3 December 2018

Venue : Gallery, Level 1, Sunway University, Malaysia


The aim of this inaugural ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference is to create a platform for researchers from the ASEAN region and the ASEAN research diaspora to drive research excellence in the region. The specific objectives of the ASEAN Emerging Research Conference include to:

  • Enhance interdisciplinary knowledge sharing, learning and collaboration between scientists from the ASEAN region and its research diaspora;

  • Identify emerging research niches/areas that the ASEAN research community should champion to address local needs and global challenges;

  • Develop strategies to enhance the capacity and access to resources to harness the potential of the ASEAN research community;

  • Promote sustainable research leadership amongst emerging researchers in the ASEAN region.

Why should you participate?

The ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference provides an opportunity for:

Researchers to:

  • Share their research work in a robust academic environment that appreciates context, resource constraints and local significance
  • Gain insights into the latest developments and directions in research
  • Enhance their national and international networks with greater relevance to ASEAN
  • Participate in the shaping of the future of ASEAN research

Government, Policy, Industry and Civil Society Stakeholders to:

  • Capture a snapshot of research activity and progress by the ASEAN research community and the ASEAN diaspora;
  • Develop strategic partnership with established and emerging researchers in the ASEAN region and from the diaspora for immediate and future collaborations;
  • Promote greater quadruple helix collaboration (civil society-academic-industry-business) in creating new business and social development opportunities in the ASEAN region.

ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference participants will also have the opportunity to publish full papers in the Academy of Sciences Malaysia Science Journal (Scopus-indexed).

Who should participate?

The ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference is an inclusive conference which recognises that national, regional and global challenges can best be addressed through interdisciplinary collaboration. We welcome:

  • All researchers from the ASEAN region; especially early- and mid-career researchers,
  • ASEAN researchers from around the world,
  • Researchers who have expertise and interest in the ASEAN region,
  • Postgraduate (MSc, PhD, etc.) students,
  • Undergraduate students who are interested in research/academia,
  • Industry partners,
  • Government official and policy stakeholders,
  • Media practitioners, and
  • Non-governmental organisations.


Registration for AERC 2018 is now open!

Please register and purchase your ticket using the link below:


Conference tickets gives delegates access to any session throughout the conference, all available conference materials and lunch on both days. A conference Gala Dinner will also be held in the format of a Cambridge-style formal hall. The Gala Dinner is not included in the standard conference ticket and can either be purchased seperately or as a bundle, at a discount, with the conference ticket:

  • ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference (Registration Only RM 200.00)

  • ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference (Registration + Gala Dinner RM 350.00)

  • ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference (Gala Dinner Only RM 200.00)

Accommodation is not included in the conference fees. However, information on university accommodation arrangements will be released soon.

Abstract Submission

If you wish to present your work at the conference, please fill in this abstract submission template and email the completed form (Microsoft Word format, not PDF) to abstract@asean-erc.com using the email address you used to register for this conference. A brief set of guidance notes has also been included in the template.

The abstract should be intended to allow delegates from different backgrounds to gain an appreciation of your work. Abstracts have to be submitted by the 15th of November 2018. We encourage early submissions as we will be reviewing the abstracts and making decisions as soon as we receive them.


The final conference programme and the abstract for the ASEAN Emerging Research Conference can be found here:

