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), as a platform for the sharing of knowledge and experience between senior-level decision makers, academics and professionals in the region. 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 United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Specific goals of the SEA SAN 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 climate.

Structure of the SEA SAN

The SEA SAN is Chaired by Professor Dr Zakri bin Abdul Hamid, Former Science Advisor to the Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the INGSA-Asia Regional Chapter, and consists of the SEA SAN Council and the SEA SAN Working Group. The SEA SAN is supported by the Research Co-ordinator, Ms Jaymi Tan, as well as the INGSA-Asia Regional Chapter which is based in Sunway University, Malaysia, and the INGSA Secretariat that is based in the University of Auckland, New Zealand. 


Prof Dr Zakri bin Abdul Hamid

Chair, Southeast Asia Science Advice Network (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 Dr Zakri's biography HERE

SEA SAN Council


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).


Prof 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 currently the Secretary General of Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI), Malaysia. She was previously the Secretary General of Ministry of Energy, Science, Technology, Innovation and Climate Change (MESTECC), and Director General of the Higher Education Department (2017–2019).


Prof Dr Antonio G. M. La Viña

Prof Dr Antonio G. M. La Viña is currently Acting Executive Director of Manila Observatory where he is also Energy Collaboratory Director and Senior Fellow on climate. 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 Dr. Sirirurg Songsivilai


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.

Research Co-ordinator

Jaymi Tan

Research Co-ordinator, Southeast Asia Science Advice Network (SEA SAN)