ASEAN: An Emerging Hub in Research and Innovation

In recent years, the rise of China as a worldwide economic power and engine of scientific research has become a familiar – and reliably striking – story. But China, of course, is not the only story in the region.

For a look at other Asia Pacific players, we turn to a collective group: the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN, consisting of 10 member countries. The alliance was initiated in 1967, with aims that included fostering economic growth, advancing public health and ensuring regional stability. The group is marked by sharp contrasts, from Indonesia and its population of roughly 250 million, to Brunei, whose citizens number less than a half-million. The other constituent nations, each with their own markers of size, population and resources, are the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.

Whatever their differences in scale, the ASEAN members are all pursuing advancement in the spheres of research and technology. A new report, based on Intellectual Property& Science resources, examines their areas of concentration and strength.

Along with ASEAN, the report covers another significant entity in the region: Hong Kong and its research activities.

The report presents data from the Web of Science™, InCites™ and Derwent World Patents Index® to specify how, individually and collectively, the ASEAN group is cultivating basic research as well as steering that research to practical application in the form of patents.

The findings demonstrate that performance does not always conform to size – as observed, for example, in the two ASEAN members whose scientific output in recent years has seen the sharpest increase. In patenting, some members show specialization in medical and biomedical applications, as opposed to digital or semiconductor technology. And one nation, somewhat unexpectedly, proves to be a world leader in the field of mycology.

Whatever their individual concentrations, the ASEAN nations and Hong Kong demonstrate themselves to be advancing in the pursuit of science and technology, and all merit attention.

Download the full ASEAN report here.