Conference Programme 2018

Conference Booklet & Abstracts 2018


Day 1 – Monday, 3 December 2018

Passport Session Time Programme Venue
0830 Welcome Remarks & Programme Introduction
- Prof Abhi Veerakumarasivam, Sunway University
- Lee Wen Yao, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
0900 Keynote Address
Prof Jane Clarke, President, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
0930 Forum: Research in the ASEAN Region: Are We in Control of Our Trajectory?
Moderator: Prof. Anthony Teo, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
- Prof Datin Paduka Dr Khatijah Yusoff, Vice President, The World Academy of Sciences
- Dr Ken Yeang, Fellow (Hon.) Wolfson College, University of Cambridge
- Johan Mahmood Merican, Director of NBO, Ministry of Finance Malaysia
- Prof Eva Alisic, Associate Professor, University of Melbourne & Past-Chair, Global Young Academy
- Rivana Mezaya, Institut Teknologi Bandung, Indonesia
1100 Oral Presentations: Session 1
LT 5,6,7
1200 Lunch & Oral Highlights Presentations
1330 Oral Presentations: Session 2
LT 5,6,7
1500 The ASEAN Grand Challenge - Part 1: Fostering Collaborations
Group discussions with each group focusing on one ASEAN development area with the aim of fostering research collaborations and developing proposals that will directly contribute towards the identified development area.
UC6-1 - UC6-7
1630 Royal Address and the Officiating of the ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference
Yang Amat Mulia Tunku Besar Seri Menanti Tunku Ali Redhauddin ibni Tuanku Muhriz
1730 Jeffrey Cheah Distinguished Speakers Series: How do Proteins Fold and Why Is It Crucial to Our Health?
Prof Jane Clarke, President, Wolfson College, University of Cambridge

Day 2 – Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Passport Session Time Programme Venue
0830 Keynote Address
Dr Elizabeth Lee, Senior Executive Director, Sunway Education Group
0900 Oral Presentations: Session 3
LT 5,6,7
1030 Forum: Breaking Glass Ceilings: Creating an Inclusive & Future - Focussed Research Culture
Moderator: Prof. Abhi Veerakumarasivam, Sunway University
- YB Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis, Deputy Minister MESTECC Malaysia
- Assoc Prof Dr. Mohammad Asif Khan, President, Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network
- Dr Worajit Setthapun, Dean of Asian Development in the College for Economy and Technology at Chiang Mai Rajabhat University, Thailand
- Dr Orakanoke Phanraksa, Co-Chair, ASEAN Young Scientists Network & National Science, Technology Development Agency, Thailand
- Christina Tee, Vice Chair, Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry & Diamond Star Biotechnology Sdn Bhd
1200 ASEAN - Jeffrey Cheah Lecture
Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO
Topic: Sustainability in ASEAN: the Sunway Story
1230 Lunch & Oral Highlights Presentations
1330 Parallel Workshops:
1. Effective Science Communication
    Prof Abhi Veeerakumarasivam, Sunway University
2. Responsible Conduct of Research
    Dr Chau De Ming, Universiti Putra Malaysia
    Dr Chai Lay Ching, University of Malaya
3. Science Entrepreneurship
    Matt Van Leeuwen, Director of Sunway iLabs

Oral Presentations: Session 4



Sunway iLabs

LT 5,6,7
1500 The ASEAN Grand Challenge – Part 2: Proposal Pitching
1600 Closing Address & Awards

Presentation Themes

The ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference is designed to be an interdisciplinary research conference that encourages the diversity of various domains of knowledge and research to converge through the lens of ASEAN perspective. We look forward to showcasing your research progress and achievements while bridging challenges and creating opportunities for enhancement and new ideas through synergistic collaborative strategies. We encourage the following research themes (but not limited to):


Keynote Speakers

Prof. Jane Clarke

Professor Jane Clarke FMedSci FRS became the sixth President of Wolfson College Cambridge on 1 October 2017.

Professor Clarke grew up in Cambridge and obtained a first-class honours degree in Biochemistry from the University of York in 1972. After completing a PGCE at Cambridge, she became a science teacher and, for a time, served as Head of Science at an inner-London comprehensive school. She moved to the United States in 1987 and was bitten by the research ‘bug’. On returning to Cambridge she joined the research group of Professor Sir Alan Fersht FRS in the MRC Centre for Protein Engineering and was awarded a PhD in 1994. She has held a highly prestigious Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship since 2001 and was promoted to a personal Chair in Molecular Biophysics in 2010.

Her pioneering work as an international research leader in the field of protein folding has been recognised by her election as a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2013, and as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2015, as well as the award of numerous international prizes.

She is passionate about increasing diversity in higher education and supporting the personal and professional development of students, young researchers, and academics, irrespective of background or origin. She serves on the Education and Diversity Committees of the Royal Society. Her career and inclusive collaborative leadership style have a particular resonance with the ethos and values of Wolfson College.


