Representatives of governments and leading universities in ASEAN and Japan gather in Bangkok on December 1, 2017 to sign on the Cooperative Framework of the ASEAN University Network/Southeast Asia Engineering Education Development Network. The signing marks the new page of higher education collaboration in the ASEAN region where leading universities continue to work together for the fourth phase for the next five years between 2018-2023 for socio-economic development with cooperation from the industry, which would contribute to the establishment of the ASEAN Community.

The AUN/SEED-Net was established in 2001 from the initiative derived at the ASEAN – Japan Summit as a framework toward sustainable development after the economic crisis that struck the Asian region. Initially starting with 19 ASEAN engineering institutions and 11 supporting Japanese universities, the network at present has expanded and comprises 26 leading engineering institutions from ASEAN and 14 supporting universities in Japan. These top universities cooperate in joint supervision of AUN/SEED-Net scholars, researches, program development, knowledge exchange and technology transfer.

From the beginning until now, the AUN/SEED-Net Project has given scholarships to about 1,400 students and young teaching staff to study in master’s and doctoral levels to strengthen the faculty qualifications and academic capacities. About 1,000 have graduated from ASEAN countries as well as Japan. Most alumni have been working in their home countries as academic staff, determining to educate and develop more qualified lecturers and professionals in engineering, which are needed for sustainable development of the member countries. It also produces more than 200 Collaborative Research Programs between the ASEAN member institutions and Japanese supporting universities with approximately 1,000 scholars joining the regional conferences to address and discuss common regional issues each year resulting in having more than 200 papers published in ASEAN Engineering Journal.

Impressive outputs of the AUN/SEED-Net Network include development of engineering lecturers and researchers, strengthening of graduate programs, and establishment of human network among ASEAN and Japan. The strategy of AUN/SEED-Net in assigning a number of universities as hosts or regional hubs to train students and young staff of other universities have become a flagship model for other academic networks.

The Signing of the Cooperative Framework today is a significant milestone for the AUN/SEED-Net Network since the Inauguration Ceremony. The new Cooperative Framework was made for the operation of the AUN/SEED-Net from March 2018 onwards, identifying the structure and the new component of the project that will tighten connection and partnership among ASEAN and Japan within the network as well as the industry for sustainability in the long run.

For five years from now, the AUN/SEED-Net would focus on three missions. First, it would contribute to advancement of the industry in the ASEAN region through promotion of university – industry collaborative activities. Second, regional common issues would be intensely addressed and responded through collaborative researches and conferences.

 

Last but not least, the Network would continue enhancing educational and research capacities of our member institutions through production of high-qualified faculty staff, promotion of researcher and student mobility around the region and with Japan, alongside encouragement of joint educational program development by the member institutions and establishment of alumni associations in each country. These are new collaborations among the universities in this region and also the first kind of cooperation between the academic network and the industries in ASEAN. With high expectation from the concerned parties and governments, the AUN/SEED-Net can contribute to the establishment of the ASEAN community especially in fostering solidarity among academics and professionals and producing high-quality manpower with ASEANness.