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Mekong - U.S. Partnership Young Scientist Program

About the Program

Funded by the US. State Department, the goal of the Mekong - U.S. Partnership Young Scientist Program is to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing and the creation of a network of young scientists in the Mekong - U.S. Partnership countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

As implementing partners of this program, Arizona State University (ASU) will leverage its decades of experience in sponsored project implementation in Southeast Asia through the Higher Engineering Education Alliance Program (HEEAP); the Building University-Industry Learning and Development through Innovation and Technology (BUILD-IT) and the Young Southeast Asia Leaders Initiative (YSEALI).

The program supports youth and young professionals by creating opportunities for collaboration. Joint research, workshops and symposiums encourage the sharing of scientific knowledge, ideas and experience, including authorship of peer-reviewed research papers. The program has two objectives: to foster and promote scientific collaboration within the region, and to promote knowledge sharing on science and technology best practices and research ideas.

Program Activities

The program will support the goals of creating a scientific research community of young scholars in the Mekong - U.S. Partnership member countries with the following activities:


NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2022 program has been redesigned as a hybrid experience. Participants selected for the 2022 Agricultural Technology and Innovation program will attend virtual sessions delivered by Arizona State University faculty to explore and identify opportunities in the agricultural value chain to find scalable and repeatable business models. If permitted by health regulations, the program will include a 1-week in-person session in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. The in-person week will conclude with an investor-style pitch competition, in which participants will present their business models for a chance to win up to $15,000 USD in seed funding.


Icon  4-Week Thematic Placement Program

ASU will host the 4-week program during the summer of each year, at a partner institution in a different Mekong - U.S. Partnership country. The program will deliver skill-building workshops, allowing participants to apply skills learned toward research initiatives and new technology development. The Mekong - U.S. Partnership Young Scientist Program is the first step in the Mekong - U.S. Partnership Young Scientist journey.

Icon  Annual Scientific Symposium

During the third quarter of each year, the Mekong - U.S. Partnership young scientists will be invited to participate in a two-day symposium that will include guest speakers and networking opportunities. A poster session will be held, allowing the country teams to showcase their projects and collect additional feedback from guests of academia, industry, government and non-profit organizations; research policy recommendations will be developed from this input. Each year the symposium will be hosted in a different Mekong - U.S. Partnership country.

Icon  Competition for Seed Funds

During the fourth quarter, the program will organize an annual competition where participants will be invited to submit their project proposals before a reviewing committee for a chance to receive up to $15,000 in seed funding to implement their projects. Proposals will be selected for funding based on feasibility, innovation, impact and replicability. 

Year Institute Theme Program Host Country Scientific Symposium
2018 Water, Energy and Environmental Sustainability


2019 Public Health and Bioinformatics Lao PDR Myanmar
2022 Agricultural Technology and Innovation Vietnam N/A

Application Information

Who is eligible to apply?

The program will focus on recruiting current students and recent graduates from master’s and Ph.D. programs in the five countries, with backgrounds in: 

  • Agricultural Systems Analysis
  • Agricultural Environments
  • Farm Production Engineering
  • Crop Ecophysiology and Modeling
  • Human Factors Engineering
  • Design and Testing of Agricultural Equipment
  • Crop Productivity Management
  • Livestock Productivity Management
  • Agricultural Systems
  • Farm Management Economics
  • Precision Agriculture
  • Agricultural Soil Mechanics
  • Instrumentation and Measurement Techniques
  • Aquacultural Engineering
  • Controlled Environment Agriculture
  • Integrated Pest management
  • Agricultural Watershed System
  • Agricultural Sector and Policy Analysis 

The program will also welcome those already working in the agri-tech industries who are seeking to develop technical, enterprise, and entrepreneurship skills. Therefore, applicants without a graduate degree in the specified fields, but with relevant professional qualifications and/or more extensive work experience, may also be considered.


Eligibility Requirements

  • Between the ages of 25 - 35 at the time of application, although exceptional applicants under the age of 25 or over the age of 35 can be considered if they meet all other eligibility requirements;
  • Must be enrolled in a graduate program or be a recent graduate of a Master’s or PhD degree in the relevant area of study 
  • A citizen of one of the following Mekong - U.S. Partnership countries: Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam. 
  • Proficient in spoken and written English
  • Must be able to fully participate in the virtual program without interruption.


Selection Criteria

  • Demonstrate strong leadership qualities and track record in their university, place of work, and/or community; 
  • Demonstrate technical knowledge and professional experience related to the thematic area for the program
  • Be willing to actively participate in an intensive academic program
  • Have a commitment to apply research skills and training to benefit their community, country, or the Mekong - U.S. Partnership region.



Thank you to our partners

US FlagState Department LogoHCMUTESchool LogoSchool LogoWiley Logo


2022 Mekong - U.S. Partnership Agritech Hybrid Incubator Program

Using Lean Startup and Strategic Innovation methods and tools to create commercial value in the agricultural technology (Agritech) sector.

Program Dates:

Online component: June 6 – 27, 2022

In-person component (Tentative): July 11 – 15, 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Application Deadline: 

March 31, 2022