Dr. Elizabeth Lee

Dr Elizabeth Lee, Senior Executive Director of the Sunway Education Group and Sunway University was educated and trained in the USA and UK, including the University of Cambridge where she obtained a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Education.

A veteran in the field of private higher education, Elizabeth serves on various boards which include the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) Council, the National Higher Education Research Institute (IPPTN) and the International Academic Advisory Council (IAAC) of Jeffrey Cheah Institute on Southeast Asia. She sits on the Board of Management of the Master Builders Association of Malaysia Education Fund and also the Board of Trustees of MERCY Malaysia. As a thought leader, her international engagements have included speaking at the Harvard Business School, University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, the University of Edinburgh and the Malaysia-UK Diamond Jubilee Forum in London.

As an advocate for women in leadership, she serves as a Mentor in the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) global programme and is on the Trustee Committee of the Chair on Women Leadership, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

For her exceptional contributions to education and leadership, she has been bestowed two honorary doctorate awards by the University of Nottingham (UK) and Victoria University (Australia), and is a recipient of several international and national awards.

While she has written and edited a number of children’s English storybooks for early language learning, her culinary interests find her serving on the National Council of the Confrerie de la Chaine des Rotisseurs, Baillage de Malaisie, where she is the Baili Regional for the state of Perak.


ASEAN-Jeffrey Cheah Lecturer

Tan Sri Dato' Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO
Founder and Chairman, Sunway Group
Founding Trustee, Jeffrey Cheah Foundation

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr Jeffrey Cheah AO is the founder and chairman of Sunway Group, a leading Malaysian conglomerate with core interests in real estate, construction, education and healthcare. He is also the founding trustee of Malaysia’s largest education-focused social enterprise, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation (JCF).

Tan Sri Cheah firmly believes that education is key in providing the optimum route out of poverty. As such, he has invested heavily in Sunway’s education businesses that are today run by his eponymous foundation. The JCF has disbursed more than RM402 million in scholarships to thousands of deserving students. Tan Sri Cheah aims to award RM 1 billion in scholarships during his lifetime.

Demonstrating his commitment to the sustainability agenda, Tan Sri Cheah through the JCF, endowed US$10 million to the United Nations which was used to establish the Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development at Sunway University. The center is chaired by Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs, a world renowned economist and special adviser to the UN Secretary General and aims to develop the global expertise needed to move Malaysia and the region forward in the area of sustainable development. The Center also serves as the host for SDSN Malaysia which aims to elevating awareness and implementation of sustainable solutions, chaired by Tan Sri Cheah.

Besides being conferred 10 honorary doctorates by leading universities worldwide, Tan Sri Cheah has also been recognised twice as Forbes Asia Hero of Philanthropy in 2009 and 2015 respectively. He was appointed Council Member of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in 2013; a member of the Committee of University Resources at Harvard in 2015 and Officer of the Order of Australia (“AO”), among a long-growing list of accomplishments.


Sunway University

Sunway University is located in Subang Jaya, Selangor, Malaysia. This will be the venue for the ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference 2018.

5, Jalan Universiti, Bandar Sunway,
47500 Subang Jaya, Selangor,


Conference Booklet & Abstracts 2018



Prof. Dr. Abhi Veerakumarasivam
Sunway University
Lee Wen Yao
University of Cambridge
Dr. Norazharuddin Shah Abdullah
Universiti Sains Malaysia
Dr. Yong Wen Peng
Cambridge University Malaysia Society

