About the SEA SAN

The importance of evidence-informed policymaking for the mitigation of various social, environmental or economic issues faced by countries worldwide is being highlighted with the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, many countries do not have strategic, best-practice workflows for the uptake of scientific evidence for policymaking. In a cornerstone initiative, INGSA is launching a pilot study – the Southeast Asia Science Advice Network (SEA SAN) for the sharing of knowledge and experience between senior-level decision makers, academics and professionals in the region. A key feature of the SEA SAN is the Policy Intelligence Platform which serves as an online platform to facilitate collaboration and discussion between network members in real-time.

Five Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and Malaysia) have been selected for the pilot study of the SEA SAN. It is hoped that the SEA SAN will expand to all Southeast Asian countries, and become an entrenched regional institution for science advice which can be mobilised quickly in case of transnational crisis in the future.

Goals of the SEA SAN

The SEA SAN’s main goal is to structure and strengthen direct evidence-to-policymaking pathways in Southeast Asia, particularly on areas of shared regional concern within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Events and Outputs

Visit the SEA SAN Policy Intelligence Platform for announcements and updates as well as to access a collection of resources and outputs.

Specific goals include to:

  • Facilitate sharing of information and co-design of mechanisms for evidence-to-policymaking
  • Maintain the focus on institutional capacity rather than individuals for science advice
  • Determine regional best practices for science advice

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pilot study of the SEA SAN will focus on COVID-19 and the ‘new normal’, and how scientific evidence is being used for policymaking in regards to the current situation.

Structure of the SEA SAN

The SEA SAN is Chaired by Professor Zakri Abdul Hamid, Former Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the INGSA-Asia Regional Chapter, and is guided by the SEA SAN Council which consists of experienced members of National Commissions and/or Ministries in the region. The network is supported by the Research Co-ordinator, the SEA SAN Working Group, as well as the INGSA-Asia Regional Chapter based in Sunway University, Malaysia, and the INGSA Secretariat based in the University of Auckland, New Zealand.


Professor Zakri Abdul Hamid

Chair of the SEA SAN;
Patron, International Network for Government Science Advice –Asia Chapter (INGSA-Asia);
Founding Chair, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES);
Chair, Atri Advisory.

Read Prof Zakri Abdul Hamid's full biography HERE.

Council Members

Dr Ir Chairil Abdini A. Said


Dr Ir Chairil Abdini A. Said is the Secretary General of the Indonesian Academy of Sciences (AIPI) who is particularly responsible for preparing policy briefs and recommendations in science and technology affairs to the government and to the public. He was the former Head of Bureau of Energy and Infrastructure in the Vice President’s Secretariat and Deputy Minister of State Secretariat, and has been appointed as Commissioner for several state-owned enterprises and public services agencies.

Dr Teguh Rahardjo


Dr Teguh Rahardjo is the current Executive Director of the Indonesian Science Fund (Dana Ilmu Pengetahuan Indonesia (DIPI)). He previously served as Deputy Minister for S&T Relevancy and Productivity at the Ministry of Research and Technology, Republic of Indonesia (2008–2013), and as a Senior Advisor to the Minister of Research and Technology for Defence and Security Technology affairs (2013–2015), and was involved in many International S&T events such as the ASEAN Committee on Science and Technology (COST).

Professor Dr Asma Ismail


Prof Dr Asma Ismail is currently the 5th President of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia, who also holds the position of Ibnu Sina Professorial Chair for Medicine, International Islamic University Malaysia. She was the country’s first female Director-General of Higher Education (2014–2016) and co-helmed the development and implementation of The Malaysian Education Blueprint (Higher Education) 2013-2025.

Dr Ir Siti Hamisah Tapsir


Dr Ir Siti Hamisah Tapsir is the Former Secretary General of Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia. Her previous roles also include the Secretary General of Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Innovation and Climate Change (MESTECC), and Director General of the Higher Education Department (2017–2019). She is currently the Vice-Chancellor of UCSI University.

Professor Dr Antonio G. M. La Viña


Prof Dr Antonio G. M. La Viña is currently Associate Director of Climate Change and International Policy at the Manila Observatory. He has been a lead negotiator of the Philippines on climate change and biodiversity from the 1990s up to the Paris negotiations in 2015 and is recognized as a global leader in climate, forest, and biodiversity issues.

Dr Rowena Cristina L. Guevara


Dr Rowena Cristina L. Guevara is the Undersecretary for Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). She oversees the management of the DOST R&D funds, bilateral and multilateral linkages, technology transfer and leads the DOST Science for Change (S4C) Program.

Dr Montira Pongsiri, MPH


Dr Montira Pongsiri was the first Science Advisor at the U.S. Mission to ASEAN where she led the Mission’s efforts to apply science and technology to support ASEAN’s sustainability goals and to strengthen the capacity of science-based policy-making through programs such as the ASEAN-U.S. Science and Technology Fellows Program and the ASEAN-U.S. sustainable cities partnership. She was an Environmental Health Scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and served on The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on Planetary Health.

Professor Sirirurg Songsivilai


Professor Sirirurg Songsivilai is the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) Thailand and the current Chairman of the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology and Innovation. He plays active roles and represents Thailand in various international networks, such as ASEAN S&T communities, and in interactions with the United Nations bodies, OECD as well as the European Union.
Associate Professor Le Thi Quynh Mai, MD, PhD


Associate Professor Mai is the Vice Director of the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology (NIHE) and Director of the National Influenza Center, Vietnam. Focusing on viral emerging infectious diseases, she has worked with dengue, SARS, A/H5N1, and most recently, SARS-CoV-2, and contributes to the development of prevention strategies in Vietnam as well as information sharing with the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System.

SEA SAN Working Group

Council Members are supported by the SEA SAN Working Group, which is instrumental in ensuring the success of the network. Click here to read more about the Members of the SEA SAN Working Group.

Research Co-ordinator

Jaymi Tan

Jaymi has a background in the life sciences and biotechnology, with strong interests in sustainable development and nature-based solutions. With a deep appreciation for interdisciplinary collaboration, she believes that the end goal of any research should always be to benefit society and the environment.