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Asia-Pacific IMBN is committed to ensuring that there is little or no duplication of effort between its activities and those of other national andinternational organizations active in the life science arena. It will, therefore, liaise with such organizations as FAOBMB, UNESCO, CGIAR, etc, to streamline and coordinate their respective efforts.
- There has been substantial interest in supporting this initiative from colleagues in academia, in government, in the media, and, especially, in industry. These are currently being pursued by the Asia-PAcific IMBN Secretariat).
The Media program would provide short-term fellowship opportunities for promising young journalists in the region to participate in a custom-designed regional course which would address the challenges, opportunities, bioethics, controversies and other issues in molecular biology and biotechnology, enable them to interface with leading scientists working at the cutting edge of molecular biology and biotechnology and with industrial/technology organizations to better understand what drives them and why, and with regulatory agencies working to ensure public safety and to minimize risks associated with research and development, introduction of genetically modified organisms, etc.The goal is to provide journalists with a sufficient information base and network (of key thinkers and opinion leaders) so that they can write more knowledgeably and objectively on issues and challenges in life science and biotechnology development.
The Public Education program would work to develop and share information resources and materials which can contribute to improving educational curricula for elementary and high school students, as well as provide the general public with educational material off the web and through publications of Asia-Pacific IMBN which would enable interested individuals to keep abreast of new development in molecular biology and biotechnology, and the potential implications (both positive and negative) of such developments.
A Formal Link with the Asia-Pacific Bioinformatics Network (APBioNet)
- This relationship is intended to develop and implement programs of common interest in the arena of bioinformatics so that the necessary core competencies and capabilities can be built up, and the resources and tools possessed by centers which are already strong in bioinformatics can be made widely available to scientists and institutions throughout the region. Among other such initiatives, Asia-Pacific IMBN plans to launch a training program for promising young scientists in bioinformatics.
Asia-Pacific IMBN Expert Commissions
The Asia-Pacific IMBN will establish a series of Expert Commissions in various areas of interest and priority to the Network to review issues and concerns, to assess the current situation and level of capability in the region, and go on to recommend how the Network can play an effective role in facilitating development of excellence in that area of interest for Asia and the Pacific Rim.
Fellowships and Studentships
- Founded in the belief that the full benefits of molecular biology and biotechnology can only be accrued through cooperation and collaboration amongst scientists and scientific organizations, the Asia Pacific International Molecular Biology Network (IMBN) will be awarding Fellowships and Studentships to outstanding candidates sharing the same beliefs of the Network.
Sponsorship will allow the candidate to enhance his or her technical capabilities for a period of 2 to 12 weeks at foreign research centers, depending on the amount of grant awarded and conditions discussed with the receiving institute. The award covers return traveling expenses to the host institute and an allowance to cover living costs.
The Prospective Launch of Industry-Academia Collaborations and Consortia
- These collaborations are aimed at developing areas of common interest and focus. Some areas of likely common interest include work together in such areas as infectious disease, drug discovery, gene therapy research, bioinformatics, food and agriculture research, environmental bioremediation, gene banking, etc, etc. Asia-Pacific IMBN would be prepared to provide a common forum for facilitating the development of such collaborations and consortia, and for defining the terms of reference and division of responsibilities (including assessing intellectual property implications) for partner institutions and organizations which enter into such collaborations and consortia.
Asia-Pacific IMBN Laboratories
- Asia-Pacific IMBN is in the process of developing criteria and guidelines for the establishment and operation of central Asia-Pacific IMBN Laboratories. Substantial interest has been expressed in the possibility of establishing either unit-sized or centralized Asia-Pacific IMBN Laboratories by several institutions and economies in the region. In particular, interest for establishing centralized institutions has come from Japanese scientists, from scientists in Hong Kong, and from scientists and policy-makers in Singapore.
The Governing Council agreed that it would be critical to develop clear guidelines that any institution which is to be developed or identified as an Asia-Pacific IMB Laboratory must meet. The Governing Council also agreed that it would be open to considering proposals from any and every interested group that might wish to establish as Asia-Pacific IMBL. One possibility considered, for example, was that of Asia-Pacific IMBN identifying, in time, centralizd Asia-Pacific IMB Laboratories for a variety of different fields - hence, for example, a central Asia-Pacific IMBL for Neuroscience, and Asia-Pacific IMBL for agriculture and food science, an Asia-Pacific IMBL for environmental sciences, etc, etc. It appears likely, given the level of interest and support expressed, that one or more economies might propose the possibility of establishing such a laboratory with the next several months.
Virtual Asia-Pacific International Molecular Biology Laboratory ("www.eimbl.org")
- eIMBL will provide a web-based platform for helping to build the regions life science and biotechnology intellectual capital base to address and solve priority concerns in the region, and to support the establishment of a viable life sciences and biotechnology sector in the region.
Among other initiatives, eIMBL will provide an online forum and mechanism for community building and interaction amongst scientists, laboratories, policy-makers and funders throughout the region and beyond. Possible activities include:
1. Networking individual laboratories of related research field and coordinate their research:
1) Sharing research equipments, materials, know-how and laboratory personnel
2) Real-time peer discussion and analysis of results among participating laboratories
3) Planning, development and coordination of multi-center, multi-investigator collaborative research projects
4) Centralized application for competitive scholarship, fellowship and exchange opportunities for students, post-docs and scientists.
2. Promoting scientific networking among researchers in the Asia-Pacific region:
5) Collaborative organization of training programs and practical courses in cooperation with the EMBO, ICGEB and other international collaborators.
6) Organization of regional consultations and online discussion forums focused on problem areas of concern
7) Career development resources - including recruitment and placement support
8) Provision of online education and training courses and other resources
9) Publication of a leading electronic international journal in the molecular biology and biotechnology field.
Provision of other important life sciences and biotechnology-related announcements and news from around the region and beyond.