ECOSF partnered with KISTEP Korea in co-organizing the 3rd Asian Innovation Forum in Seoul, South Korea on August 29, 2017

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In partnership with ECO Science Foundation (ECOSF) and S&T Policy Research and Information Center (STPI) from Taiwan, the Korea Institute of S&T Evaluation and Planning (KISTEP) organized the 3rd Asian Innovation Forum in Seoul, South Korea on August 29, 2017. The Forum focused on the themes on fostering creative talents, cultivating startup ecosystem and promoting green innovation for the sustainable future. The major goal of organizing this Forum was to address the key challenges facing Asia and to seek creative solutions, collaborative efforts for inclusive and sustainable growth in the region. The Forum provided a platform to seek new possibilities by bringing together innovation leaders, policy makers, researcher and STI program developers by sharing the knowledge and experiences in Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) in the Asian region.

A large number of innovation leaders, policy makers and research scientists, scholars and representatives of leading STI organizations and academia from across the region attended the Forum. The Asian Innovation Forum is held annually, since launched in 2015 which brings together global leaders in their respective fields of STI to discuss and exchange ideas on various topics such as value creation in innovation economy, evidence-based policy making, sustainable development and inclusive growth. It is important to mention here that ECOSF is the founder member of the AIF and the Asian STI Think Tanks Networks (ASTN). On behalf of ECOSF, Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro President ECOSF and Engr. Khalil Raza Scientific Officer ECOSF participated in the Forum. During the Forum, Prof. Soomro also moderated and chaired one of the sessions co-organized by the ECOSF.

The Forum was formally opened by Dr. Kichul Lim, President of KISTEP. In his welcome address, President Lim acknowledged all the partners for their contributions to the Forum. Dr. Lim highlighted the AIF is a platform and the communication channel to identify national and global agenda for STI and address the challenges for emerging issues and sustainable development in the region. This Forum is an opportunity to seek creative solutions by bringing in collaborative efforts and strengthening partnership with leading STI organizations and partners, he added. Dr. Lim stressed over the potential impact of 4th Industrial Revolution which will have significant social and economic implications over job creations, financial sectors and tech-industry. Thus one needs to adopt to this change and take necessary steps to tackle this challenge and turn it into an opportunity to improve the stagnant economic growth and work towards more job creation and sustainable economic development.

Later during the Forum, Dr. Se-Jung Oh, Member of National Assembly of the Republic of Korea and Dr. Byung-Gwon Lee, President of Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) gave their congratulatory remarks. During the keynote Session, Dr. Myung-Ja Kim, President of Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies and Dr. Richard B. Dasher, US-Asia Technology Management Center, Stanford University delivered their keynote speeches.

Dr. Myun-Ja Kim delivered her keynote speech on “The Road to Inclusive Innovation in the Era of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Dr. Kim highlighted the importance of Asia as one of the emerging global innovation powerhouse of the world. Dr. Kim pointed that Asian continent is grappled with serious challenges of sweeping socioeconomic changes, risks and uncertainties. Thus Asia must find new approaches and solutions to navigate the tides of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Dr. Kim also highlighted the advantages of the innovation strategy that was adopted in the Korean post-war era has led to successful outcomes. And, similar strategies can be replicated in many other developing countries, she said. Dr. Kim emphasized on creating enabling environment and creating synergies for science, technology and innovation to achieve the shared goals and targets for prosperous Asia.


Dr. Richard B. Dasher delivered his keynote speech on “the Role of Asian Innovation in Supporting Global Economic Growth”. Dr. Basher stressed that innovation all across Asia is a crucial element of economic competitiveness, which is driving new policies, programs and activities by the governments. He critically evaluated and examined the role of innovation being undertaken in the Asia and how it is supporting the global economic growth and it will continue to grow in the Future. He presented the impact of new patterns of global cooperation and competition, and as well as the dangers of innovation that has shaken the foundation of large corporations who did not foresee the impacts of innovation. This is being considered as the beginning of the 4th Industrial Revolution”.

During the Forum, four sessions were organized as under:

  1. Fostering Creative Talents in the 4th Industrial Revolution Era
  2. Knowledge Translation of Research Findings
  3. Green Innovation for Sustainable Future
  4. New Paradigm of R&D Systems


ECOSF co-organized the session on “Green Innovation for Sustainable Future”

The session on “Green Innovation for Sustainable Future” was organized by the ECOSF. The objective of holding the session was to highlight and explore the sustainable energy technologies for inclusive and sustainable growth in Asia. The session brought together expert panelists from diverse backgrounds where they discussed the role of governments, academia and businesses to promote clean and renewable energy industry in Asia to achieve the sustainable future. Prof. Dr. Manzoor H. Soomro President ECOSF introduced each speaker, steered and moderated the discussion during the session. 

