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Through the Mekong - U.S. Partnership Young Scientist Program, the United States and the Mekong - U.S. Partnership countries promote equitable, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth through education, science, and the environment. The Mekong - U.S. Partnership Young Scientist program supports the region’s young scientists as they develop solutions to transboundary challenges along the Mekong River. Launched in 2018 by implementing partner Arizona State University (ASU), the objective of the Mekong - U.S. Partnership Young Scientist Program is to create a research community of practice annually targeting up to 34 young researchers across Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, to develop capacity for joint research projects through workshops, networking events, and an annual scientific symposium to encourage the sharing of knowledge, ideas and experiences, including authorship of peer-reviewed research papers.
The theme for the 2021 program (year 3 of 3) is Agricultural Technology and Innovation. This virtual incubator-style program will explore and identify opportunities embedded in the agricultural value chain using design thinking to identify inefficiencies in the chain and lean startup to find a scalable and repeatable business model. This disciplined approach to entrepreneurship is rigorous, evidence-based, and action-oriented. Your mission is to find a scalable and repeatable business model which can fully exploit the value of the opportunities identified from your exploration of the agricultural value chain. You will hypothesize a technology-based solution, develop a value proposition, embed it in a business model and use the scientific method to test your core hypotheses. Potential technologies include drones, robots, AI, Sensors, and blockchain technologies.
Through classwork, guest lectures from experts, and roundtable discussions, participants will actively learn how to identify Agri-business opportunities, interact with potential customers, and develop sustainable and environmentally sound ventures. The coursework will be delivered by subject matter experts, trade professionals, industry leaders, and practitioners. The virtual incubator will culminate with a Demo Day competition where attendees will present investor pitches documenting their understanding of the Agri-business opportunity, their proposed solutions, and the funding required to advance the development of their Agri-tech innovation. Cash awards will be given to the top three teams.
This incubator-style virtual program is scheduled for October 11 - December 17, 2021. The program will recruit approx. 50 current students or recent graduates from Master’s or Ph.D. programs in technology fields with applications in the agricultural sector. The program will conclude with a Demo Day style competition in which you will present an investor pitch and vie for up to $15,000 USD in seed funding.
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:
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.