December 9, 2023


education gives you strength

Scientist Specializing In Wetland Biodiversity Wins ASPIRE Science Prize

A scientist specializing in the research of wetland
biodiversity and nature’s contribution to people has won
the APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and
Education known as ASPIRE
in its 10-year anniversary.

Huai Chen, a leading researcher focusing in wetland
biodiversity and ecosystem services, was named the
region’s top early career researcher. Wetlands
conservation contributes to important works in climate
change mitigation as one of the most effective carbon sinks.
Dr. Chen’s findings lead to a better understanding of
these wetlands including protecting, developing new
generation models for methane emissions and enhancing
assessment of carbon storage and ecological

“I am honored to receive the ASPIRE award and
share more about our work on wetlands. Knowledge knows no
borders and I am proud to work with a team of international
researchers as we advance our efforts in the
Asia-Pacific,” said Dr. Chen, who was nominated by China
and is a professor at Chengdu Institute of Biology, Chinese
Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Chen was selected from a
group of twelve finalists, each nominated by one of the APEC
member economies under the 2020 ASPIRE Prize theme,
Biodiversity for a Prosperous Economy.”
Nominees, all under 40 years of age, were considered
based on their commitment to both excellence in scientific
research as evidenced by scholarly publication and
cooperation with scientists from other APEC

“The theme, Biodiversity for a
Prosperous Economy”
is exemplified in Dr. Chen’s
research,” said Dr. Siti Hamisah, Secretary General of
Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation

“Biodiversity is important to APEC
economies that are rich in natural assets. A
well-functioning ecosystem and rich biodiversity are
foundational for human health, which contributes to the
well-being of communities around the region,” she added.
“When we have a clearer understanding of nature and
biodiversity, we can better respond to challenges and
protect our world to enhance economic growth.”

ASPIRE Prize winner was announced by science, technology,
and innovation officials from the APEC member economies at a
meeting hosted by Malaysia.

“As we celebrate a
decade of the ASPIRE Prize, we are thrilled to continue to
advance excellence in research and foster cross border
collaboration. The ASPIRE Prize helps us achieve our goals
in the PPSTI to highlight the accomplishments of our
researchers and support science and technology
cooperation,” said Daniel Dufour, Chair of the APEC
Policy Partnership for Science, Technology, and
, which oversees the

“APEC’s 21 members aim to create greater
prosperity for the people of the region by promoting
balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure
growth,” said Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Executive
Director of APEC Secretariat. “For over a decade, the
ASPIRE Prize has inspired APEC’s leadership to develop
evidence-based, policy recommendations to help support
future generations of scientific discoveries. In fact, there
is no better time to celebrate science and technology than
during the pandemic as it drives home the value and
importance of this field in our lives.”

For his
achievement, Dr. Chen was awarded a prize of USD 25,000,
supported by publishers of scholarly scientific knowledge,
Wiley and Elsevier.

“We congratulate Dr. Chen for
his outstanding work in wetlands biodiversity and continued
commitment to international collaboration,” said Brian
Napack, President and CEO of Wiley. “Year after year over
the past decade, ASPIRE has reminded us about the values of
APEC and values of global science. Only by working across
borders and cultures will we solve the world’s most
pressing challenges. Dr. Chen’s impactful work in
biodiversity and climate change management is a testament to
these values.”

“As we have seen, COVID-19 has
greatly impacted our societies and ability to research and
collaborate with one another. Yet Dr. Chen and all our
ASPIRE nominees have gone above and beyond in demonstrating
their scientific talent, knowledge, and innovation to
develop key solutions that preserve our planet’s
biodiversity and economies,” said YoungSuk “Y.S.” Chi,
Chairman of Elsevier. “We have no doubt that their
impressive work will spark new discussions in how we can
better protect our planet and people in the years to
come,” he

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