Secretary Teh Khoon Kheng, Cambridge University Malaysia Society Treasurer Ng Beng Lean, Sunway University Scientific Committee Prof. Dr. Denny Ng Kok Sum, University of Nottingham Prof. Dr. Naveed Ahmed Khan, Sunway University Prof. Dr. Pua Eng Chong, Sunway University Prof. Dr. Yeah Kim Leng, Sunway University Assoc. Prof. Dr. Rosdiadee Nordin, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ong Boon Hong, Universiti of Malaya Dr. Chau De Ming, Universiti Putra Malaysia Dr. Lim Jia Wei, University of Malaya Dr. Ng Sing Muk, Swinburne University of Technology Dr. Pasupuleti Wisweswara Rao, University Malaysia Kelantan Fan Ray Aun, Cambridge University Malaysia Society Sponsorship Dr. Xavier Chee, Cambridge University Malaysia Society Dr. Ainul Hanafiah, University of Cambridge Sunway University Registration Dr. Khalisah Zulkefli, Sunway University Aminuddin Baharuddin, Universiti Putra Malaysia Karen Khor Ian Ing, Sunway University Juliana Yeo Ju Set, Sunway University Webmaster Khong Yin Jou, University of Cambridge Logistics Lee Soek Mun, Sunway University Designer Chin Chee Ken, Sunway University Protocol Jerrine Koay, Sunway University Accommodation Sunway University


International Network for Government Science Advice

Oxford Cambridge Malaysian Society


Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)

National Science, Technology and Development Agency, Thailand


Platinum Sponsor

Sunway Group

Platinum Sponsor Profile



Established in 1974, Sunway Group is one of Malaysia’s largest conglomerates with core interests in real estate, construction, education and healthcare. We are a 16,000-strong team operating in 50 locations worldwide, working together to improve the quality of life of our communities through 12 business divisions including property, construction, retail, hospitality, leisure, healthcare, education, trading and manufacturing, building materials, and Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).

Sunway believes that sustainability is the key to building enduring communities. Our unique Build-Own-Operate business model powers the growth of the sustainable communities, integrated developments and townships of Sunway City in Selangor, Sunway City Ipoh, Sunway Penang and Sunway Iskandar in Johor, which collectively span across more than 5,000 acres.

Our three public-listed companies – Sunway Berhad, Sunway Construction, and Sunway REIT, with a combined market capitalisation of approximately RM15 billion – form a real-estate value chain that exemplifies socially responsible business practices, evidenced by their inclusion in the FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia Index.

At Sunway, we are committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), and continue to align our business strategies to meet the needs of our communities in line with the SDG agenda. The Jeffrey Sachs Center on Sustainable Development, established at Sunway University in 2016, serves as a hub for the education and advancement of sustainability across Southeast Asia. The Center is the first of its kind in Asia. Through the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, we provide disadvantaged and deserving young adults access to quality education by disbursing scholarships exceeding RM402 million as of 2018.

For more than four decades now, sustainability and social responsibility (SR) form an integral part of our business framework as we expand our presence worldwide and work towards a sustainable future. We actively engage our stakeholders and the communities we serve through initiatives that create a positive and far-reaching impact on the nation and humankind. In all that we do, we are driven by our core values of Integrity, Humility, and Excellence.


The ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference emerges from the synergy between two initiatives at the University of Cambridge; the Malaysia-Singapore Research Conference (MSRC) and the Cambridge University Southeast Asian Conference (CUSEAC). The MSRC is an annual conference that was founded in 2016 by a group of postgraduate students who envisioned a platform that celebrates the diversity of research that transcends fields of academic interest, nationalities and experience. Similarly, CUSEAC was an initiative in 2017 that brought Southeast Asian students at the University of Cambridge together for workshops that stimulated discussions that aimed at developing strategies to address issues faced by communities in ASEAN.

Early in 2018, discussions between the Senior Executive Director of Sunway University, Dr. Elizabeth Lee Fuh Yen (a Wolfson alumna), President of Wolfson College, Cambridge, Prof. Jane Clarke and MSRC founder and former Graduate Representative of Cambridge University Malaysia Society, Lee Wen Yao led to the agreement to create a platform to encourage greater sharing of research ideas. Subsequently, strategic partnership with the University of Cambridge alumni, various local and regional stakeholders led to the crystallisation of the ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference. With our strong collaboration with the Young Scientists Network-Academy of Sciences Malaysia, we hope to ensure that this conference will stimulate strategic interdisciplinary research that address the needs of the ASEAN region. In recognition of this, the ASEAN Young Scientist Network, the official platform for the young scientists of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) recognises ASEAN Emerging Researchers Conference as an official flagship programme for the region.