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Progress Continues at ISDC 2020 Pre-Conference II

On September 1st, a second online pre-conference meeting was held to continue with preparations for two important upcoming events set for the end of November: the International Sustainable Development Conference (ISDC 2020) and the signing ceremony for the landmark agreement to establish the International Education and Research Center (IERC). The two events will take place back-to-back at the NPUST Campus on Nov. 27~28 for those who can travel, and in the cyber-world for those who cannot.

During the first pre-conference meeting, which was held on August 4th, representatives from UNTA member universities explored areas of interest for cooperation and discussed available resources. The second pre-conference was oriented towards the actual processes of events, which were explained in detail by the dean of the NPUST International College, Dr. Jik Chang Leong.

Following this, the Vice dean of the NPUST Office of International Affairs, Dr. Herlin Chien, provided information on the backgrounds of the industry and government representatives from Japan, Korea and Taiwan who have been invited to the November conference. She also requested assistance from partner universities in Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia to identify government representative from each country who would be able to make an appearance during the conference’s Science-Policy Linkage Session and provide insights into sustainability policy formulation.

The four main themes of the conference include: Disaster Prevention & Recovery (Group A), Smart Agriculture (Group B), Circular Economies (Group C), and Ecosystem Restoration (Group D). During the pre-conference, Group A representatives reported that they are still in the processes of exploring potential projects of cooperation with international partners. Group B will be giving focus to the Smart Rice Farming research spearheaded by NPUST’s Professor Yumin Wang, and exploring opportunities to cooperate with partners, such as UPM in Malaysia. Based on what has been discussed so far, it appears that potential for serous cooperation exists, and inter-university activities such as teacher-student exchanges, joint research and short-term training courses are expected to be organized in the near the future.

From Group C, NPUST’s Assistant Professor Way Long pointed out that Thailand's RMUTT Institute of Materials Science and Engineering is currently conducting research that corresponds with research being conducted at the NPUST Department of Wood Science and Design, and he is optimistic about future cooperation in this area. And finally, from Group D, Prof. Hefni Effendi, director of the Environmental Research Center of IPB University, Indonesia, provided the participants with an introduction to their ecology restoration plan for wetlands and for parrots.

As the pre-conference transitioned to the general discussion segment, the online courses that will be launched in October by the NPUST and UNTA member schools was raised. The contents of the lectures will follow the theme of sustainability, while covering agricultural science, public participation in sustainable cities, and the use of vaccines to improve the sustainability in the livestock industry. A lecture will be held every two weeks over a fourteen-week period (seven in total). The OIA Vice dean Herlin Chien encouraged UNTA members to inviter their students to sign up for the online courses and take advantage of the excellent resource. She also invited Thailand’s RMUTT, who was the only university present which is not yet an UNTA member, to sign up to the network so that they can get on board with more opportunities for exchange and development. The meeting closed with the hosts encouraging all participants to maintain close interaction with one another, to keep connected, and to work towards enhancing their school’s performances through international partnerships.

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