The panelists participated in the session:

  1. Ji-Ho Hwang, Director General of National R&D Coordination Office, KISTEP
  2. Azah Ahmad, Sustainable Energy Development Authority - Malaysia
  3. Dr. Muhammad Bilal Khan, Dean Center for Advanced Studies in Energy at NUST – Pakistan
  4. Yonji Kim, Director of the Energy Citizens Cooperation Division at Seoul Metropolitan Government – South Korea
  5. Gulshan Vashistha, Global Green Growth Institute – South Korea


Major takeaways of the Panel Discussion are as follows:

  1. Ji-Ho Hwang presented his talk on Government R&D Investment and Strategy for Green Innovation in Korea. Dr. Hwang highlighted the importance of low carbon green growth where the shared goals environment and economy can be met together especially in the context of reaching the Paris Climate Agreement. He shared that the South Korea is the first country to propose a national-level-green growth model to the world. The Government has launched an environment-friendly energy policy to reduce nuclear and coal fired power plans while increasing the share of renewable energy and gas fired power plants for Korea’s future energy mix. It is worth noting that the total amount of government R&D investment in the energy and environment sector in FY 2015 was $2.07 billion. Dr. Hwang further illustrated that South Korea is pursuing the investment strategy of selection and concentration to accelerate green technology innovation and increase investment in R&D to focus on renewable energy and energy storage sector to reduce GHG and create new energy industries. Dr. Hwang concluded that challenges, such as the realization of the future green energy mix, the activation of new energy industries in the 4th Industrial Revolution era, and the implementation of the Paris agreement requires scientific and technological solutions. Therefore, the role of KISTEP as a think tank is crucial to provide cutting-edge solutions for long term energy and environmental issues through R&D and policy implementation.
  2. Ms. Azah Ahmad presented her talk on “Sustainable Energy Growth – Malaysian Experience”. Ms. Ahmad shared the Malaysian experience - programs and policy interventions undertaken by the Government to promote the penetration of renewable energy (RE) especially solar PV and bioenergy in Malaysia. Ms. Ahmad stressed that in order to promote renewable at national level, the government needs to provide the supporting eco-system, build the human resource capacity, and incentivize the clean-tech industry to ensure development of RE industry. Malaysian government launched its first RE Act in 2011 and since then, the industry has seen massive growth in adoption of RE systems. In addition, government has taken significant measures to develop the relevant standards, regulatory instruments and guidelines for Solar Photovoltaic (PV) installers to ensure quality and safe installations. The measures such as Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs), approved standards, and certified installers with quality product leads to successful execution of RE projects, which is important to boost interest in RE adoption and its acceptance in the general public, she added. In addition, the Government is also establishing RE monitoring programs to assess the performance of RE technologies in Malaysia. Ms. Azah concluded that for RE industry to grow, stable and support policies are essential.
  3. Prof. Dr. Muhammad Bilal Khan delivered his presentation on “The Role of Academia in Developing Sustainable Energy Solutions for the Future”. Prof. Khan underlined the impact of greenhouse gas emissions coming out as a result of combustion of fossil fuel on the climate change with its devastating affects on the plant. Dr. Khan stressed the nations and governments have to conserve energy and increase the adoption of renewables in order to reduce the impact of climate change. However, there are quite some challenges as to why the adoption of renewables is still low that is only about 6% (solar and wind) in the global energy mix. This is particularly due to the nature of renewable energy systems which usually have very low energy density and low conversion efficiency as compared to the convention energy systems such as the fossil fuel and nuclear technology based power production. Thus innovation and creativity will be critical in skyrocketing the conversion efficiencies of RE systems which in turn propel the green energy to new heights that is the only way forward for greater societal impact. Dr. Khan concluded that academia has a crucial role to play in promoting the disruptive innovation in clean-technologies; solar PV and green fuel production, which is timely needed along with supportive policy frameworks that enable the green revolution.
  4. Dr. Yeonji Kim delivered her presentation on “One Less Nuclear Power Plant: Seoul Sustainable Energy Action Plan”. Dr. Kim shared the initiative of Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) which aims to improve energy efficiency, renewable energy, and energy poverty reduction. It is the flagship energy policy launched in April 2012 by SMG in its broad effort to respond to climate change and the energy crisis in the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident and a nationwide blackout in 2011. She underscored that the major objective of of this initiative was to cut energy consumption by directly engaging citizens in energy saving and renewable energy generation. Interestingly, the target of this first phase was already achieved in June 2014.
  5. Gulshan Vashistha presented his talk on the “Mind the Gap – Case for Large Scale Mini Grid Development, Closing the Gap on Energy Poverty”. Mr. Vashistha underlined the how critical is the role of investment and finance in the energy sector, particularly the private sector participation is critical to achieve renewable energy targets in all the developing countries. He presented a case and model of mini-grids powered by solar PV and energy storage which can provide energy access to 500 million people who do not live near a centralized electric grid in Asia. However, it would require massive investments and capital to finance such a large scale projects, he added. As of 2013 the available supply of investments is about $430 billion but the total financing gap is about $2-4 trillion. The technological advances and favorable market forces have pushed down the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for solar PV and mini grids are now cost-competitive with conventional mini grids, this makes it an ideas case for bringing in adequate levels of investment in small scale – off grid solar systems in the areas which are never going to get the grid connection in the Future. Mr. Vashistha concluded that in order to achieve the required targets, there is a need to design innovative financial instruments to reduce risk and enable capital flows into the sector. In addition, countries need to develop national financial vehicles to receive and distribute climate financing projects and schemes to bridge this financing gap.

The session concluded with Q&A, feedbacks and active interaction with the audience.

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